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How the elites squandered Brexit Britain still resembles an EU member state

"Who will stand for this new nation?" (Carl Court/Getty Images)

"Who will stand for this new nation?" (Carl Court/Getty Images)


June 5, 2023   5 mins

When even Nigel Farage concedes that Brexit has been a failure, surely the most staunch of Brexiteers can forgive the many Remainers and Rejoiners who now feel vindicated. Not only do the polls show an influx of younger voters entering the electorate who are adamantly hostile to Brexit, but “Bregret” is apparently even seeping through the electorate old enough to have voted in 2016, including in the once-proud Eurosceptic constituencies of the Midlands and Northern England.

One does not need to be a psephologist to understand the shift in the public mood. Evidence of Britain’s malaise is all around us, from pot-holed roads to a crumbling public health service, all overseen by an exhausted government desperate to be put out of its misery, as a slew of Tory parliamentarians confirm they will not stand at the next general election.

To blame this all on Brexit, however, would be to adopt the same imperialistic and conceited attitude of many Remainers, convinced that Britain is still the centre of the world. We need only look across the Channel to see that similar problems plague our EU neighbours, too: inflationary energy dependence, deindustrialisation, interest rate rises, house price inflation, regional disparities bound up with peripheral separatist movements. All of this is compounded by deep political uncertainty across the continent. In many ways, despite having formally withdrawn from the EU, Britain still resembles a member-state.

To imagine that rejoining the EU would solve our problems is Eutopian fantasy. None of these polls, nor the media hubbub around “Bregret”, should be taken at face value — no more than we should still be quailing over the absurd predictions of Britain being wiped out by asteroids for the temerity of having voted for Brexit. Indeed, the very fact that the Red Wall is edging back to Labour and away from the Tories indicates at least one absolute gain from Brexit — a growing sense of political independence among the lower-middle and working classes. The fact that traditional working-class constituencies previously under the thumb of Labour are now swing seats, able to decide the outcomes of elections by switching their support from one party to another, is a salutary reminder to Britain’s political elites of the dangers of democratic complacency.

Moreover, one suspects the polls would quickly change if the prospect of rejoining the EU was once again put to the voters. Majorities that appear overwhelming and solid would quickly melt away when people were confronted not with abstract questions, but rather with the prospect of a meaningful political choice over rejoining the Single Market, rejoining the EU without the rebate, or even having to sign up to Tony Blair’s old dream of joining the Eurozone, a commitment required of all new member-states.

Instead of holding another referendum, then, it seems more likely that the pattern of Brexit policies established under prime ministers Johnson and Sunak will continue under future governments — that is, growing rapprochement and strategic realignment with Brussels, as indicated in Britain’s participation at the second summit of the European Political Community last week. Whether this long-term trend is justified by the need to prop up seedy sectarian power-sharing arrangements in Stormont, or by the need to manage the risks created by Nato expansion, the creep back towards Brussels will be soft and gradual, with governments avoiding giving voters anything so stark as a clear choice.

All this begs the question: why have the opportunities of Brexit been squandered? Thus far, the major victory claimed by Tory Brexiteers is Britain’s joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a global free-trade bloc incorporating the growing economies of the Asia-Pacific as opposed to the moribund economies of Europe. Yet this supposed achievement only underscores the problem. The very fact that one globalist trade bloc (the CPTPP) is being offered in place of another (the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union) makes clear that part of the problem is that so many leading Brexiteers continue to conceive of Brexit as if it were a vote for cheaper cornflakes through lower tariffs, rather than a vote for national renewal.

In place of efforts to expand public investment, enhance productivity, build infrastructure and renew industrial policy, economic debates over Brexit became mired in questions of trade policy, despite the low contribution of trade to economic growth. This fixation with trade reflects the intrinsic political weakness of the so-called Singaporeans — those Thatcherite Brexiteers who, despite seeming to know nothing about Singapore, hoped to make Brexit Britain a “Singapore-on-Thames” that would enjoy its combination of robust growth rates and cosmopolitan trading relations.

For all their supposed Euroscepticism, the fact that the Thatcherite Brexiteers were so transfixed by the mirage of Singapore-on-Thames indicates how little they understood the politics of national independence. It was, after all, Margaret Thatcher who was the architect of the Single Market, a continent-sized trading zone that inevitably required supranational structures to oversee, regulate and administer it (the very same structures that she recoiled from towards the end of her time in office). Whatever her claims to be “batting for Britain”, it was Thatcher’s own efforts to build up globalist free-trading arrangements that wove the threads that would be used to entangle the British nation. Policy regimes focused on driving globalist trade inevitably legitimate supranationalism — and it is this dynamic that vitiates the Singaporeans’ efforts to re-establish national sovereignty. Substituting one globalist trading bloc for another will not solve the problem.

If Thatcherites are oblivious to the implications of their own political vision, populist Brexiteers were no more clear-sighted. They imagined that formally withdrawing from the EU was in and of itself sufficient to restore British national independence. In misconceiving the EU as a Napoleonic superstate subjugating Britain, the populist vision of Brexit reflected more the limitations of populist politics itself than any of the drab reality of the Brussels bureaucracy, where national ministers met in secret to decide national policy in common.

Far from being an overarching bureaucracy, the EU was instead focused on organising national government through diplomacy, using executive privileges to insulate policy-making from oversight and scrutiny from national legislatures. Propelled by their Spitfire nationalism, the Brexit populists imagined that withdrawing from the EU would allow the old Britain to re-emerge, the one that was supposedly submerged when Britain joined the European Economic Community back in 1972. In this, the populists failed to reckon with what political scientist Peter Mair characterised as the political void at the core of the member-states — that is, the gap between rulers and ruled.

The constitutional illegitimacy so prevalent in modern nations stems from the lack of institutionalised representation that would help ground the state in civil society. The reason our elites appear so haughty and remote is less a subjective question of their attitude, and more an objective question of social structure: our rulers and leading lights simply are not embedded in institutional structures that would give them a meaningful representative function with respect to the rest of society. With 60% of British voters no longer feeling represented by existing parties, breaking up the existing party structure with a new electoral system will be imperative. Until this gap between rulers and ruled is closed, the structures of the member-state will continue to hover above their constituents, suspended in supranational networks of globally interconnected elites, and committed to globalist politics. They busy themselves fighting forever wars in supranational military alliances, nation-building in the Third World, tackling climate change or global poverty — anything except addressing the concerns of left-behind voters in forgotten nations.

Where does this leave us? If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit and establish a politics of national sovereignty and control, then we must replace our current member-state with a nation-state. As I argue with my co-authors in our new book, Taking Control: Sovereignty and Democracy After Brexit, this means that we must take the politics of the nation seriously. Brexit proved that there can be no return to the past. Whatever might be involved in carving out a new role for Britain in the world requires building a new nation out of the Britain of today.

Brexit was not a project of restoration but a project of renewal. Renewal will not come from new trading arrangements, however many economic gains are promised. It is only a politics of nationhood that would allow us to build up the state authority to transcend the super-charged Nimbyism that plagues the country, ensconced in the quangos, identity politics and devolutionary arrangements that disperse and diffuse all national energy and effort. Who will stand for this new nation? Only when we answer this question will we be able to exit from the shell of the European member-state in which we are still encased.


Philip Cunliffe is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London. He is author or editor of eight books, as well as a co-author of Taking Control: Sovereignty and Democracy After Brexit (2023). He is one of the hosts of the Bungacast podcast.

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Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

Shame about the clickbait headline. The whole point of Brexit is to achieve greater democracy – allowing the population to regain some control over the current set of “elites” – however long it takes.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes indeed, and however painful the process.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

What “process” are you talking about? Details please. 

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

UK elections

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

UK elections

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

What “process” are you talking about? Details please. 

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes, that is why Blackpool voted Leave.
In 2005 the British people had the chance to throw out the 2 political parties that institutionally supported the Iraq War and reward the party that institutionally opposed it. Remind me how did the British people vote?!
There is nothing more absurd that the people need to regain control…they have control that is why so many fools are elected…. BY THE PEOPLE!

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You clearly haven’t the first clue why democracy remains a better system than all the alternatives so far devised.

And yes, the alternatives so far devised do include the EU, basket case that it is.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You seem to want to convince yourself that the EU is a basket case but it is Britain that’s in more serious trouble these days. Not that either is great.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
1 year ago

The evidence is against you. The EU is disfunctional and now it’s economic engine, Germany, is in recession it is floundering even more. Political divisions are rife and talk of breaking their own rules to cope with what they don’t like – think Hungary, Poland.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

In a way, your reply perfectly illustrates the chasm of understanding between the two sides here. You carelessly conflate a nation-state with a functioning democratic system on one hand, and a badly designed federation on the other. They are not at all comparable: the EU has issues that the UK hasn’t had in 300 years: it doesn’t have a fiscal union, has no single demos that supports fiscal transfers, has no strategic autonomy in matters of defence, it is fatally dependent upon hostile external relationships to prop up what little stability it has, etc.

The UK is in a mess principally because it handled the pandemic very badly indeed, but it retains all the levers of power required to remedy those mistakes. The EU does not, and the way things are going, will not have them without existential risk.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
1 year ago

The evidence is against you. The EU is disfunctional and now it’s economic engine, Germany, is in recession it is floundering even more. Political divisions are rife and talk of breaking their own rules to cope with what they don’t like – think Hungary, Poland.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

In a way, your reply perfectly illustrates the chasm of understanding between the two sides here. You carelessly conflate a nation-state with a functioning democratic system on one hand, and a badly designed federation on the other. They are not at all comparable: the EU has issues that the UK hasn’t had in 300 years: it doesn’t have a fiscal union, has no single demos that supports fiscal transfers, has no strategic autonomy in matters of defence, it is fatally dependent upon hostile external relationships to prop up what little stability it has, etc.

The UK is in a mess principally because it handled the pandemic very badly indeed, but it retains all the levers of power required to remedy those mistakes. The EU does not, and the way things are going, will not have them without existential risk.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You seem to want to convince yourself that the EU is a basket case but it is Britain that’s in more serious trouble these days. Not that either is great.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You clearly haven’t the first clue why democracy remains a better system than all the alternatives so far devised.

And yes, the alternatives so far devised do include the EU, basket case that it is.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

How? Proposals please

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Reduce the welfare state, reduce immigration, create more vocational and technical universities, abolish useless social justice degrees, introduce more computer and technical classes in schools, audit government spending and funding, elevate motherhood, higher salaries for straight married men with children, invest in military technology, form economic alliances with other like-minded nations, invest in high-tech infrastructure and transportation, reform the NHS, encourage national and familial pride, I can go on forever like this.

rigby.kevinp
rigby.kevinp
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And who is going to persuade companies to give pay rises to all the ‘straight married men’ on their payrolls?

I predict a sudden spike in the hiring of unmarried men and women as soon as the government starts meddling in pay in this way.

Last edited 1 year ago by rigby.kevinp
rigby.kevinp
rigby.kevinp
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And who is going to persuade companies to give pay rises to all the ‘straight married men’ on their payrolls?

I predict a sudden spike in the hiring of unmarried men and women as soon as the government starts meddling in pay in this way.

Last edited 1 year ago by rigby.kevinp
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Yes and how have these (presumably ‘liberal’) elites been oppressing ordinary people through the EU? Is it through all that development money they offered to poor cities in the north (something our own government can’t be bothered to do)? Or maybe it’s their obsession with trans rights which is destroying young minds in schools despite taking up no more than an hour a year of PSHE lessons?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

U.K. elites have been blaming EU elites for failures of their own making. Increasing local lawmaking virtually removes this excuse.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

That advantage I’ll give you, though it seems they’ve adeptly passed the blame on to refugees and before Brexit was on the table it was benefits scroungers. They always find someone.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

That advantage I’ll give you, though it seems they’ve adeptly passed the blame on to refugees and before Brexit was on the table it was benefits scroungers. They always find someone.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

U.K. elites have been blaming EU elites for failures of their own making. Increasing local lawmaking virtually removes this excuse.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

U.K. elections

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Reduce the welfare state, reduce immigration, create more vocational and technical universities, abolish useless social justice degrees, introduce more computer and technical classes in schools, audit government spending and funding, elevate motherhood, higher salaries for straight married men with children, invest in military technology, form economic alliances with other like-minded nations, invest in high-tech infrastructure and transportation, reform the NHS, encourage national and familial pride, I can go on forever like this.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Yes and how have these (presumably ‘liberal’) elites been oppressing ordinary people through the EU? Is it through all that development money they offered to poor cities in the north (something our own government can’t be bothered to do)? Or maybe it’s their obsession with trans rights which is destroying young minds in schools despite taking up no more than an hour a year of PSHE lessons?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

U.K. elections

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I continue to be staggered at the ability of all Remainers not to know, or alternatively to ignore, the provisions of the EU Constitution (embodied in the Treaty of Lisbon).
The electoral system it enforces makes the sacking of the whole Council of Ministers at the very top of the EU utterly impractical and impossible.
The most that any member country can do is to change its national government and therewith replace the one minister sent by their country to the Council; but the other 26 ministers are not fired and so the direction of travel never changes, can never change.
(It is as if we could get rid of one Minister in our own country’s Cabinet, say the Minister of Housing, but no other member of the Cabinet – which would permanently remain in government.)
It is the Council of Ministers that sets the broad outlines of policy in the EU, and hands these down for the Commission to interpret as laws and directives; which in turn are then rubber-stamped by a Parliament which has few real debates and anyway cannot veto legislation.
Either Remaianers are wonderfully ignorant boneheads or they are corrupt – do not want democratic accountability.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Most remainers I have argued with have no idea what the democratic deficit in question actually is. They of course deny that it exists at all, but the point is that when asked “what do Brexit supporters claim that the democratic deficit actually is”, usually they just don’t have any idea.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Most remainers I have argued with have no idea what the democratic deficit in question actually is. They of course deny that it exists at all, but the point is that when asked “what do Brexit supporters claim that the democratic deficit actually is”, usually they just don’t have any idea.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Michael W
Michael W
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What so they could increase immigration? Damn EU elites stopping us from bringing in millions of Africans and Asians.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I agree with you that that is the point, but it was always a project that was going to be democratically tested early on. Unfortunately the Establishment that hated the 2016 result has mostly succeeded in ensuring that there is precious little to show for it so far. Is it a disgrace that said Establishment can simply get its own way against democracy by simply sabotaging every step of the process and then blaming the process? Indeed it is. But that’s what has happened, and on current trajectory the scumbags responsible are going to get away with it.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

We have replaced the “elites” with a group of British politicians who’s only interest is their political and business ambitions. All this comes before the interests of the UK and its people.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

So you’d wish to return us to our former status in the EU? If not, what is your point?
At least now, we have the option of voting out of government those whose “only interest is their political and business ambitions” if we could find a bunch of political aspirants to whom that didn’t apply.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I suppose the point is a despairing but maybe realistic one (with regard at least to the short to medium term) that our own elite is more hostile to the interests of the UK than the elites in Brussels, more concerned as the eurocrats seem to be with workers’ rights, the upholding of the separation of powers (going by their opposition to the illiberalism in Poland and Hungary) and also generous (judging by the funding they gave to the north of England, which our government prefers to ignore). That said I think the Brexit lot win on principle, it’s just how likely do you think (with our current duopoly of corporate parties in thrall to the Murdoch empire as well as their donors) we will have reason to celebrate the benefits of Brexit any time soon, if even ever?

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I suppose the point is a despairing but maybe realistic one (with regard at least to the short to medium term) that our own elite is more hostile to the interests of the UK than the elites in Brussels, more concerned as the eurocrats seem to be with workers’ rights, the upholding of the separation of powers (going by their opposition to the illiberalism in Poland and Hungary) and also generous (judging by the funding they gave to the north of England, which our government prefers to ignore). That said I think the Brexit lot win on principle, it’s just how likely do you think (with our current duopoly of corporate parties in thrall to the Murdoch empire as well as their donors) we will have reason to celebrate the benefits of Brexit any time soon, if even ever?

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

So you’d wish to return us to our former status in the EU? If not, what is your point?
At least now, we have the option of voting out of government those whose “only interest is their political and business ambitions” if we could find a bunch of political aspirants to whom that didn’t apply.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Greater democracy you speak of will lead to vassalisation of Britain to US. I suspect many are happy with that, but then let’s call a spade a spade.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes indeed, and however painful the process.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Yes, that is why Blackpool voted Leave.
In 2005 the British people had the chance to throw out the 2 political parties that institutionally supported the Iraq War and reward the party that institutionally opposed it. Remind me how did the British people vote?!
There is nothing more absurd that the people need to regain control…they have control that is why so many fools are elected…. BY THE PEOPLE!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

How? Proposals please

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I continue to be staggered at the ability of all Remainers not to know, or alternatively to ignore, the provisions of the EU Constitution (embodied in the Treaty of Lisbon).
The electoral system it enforces makes the sacking of the whole Council of Ministers at the very top of the EU utterly impractical and impossible.
The most that any member country can do is to change its national government and therewith replace the one minister sent by their country to the Council; but the other 26 ministers are not fired and so the direction of travel never changes, can never change.
(It is as if we could get rid of one Minister in our own country’s Cabinet, say the Minister of Housing, but no other member of the Cabinet – which would permanently remain in government.)
It is the Council of Ministers that sets the broad outlines of policy in the EU, and hands these down for the Commission to interpret as laws and directives; which in turn are then rubber-stamped by a Parliament which has few real debates and anyway cannot veto legislation.
Either Remaianers are wonderfully ignorant boneheads or they are corrupt – do not want democratic accountability.

Michael W
Michael W
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What so they could increase immigration? Damn EU elites stopping us from bringing in millions of Africans and Asians.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I agree with you that that is the point, but it was always a project that was going to be democratically tested early on. Unfortunately the Establishment that hated the 2016 result has mostly succeeded in ensuring that there is precious little to show for it so far. Is it a disgrace that said Establishment can simply get its own way against democracy by simply sabotaging every step of the process and then blaming the process? Indeed it is. But that’s what has happened, and on current trajectory the scumbags responsible are going to get away with it.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

We have replaced the “elites” with a group of British politicians who’s only interest is their political and business ambitions. All this comes before the interests of the UK and its people.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Greater democracy you speak of will lead to vassalisation of Britain to US. I suspect many are happy with that, but then let’s call a spade a spade.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

Shame about the clickbait headline. The whole point of Brexit is to achieve greater democracy – allowing the population to regain some control over the current set of “elites” – however long it takes.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“With 60% of British voters no longer feeling represented by existing parties,”
I have felt that way for a very long time. I haven’t voted in a national  election since 1997 for that reason. (I still have nightmare memories of having voted for that grinning charlatan, Blair). I turn up at the voting booth, look at the list of candidates, and think Orwell:
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
The referendum wasn’t offered as a genuine choice. It was simply Cameron’s attempt to outflank his opponents within his party. In the US such enemies are, I gather, called Deplorables. Cameron called them The Turnip Taliban.
In a parliamentry system Brixit cannot happen without the genuine support of a majority of MPs, and that suppoort was not forthcoming. I watched the expressions of grief on the faces of the losing side the day after the count with amusement. Those faces were not saying “What will happen to my constituents?” They were saying “What about my Villa in Tuscany?” I refer to it, still, as The Polly Toynbee Gurn.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

So what would you have actually done with Brexit PR? Don’t give us slogans, but rather outline of policies that you feel Country would have accepted as in line with what they voted for?
The issue the vacuous article highlights is far too many Brexiteers thought that was it and after we left some miracle would occur and many of our problems resolve. Demonstrative of totally inadequate thinking and prep. Nonetheless a chance for you to outline what should then have happened.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

.. and a significant chunk of Remainers were in complete ignorance/denial of the ongoing direction of travel of the EU project.
Feel free to outline the good reasons for staying in a non-democratic organisation that is gradually reducing your ability to influence the laws that govern your life.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Which laws particularly annoyed you? The workers and human rights protections perhaps? Or maybe the EU’s tyrannical treatment of Poland and Hungary for cracking down on freedom of the press and eroding the separation of powers?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I didn’t express annoyance in my comment above, but happy to suggest Maastricht as something that I find deeply unacceptable.
.
BTW – feel free to answer the question I raised.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Actually your question is utter BS!
In my lifetime every major catastrophic decision (Iraq/Libya, light touch regulation of the City, housing, education, job training, CAPEX, R&D..opening the doors for Russian dirty money…need I go further?) were all British GOV responsibilities.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Seconded

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

All true but more a reason for spring cleaning our ministers rather than dancing to someone else’ tune.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

My question remains perfectly valid. We need to be able to vote out anybody whose policies we don’t like. We have always had the ability to vote out the politicians who made the decisions you have referred to.
We need to make sure that we can vote out any and all others.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You had a reasonable point to make about poor decisions made by U.K. politicians – which did not require abusive expressions like “BS”.
I have responded to the rest of your comment above

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well done for not being provoked into an abusive response.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well said.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well done for not being provoked into an abusive response.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well said.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Seconded

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

All true but more a reason for spring cleaning our ministers rather than dancing to someone else’ tune.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

My question remains perfectly valid. We need to be able to vote out anybody whose policies we don’t like. We have always had the ability to vote out the politicians who made the decisions you have referred to.
We need to make sure that we can vote out any and all others.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You had a reasonable point to make about poor decisions made by U.K. politicians – which did not require abusive expressions like “BS”.
I have responded to the rest of your comment above

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Actually your question is utter BS!
In my lifetime every major catastrophic decision (Iraq/Libya, light touch regulation of the City, housing, education, job training, CAPEX, R&D..opening the doors for Russian dirty money…need I go further?) were all British GOV responsibilities.

michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The EU supports the ‘separation of powers’? There are no ‘powers’ in the EU. All have been subsumed long ago into what’s inelegantly called ‘The Blob’.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  michael harris

I agree with your sentiment, but I suspect that the Eurogroup may beg to differ.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  michael harris

I agree with your sentiment, but I suspect that the Eurogroup may beg to differ.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

You miss the point entirely (deliberately?).
Laws that govern British people should be made only by a British parliament elected by British people, and not by those who were not elected and cannot be unelected. It is called democracy – I appreciate that democracy is unpopular with so many supporters of the EU and with good reason, as membership of the EU allows an arrogant and self-serving elite to impose its will upon the majority without its consent.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The workers’ protections certainly annoy me, because they were unnecessary. The UK was perfectly capable of legislating for employment rights without needing an EU directive. Indeed, UK law gives better protection than is required by EU directives in many areas, statutory minimum holiday entitlement is one example.
But enmeshment by the EU has simply led to bad law in many areas, without any appreciable benefit to workers. See the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the ridiculously complicated calculations needed for holiday pay thanks to EU rules that we have not yet revoked or amended.
Human rights protections come from our membership of the ECHR of course not from the EU.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Exactly, We are – or certainly were – quite capable of deciding and legislating for appropriate worker protection for ourselves. Quite possible that we were the very first country to introduce factory acts.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suppose I agree with everyone above who is challenging me that in principle it is better that we can legislate for ourselves, but it’s the cynic in me that thinks our duopoly of corporate parties in thrall to the Murdoch empire will erode our protections and liberties faster than the EU will (our anti trade union laws for instance are now the toughest in Europe, after Russia, while the attitude of this current government to protest seems questionable to say the least). Then again, I’m not a fan of the increasingly corporate nature of the EU either, I just think Brexit will force us to submit to powers (China, the US) whose interests are even more at odds with ours if we are to have a fighting chance of remaining relevant. The globalists having their way with Brexit are currently proving a greater evil than the EU, as I’d feared from the start.
And as to DU’s point about there being no link between Brexit and our membership of the ECHR – that’s no quite true. Our decision to repeal the Human Rights Act might make ECHR decisions less effective:
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/resources/brexit-and-human-rights
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/how-might-brexit-affect-human-rights-in-the-uk/

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I think that our politicians became lazy due to the EU control. We got the politicians we deserved not what we needed. Skill levels severely downgraded with the advent of the “professional” politicians (meaning those who have done nothing else and are good for nothing). We need giants of industry, professions, those of real experience and capability. But in the febrile circumstances now subsisting why would anyone of real talent want to ? And local government is even worse.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I think that our politicians became lazy due to the EU control. We got the politicians we deserved not what we needed. Skill levels severely downgraded with the advent of the “professional” politicians (meaning those who have done nothing else and are good for nothing). We need giants of industry, professions, those of real experience and capability. But in the febrile circumstances now subsisting why would anyone of real talent want to ? And local government is even worse.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suppose I agree with everyone above who is challenging me that in principle it is better that we can legislate for ourselves, but it’s the cynic in me that thinks our duopoly of corporate parties in thrall to the Murdoch empire will erode our protections and liberties faster than the EU will (our anti trade union laws for instance are now the toughest in Europe, after Russia, while the attitude of this current government to protest seems questionable to say the least). Then again, I’m not a fan of the increasingly corporate nature of the EU either, I just think Brexit will force us to submit to powers (China, the US) whose interests are even more at odds with ours if we are to have a fighting chance of remaining relevant. The globalists having their way with Brexit are currently proving a greater evil than the EU, as I’d feared from the start.
And as to DU’s point about there being no link between Brexit and our membership of the ECHR – that’s no quite true. Our decision to repeal the Human Rights Act might make ECHR decisions less effective:
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/resources/brexit-and-human-rights
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/how-might-brexit-affect-human-rights-in-the-uk/

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Exactly, We are – or certainly were – quite capable of deciding and legislating for appropriate worker protection for ourselves. Quite possible that we were the very first country to introduce factory acts.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

It isn’t the point if they annoy you or not. It’s about them being made and imposed by unelected ministers.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I didn’t express annoyance in my comment above, but happy to suggest Maastricht as something that I find deeply unacceptable.
.
BTW – feel free to answer the question I raised.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
michael harris
michael harris
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The EU supports the ‘separation of powers’? There are no ‘powers’ in the EU. All have been subsumed long ago into what’s inelegantly called ‘The Blob’.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

You miss the point entirely (deliberately?).
Laws that govern British people should be made only by a British parliament elected by British people, and not by those who were not elected and cannot be unelected. It is called democracy – I appreciate that democracy is unpopular with so many supporters of the EU and with good reason, as membership of the EU allows an arrogant and self-serving elite to impose its will upon the majority without its consent.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The workers’ protections certainly annoy me, because they were unnecessary. The UK was perfectly capable of legislating for employment rights without needing an EU directive. Indeed, UK law gives better protection than is required by EU directives in many areas, statutory minimum holiday entitlement is one example.
But enmeshment by the EU has simply led to bad law in many areas, without any appreciable benefit to workers. See the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the ridiculously complicated calculations needed for holiday pay thanks to EU rules that we have not yet revoked or amended.
Human rights protections come from our membership of the ECHR of course not from the EU.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

It isn’t the point if they annoy you or not. It’s about them being made and imposed by unelected ministers.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

the good reasons

Too keep the Brexitards out of power. Do you really want Mark Francois in power?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

More abusive language – I would recommend a lie down Jeremy.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Or reverting to Twitter, which seems to be his preferred style.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Or reverting to Twitter, which seems to be his preferred style.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

More abusive language – I would recommend a lie down Jeremy.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Which laws particularly annoyed you? The workers and human rights protections perhaps? Or maybe the EU’s tyrannical treatment of Poland and Hungary for cracking down on freedom of the press and eroding the separation of powers?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

the good reasons

Too keep the Brexitards out of power. Do you really want Mark Francois in power?

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

TBF I think both sides assumed that keeping or changing the structure would solve all our problems. If EU membership was so self-evidently brilliant we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Still listening to the voices?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Mr j Watson, what on earth did you find to talk about before Brexit

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is funny how your comment (asking for specifics – how dare you!) gets negative 22 votes.
I will vote you up!

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

No don’t you will dent JW’s pride – a high number of negative votes is what you want on here. -22 would be nearing a personal best for me.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I think the problems here are 1. it coming over as arrogant and superior and 2. not actually contributing personal debate. Firing shots from behind the parapet.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

No don’t you will dent JW’s pride – a high number of negative votes is what you want on here. -22 would be nearing a personal best for me.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I think the problems here are 1. it coming over as arrogant and superior and 2. not actually contributing personal debate. Firing shots from behind the parapet.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You can’t ask a Brexiter for their “policies”. They haven’t got any, and they become very irate at being asked to produce one.  

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You misunderstand.
Brexiteers don’t need “policies”. They merely need to establish that “policies” are determined by a British parliament, elected by British electors.
You really don’t get it do you?

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Sure, and that’s the moral argument for Brexit. But it is also important to know what those pushing for Brexit had planned for the UK, and I’d say that the Dubai on Thames wanted by so many Tories was a betrayal of the popular Brexit which was anti-globalist and tragically – with the overepresentation of the super rich in the media and politics – will never get a hearing. The point is – you might be right on the principle of leaving, but what exactly are we supposed to be looking forward to? You tell us – what are the exciting new opportunities of Brexit? Ones which don’t leave the worst off even worse, or our economy more vulnerable to the interests of states that care less about us than those of Europe? Myb one hope was that lower immigration might increase the bargaining power of labour, but there’s been no sign of that, even in sectors that have lost workers due to Brexit.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Your last point hits the nail on the head. We should now start to see local wages gradually rising – instead of the importing of cheap labour to exploit – while suppressing the wages (and access to services) of the existing UK population.
If the current government fails to enact this, subsequent U.K. elections can occur until one eventually does.
If it wasn’t for the EU insistence on “free movement”, I suspect that the U.K. electorate would have voted to remain in the EU.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

With you on the centrality of freedom of movement in the Brexit vote. Much less sure that lowering immigration will automatically raise wages. As I’ve said, sectors which have lost workers due to Brexit, such as fruit picking, have not seen raises in wages. If you can think of an example (outside trucking) where the promises of ‘Lexit’ (i.e. the Left’s belief that lower immigration in some sectors will boost wages) have delivered I’d be very glad to know of them. Yet I never hear of them (probably because there aren’t any). As the supply of cheap labour runs dry, most employers, by my understanding, switch to other sectors where they can still keep wage costs down, or move to the parasitic housing market where again pressure from immigration is much discussed as a cause of the poverty that market inflicts and the effect of high demand from the super rich never. There are more houses than households in the UK. Tell me with a straight face that that’s a problem of immigration and not of the wealthy hoarding as many properties as they can.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The house price to wage ratio started to increase during Labour’s first term along with them increasing the immigration rate five fold (unnecessarily). Interest rates were low for all of the period. This benefitted the asset holding classes, even more so with the global financial crash.

Most of the jobs created were low wage, low skill part time service jobs. The house price to income ratio is now x8, with rising interest rates workers will find it even harder to pay their mortgage or buy a house while Ccmpanies will struggle to pay their workers more.

A disaster 25 years in the making, mass immigration and low interest rates.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Raiment
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I appreciate that you can’t see my face at this moment, but trust me when I say that both of the things you list are significant contributors to the housing problem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

There is strong evidence that the pub and restaurant trades are now having to significantly increase wages to attract staff.
This increases my leisure costs – but I’m very happy to pay more.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Neither of you are wrong. New Labour deepened the entrenched problems of the housing crisis started by Thatcher (although they put some plasters on the problem, like key start, helping key workers buy homes). Also agree that immigration must play some role in raising house prices – I just wish it wasn’t the only factor discussed by newspapers who never admit that it is as much the super-rich (i.e. the class who owns newspapers and most of our media) who are to blame.
And yes IB, looked into what you say about pubs and that is some good news at least re Brexit (although perhaps all that can be pointed to right now). Disappointed to find the Telegraph’s coverage of those pub wage increases more positive than that of the guardian, which bemoaned ‘wage wars’ starting between pubs in an effort to recruit workers, neglecting the fact that that’s exactly what a proper left-wing paper should be celebrating. Instead in its description of one pub it was nostalgic for it’s old team of Czech workers, ‘really hard grafters’ (read: easily exploitable). Love a Czech, but can someone moving from a country of low pay to one of high pay be counted on to try and bargain for higher wages?
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/28/pubs-struggle-to-retain-staff-after-brexit-and-covid-double-whammy

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Neither of you are wrong. New Labour deepened the entrenched problems of the housing crisis started by Thatcher (although they put some plasters on the problem, like key start, helping key workers buy homes). Also agree that immigration must play some role in raising house prices – I just wish it wasn’t the only factor discussed by newspapers who never admit that it is as much the super-rich (i.e. the class who owns newspapers and most of our media) who are to blame.
And yes IB, looked into what you say about pubs and that is some good news at least re Brexit (although perhaps all that can be pointed to right now). Disappointed to find the Telegraph’s coverage of those pub wage increases more positive than that of the guardian, which bemoaned ‘wage wars’ starting between pubs in an effort to recruit workers, neglecting the fact that that’s exactly what a proper left-wing paper should be celebrating. Instead in its description of one pub it was nostalgic for it’s old team of Czech workers, ‘really hard grafters’ (read: easily exploitable). Love a Czech, but can someone moving from a country of low pay to one of high pay be counted on to try and bargain for higher wages?
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/28/pubs-struggle-to-retain-staff-after-brexit-and-covid-double-whammy

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The house price to wage ratio started to increase during Labour’s first term along with them increasing the immigration rate five fold (unnecessarily). Interest rates were low for all of the period. This benefitted the asset holding classes, even more so with the global financial crash.

Most of the jobs created were low wage, low skill part time service jobs. The house price to income ratio is now x8, with rising interest rates workers will find it even harder to pay their mortgage or buy a house while Ccmpanies will struggle to pay their workers more.

A disaster 25 years in the making, mass immigration and low interest rates.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Raiment
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I appreciate that you can’t see my face at this moment, but trust me when I say that both of the things you list are significant contributors to the housing problem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

There is strong evidence that the pub and restaurant trades are now having to significantly increase wages to attract staff.
This increases my leisure costs – but I’m very happy to pay more.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

With you on the centrality of freedom of movement in the Brexit vote. Much less sure that lowering immigration will automatically raise wages. As I’ve said, sectors which have lost workers due to Brexit, such as fruit picking, have not seen raises in wages. If you can think of an example (outside trucking) where the promises of ‘Lexit’ (i.e. the Left’s belief that lower immigration in some sectors will boost wages) have delivered I’d be very glad to know of them. Yet I never hear of them (probably because there aren’t any). As the supply of cheap labour runs dry, most employers, by my understanding, switch to other sectors where they can still keep wage costs down, or move to the parasitic housing market where again pressure from immigration is much discussed as a cause of the poverty that market inflicts and the effect of high demand from the super rich never. There are more houses than households in the UK. Tell me with a straight face that that’s a problem of immigration and not of the wealthy hoarding as many properties as they can.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Ragnar Lothbrok
Ragnar Lothbrok
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Well as a person working in distribution and freight management I can tell you that the drivers of HGVs have had a significant bump in salary, around £3-5k in most instances as a direct result of less imported cheap labour. Plus around 6k extra drivers since the fuel crisis of 2021.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

Yes and that’s great news (I was aware of wages in trucking going up but thought it was an exception). I hope you/they enjoy their long-deserved pay rise!

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

Yes and that’s great news (I was aware of wages in trucking going up but thought it was an exception). I hope you/they enjoy their long-deserved pay rise!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Your last point hits the nail on the head. We should now start to see local wages gradually rising – instead of the importing of cheap labour to exploit – while suppressing the wages (and access to services) of the existing UK population.
If the current government fails to enact this, subsequent U.K. elections can occur until one eventually does.
If it wasn’t for the EU insistence on “free movement”, I suspect that the U.K. electorate would have voted to remain in the EU.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Ragnar Lothbrok
Ragnar Lothbrok
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Well as a person working in distribution and freight management I can tell you that the drivers of HGVs have had a significant bump in salary, around £3-5k in most instances as a direct result of less imported cheap labour. Plus around 6k extra drivers since the fuel crisis of 2021.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Sure, and that’s the moral argument for Brexit. But it is also important to know what those pushing for Brexit had planned for the UK, and I’d say that the Dubai on Thames wanted by so many Tories was a betrayal of the popular Brexit which was anti-globalist and tragically – with the overepresentation of the super rich in the media and politics – will never get a hearing. The point is – you might be right on the principle of leaving, but what exactly are we supposed to be looking forward to? You tell us – what are the exciting new opportunities of Brexit? Ones which don’t leave the worst off even worse, or our economy more vulnerable to the interests of states that care less about us than those of Europe? Myb one hope was that lower immigration might increase the bargaining power of labour, but there’s been no sign of that, even in sectors that have lost workers due to Brexit.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

See my post above.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This isn’t about Brexit policies. It is about not blaming Brexit for the mess, the UK, Europe and the US find themselves in.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You misunderstand.
Brexiteers don’t need “policies”. They merely need to establish that “policies” are determined by a British parliament, elected by British electors.
You really don’t get it do you?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

See my post above.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This isn’t about Brexit policies. It is about not blaming Brexit for the mess, the UK, Europe and the US find themselves in.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

.. and a significant chunk of Remainers were in complete ignorance/denial of the ongoing direction of travel of the EU project.
Feel free to outline the good reasons for staying in a non-democratic organisation that is gradually reducing your ability to influence the laws that govern your life.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

TBF I think both sides assumed that keeping or changing the structure would solve all our problems. If EU membership was so self-evidently brilliant we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Still listening to the voices?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Mr j Watson, what on earth did you find to talk about before Brexit

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is funny how your comment (asking for specifics – how dare you!) gets negative 22 votes.
I will vote you up!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You can’t ask a Brexiter for their “policies”. They haven’t got any, and they become very irate at being asked to produce one.  

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

So what would you have actually done with Brexit PR? Don’t give us slogans, but rather outline of policies that you feel Country would have accepted as in line with what they voted for?
The issue the vacuous article highlights is far too many Brexiteers thought that was it and after we left some miracle would occur and many of our problems resolve. Demonstrative of totally inadequate thinking and prep. Nonetheless a chance for you to outline what should then have happened.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“With 60% of British voters no longer feeling represented by existing parties,”
I have felt that way for a very long time. I haven’t voted in a national  election since 1997 for that reason. (I still have nightmare memories of having voted for that grinning charlatan, Blair). I turn up at the voting booth, look at the list of candidates, and think Orwell:
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
The referendum wasn’t offered as a genuine choice. It was simply Cameron’s attempt to outflank his opponents within his party. In the US such enemies are, I gather, called Deplorables. Cameron called them The Turnip Taliban.
In a parliamentry system Brixit cannot happen without the genuine support of a majority of MPs, and that suppoort was not forthcoming. I watched the expressions of grief on the faces of the losing side the day after the count with amusement. Those faces were not saying “What will happen to my constituents?” They were saying “What about my Villa in Tuscany?” I refer to it, still, as The Polly Toynbee Gurn.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

It is somehow logical that a lot of Brits now feel like Brexit was a mistake. And, without any clear path forward and with everything from the NHS to the roads seeming quite grim, like relitigating it for the 9000th time and apportioning blame is the easiest thing to do.
But maybe consider it this way: Brexit was like a massive plaster being ripped off, swilling a lot of problems which had been suppressed (from the failings of the NHS to the roads to devolution) up to the surface where they can no longer be ignored. And that’s even before you get to the question of nation-politics and restoring a more meaningful link between voters and rulers. Rather like an alcoholic finally facing up to their own illness and thus opening up the path to recovery, Britain now has a golden opportunity to clear up issues (EU-related or otherwise) which have been plaguing it for decades.
It is (and will continue to be) very painful to confront and solve these problems. The next 10 years in the UK are going to be a story of sorting through the vast detritus of state, picking every stone up, turning it over, and deciding whether to keep it or throw it out. This will surely generate a lot of controversy, complaint, dissatisfaction (and a lot more Brexit whinging – there’s ALWAYS Brexit whinging). But it is the ONLY way forward.
And, if you think about it, this is a very British way of doing things. Not having a grand plan or a roadmap, but establishing that “OK, we need to do something about XYZ”, having a continual, open discussion and making change. This is the way Britain has changed and transformed for hundreds of years. And, paradoxically, these regular periods of turbulence and dispute have ensured a continuity and overall stability which other countries can’t boast. In other words, Britain, tends to prefer having a series of mini-revolutions which are significant but nowhere near as seismic as the full-on ruptures that other countries have had.
I’m not going to even attempt to forecast where the EU is going to be in 10, 20 years time. But what I can say with absolute certainty is that it lacks this ability to change, reform and renew to the depth required to make it fit for the future. Therefore, large ruptures and meltdowns remain a risk. The hollowing out of nation state structures as mentioned in the article lessen the existential risk to the EU of these episodes of turbulence, as they can be quelled from above (see the euro crisis).

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Good point. If our political class had levelled up to us and explained that Brexit would be difficult and a process to be managed gradually, with the plaster being pulled off gradually, without remainers trying to turn the clock back and leavers claiming betrayal, we might have got somewhere.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Always interesting to read your views, Katherine, as someone living on the Continent and therefore not susceptible to the Remainer delusion that everything’s hunky dory in the EU.
My thirty-something son and d-i-l are moving to Hamburg for two years shortly. I suspect they will come back with the realisation that the notion that everything wrong about Britain today is “due to Brexit” is somewhat simplistic and, indeed, inward looking. Ironic: wasn’t it the Leavers who were supposed to be inward looking Little Englanders, with no idea what was going on across the Channel?
P.S. May I tap into your local knowledge? I’m going to be in Vienna later this week. What’s your favourite Heurige, accessible by public transport?

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

‘not susceptible to the Remainer delusion that everything’s hunky dory in the EU’
Well living in the Netherlands for the last two years, the only differences I’ve noticed have been better pay, lower rents, smoother roads, more time off, cheaper trains, rivers which aren’t full of **** and healthcare which I haven’t experienced yet but which I’ve heard is degenerating (as it becomes privatised and therefore more like the UK’s). What I miss most about the UK is the people – they deserve so much more than the current kleptocrats in charge.

David Adams
David Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The Netherlands is one of the world’s richest and most efficient economies, and has had better pay, more time off, and better transport networks than the UK for decades, these differences haven’t magically appeared in the last 7 years.

Incidentally, if you think the NHS is more privatised than the Dutch healthcare system, you need to stop reading the Guardian for a few weeks and cool off.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  David Adams

Yes I never denied the deeper roots of our decline and of NL’s success – NL has stronger trade unions, more regulated housing, less short-term flogging of state assets (which funded Thatcher’s money splurging which began this mess for us) in return for worse services.
You’re right on Dutch healthcare being more privatised than ours, though I’m not convinced that the system here, held up as it is by Tufton Street think tanks, produces better outcomes than a well-finded NHS. First, health insurance is mandatory so effectively a tax and secondly NL has the highest social spending in the world (most of which consists of those insurance payments, if I understand the link below correctly). All that for a system where I’ve been advised to get a taxi to hospital if possible in an emergency to avoid the 700 euro I’d roughly pay for an ambulance with my current coverage.
And I try to avoid the guardian and other corporate media where possible, but big money is behind almost all outlets nowadays it seems (this one being no exception).
https://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2023/04/which-oecd-country-is-highest-social.html
https://mymaastricht.nl/health/emergency/treatment-cost/

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  David Adams

Yes I never denied the deeper roots of our decline and of NL’s success – NL has stronger trade unions, more regulated housing, less short-term flogging of state assets (which funded Thatcher’s money splurging which began this mess for us) in return for worse services.
You’re right on Dutch healthcare being more privatised than ours, though I’m not convinced that the system here, held up as it is by Tufton Street think tanks, produces better outcomes than a well-finded NHS. First, health insurance is mandatory so effectively a tax and secondly NL has the highest social spending in the world (most of which consists of those insurance payments, if I understand the link below correctly). All that for a system where I’ve been advised to get a taxi to hospital if possible in an emergency to avoid the 700 euro I’d roughly pay for an ambulance with my current coverage.
And I try to avoid the guardian and other corporate media where possible, but big money is behind almost all outlets nowadays it seems (this one being no exception).
https://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2023/04/which-oecd-country-is-highest-social.html
https://mymaastricht.nl/health/emergency/treatment-cost/

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
David Adams
David Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The Netherlands is one of the world’s richest and most efficient economies, and has had better pay, more time off, and better transport networks than the UK for decades, these differences haven’t magically appeared in the last 7 years.

Incidentally, if you think the NHS is more privatised than the Dutch healthcare system, you need to stop reading the Guardian for a few weeks and cool off.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Of course that is simplistic. Just as the Brexiter notion that everything that was wrong with Britain was the fault of the EU was simplistic. Both positions are populist nonsense. Which is why, as Thatcher noted, citing Attlee, referendums are a device of dictators and demagogues. But then Thatcher had brains, unlike most of today’s Tories.  

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank McCusker
Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Australia has had 44 federal Referendums since 1901. It’s a requirement to change the Constitution,
If has Westminster style governance and Common Law. It takes voting seriously. A member of Five Eyes, it has close historical and DNA connections with UK. It even takes part in Eurovision.
It certainly has faults, but is generally regarded as a democratic, open society.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Australia has had 44 federal Referendums since 1901. It’s a requirement to change the Constitution,
If has Westminster style governance and Common Law. It takes voting seriously. A member of Five Eyes, it has close historical and DNA connections with UK. It even takes part in Eurovision.
It certainly has faults, but is generally regarded as a democratic, open society.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

I might have a different take on things because I live somewhere else, and yes, every country has its issues. Also: I do think there is a lot of wishful thinking in remainer circles of the “if we were only back in the EU, then X problem would be solved” when really that isn’t the case and handling the discussion that way just isn’t constructive.
However, I will say unreservedly that – for all the issues Austria has – I’m glad I’m here and not in the UK. I do have hope that the UK can turn things around – you are having the necessary painful conversations, but it will take time.
Heuriger suggestions: Stefan Wieselthaler in the Oberlaaer Straße (No. 120) is one of our favourites. It’s about 15 mintues’ walk from the Oberlaa U-Bahn station (the terminus of the red U1 line). Weather later this week looking pants unfortunately, but sitting inside is still nice.
Feel free to get in touch if you want – Google my name (take care with my 1st name, it’s KathArine, not KathErine) and my legal translation website should come up. Use that email address – perhaps we can meet for a coffee? You are on my stomping ground 🙂

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well indeed – who wouldn’t want to live in Red Vienna, one of the world’s havens of social housing, allowing ordinary people a sense of belonging in a beautiful city? I might be romanticising, but the point is hard to deny – housing is cheap there and it’s social democrats who done it.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Well indeed – who wouldn’t want to live in Red Vienna, one of the world’s havens of social housing, allowing ordinary people a sense of belonging in a beautiful city? I might be romanticising, but the point is hard to deny – housing is cheap there and it’s social democrats who done it.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago

‘not susceptible to the Remainer delusion that everything’s hunky dory in the EU’
Well living in the Netherlands for the last two years, the only differences I’ve noticed have been better pay, lower rents, smoother roads, more time off, cheaper trains, rivers which aren’t full of **** and healthcare which I haven’t experienced yet but which I’ve heard is degenerating (as it becomes privatised and therefore more like the UK’s). What I miss most about the UK is the people – they deserve so much more than the current kleptocrats in charge.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Of course that is simplistic. Just as the Brexiter notion that everything that was wrong with Britain was the fault of the EU was simplistic. Both positions are populist nonsense. Which is why, as Thatcher noted, citing Attlee, referendums are a device of dictators and demagogues. But then Thatcher had brains, unlike most of today’s Tories.  

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank McCusker
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

I might have a different take on things because I live somewhere else, and yes, every country has its issues. Also: I do think there is a lot of wishful thinking in remainer circles of the “if we were only back in the EU, then X problem would be solved” when really that isn’t the case and handling the discussion that way just isn’t constructive.
However, I will say unreservedly that – for all the issues Austria has – I’m glad I’m here and not in the UK. I do have hope that the UK can turn things around – you are having the necessary painful conversations, but it will take time.
Heuriger suggestions: Stefan Wieselthaler in the Oberlaaer Straße (No. 120) is one of our favourites. It’s about 15 mintues’ walk from the Oberlaa U-Bahn station (the terminus of the red U1 line). Weather later this week looking pants unfortunately, but sitting inside is still nice.
Feel free to get in touch if you want – Google my name (take care with my 1st name, it’s KathArine, not KathErine) and my legal translation website should come up. Use that email address – perhaps we can meet for a coffee? You are on my stomping ground 🙂

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Exactly. My analogy is the difference between adiabatic & isothermal expansion, the former being liable to blow the containing vessel apart.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Good point. If our political class had levelled up to us and explained that Brexit would be difficult and a process to be managed gradually, with the plaster being pulled off gradually, without remainers trying to turn the clock back and leavers claiming betrayal, we might have got somewhere.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Always interesting to read your views, Katherine, as someone living on the Continent and therefore not susceptible to the Remainer delusion that everything’s hunky dory in the EU.
My thirty-something son and d-i-l are moving to Hamburg for two years shortly. I suspect they will come back with the realisation that the notion that everything wrong about Britain today is “due to Brexit” is somewhat simplistic and, indeed, inward looking. Ironic: wasn’t it the Leavers who were supposed to be inward looking Little Englanders, with no idea what was going on across the Channel?
P.S. May I tap into your local knowledge? I’m going to be in Vienna later this week. What’s your favourite Heurige, accessible by public transport?

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Exactly. My analogy is the difference between adiabatic & isothermal expansion, the former being liable to blow the containing vessel apart.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

It is somehow logical that a lot of Brits now feel like Brexit was a mistake. And, without any clear path forward and with everything from the NHS to the roads seeming quite grim, like relitigating it for the 9000th time and apportioning blame is the easiest thing to do.
But maybe consider it this way: Brexit was like a massive plaster being ripped off, swilling a lot of problems which had been suppressed (from the failings of the NHS to the roads to devolution) up to the surface where they can no longer be ignored. And that’s even before you get to the question of nation-politics and restoring a more meaningful link between voters and rulers. Rather like an alcoholic finally facing up to their own illness and thus opening up the path to recovery, Britain now has a golden opportunity to clear up issues (EU-related or otherwise) which have been plaguing it for decades.
It is (and will continue to be) very painful to confront and solve these problems. The next 10 years in the UK are going to be a story of sorting through the vast detritus of state, picking every stone up, turning it over, and deciding whether to keep it or throw it out. This will surely generate a lot of controversy, complaint, dissatisfaction (and a lot more Brexit whinging – there’s ALWAYS Brexit whinging). But it is the ONLY way forward.
And, if you think about it, this is a very British way of doing things. Not having a grand plan or a roadmap, but establishing that “OK, we need to do something about XYZ”, having a continual, open discussion and making change. This is the way Britain has changed and transformed for hundreds of years. And, paradoxically, these regular periods of turbulence and dispute have ensured a continuity and overall stability which other countries can’t boast. In other words, Britain, tends to prefer having a series of mini-revolutions which are significant but nowhere near as seismic as the full-on ruptures that other countries have had.
I’m not going to even attempt to forecast where the EU is going to be in 10, 20 years time. But what I can say with absolute certainty is that it lacks this ability to change, reform and renew to the depth required to make it fit for the future. Therefore, large ruptures and meltdowns remain a risk. The hollowing out of nation state structures as mentioned in the article lessen the existential risk to the EU of these episodes of turbulence, as they can be quelled from above (see the euro crisis).

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

All this begs the question: why have the opportunities of Brexit been squandered?

Just a suggestion – the clerisy (Members of Parliament, the Civil Service, QUANGOs, big businesses, and the assimilated MSM) are all reluctant to pass up their cosy positions in the Administrative State and engage in the new post-Brexit opportunities to do stuff.
Leavers (mostly) voted to ‘take back control’. Brexit (mostly) broke the grip of EU bureaucrats but did not follow on in establishing a new control regime. Our bureaucrats spend more effort resisting change than getting on with it because they (mostly) hanker after their previous comfortable existence.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

That’s not a suggestion – it’s fact !
Being in the EU gave a “constructive ambiguity” of cover to those in government and the civil service in the UK. They continued to draw the same (or better) salaries whilst enjoying actually reduced responsibilities plus the added bonus of being able to pass the blame for anything that went wrong on to the EU.
Did the size of the state shrink when countries joined the EU and it increasingly centralised power ? Did the Bank of France shrink in workforce or budget after the ECB and Euro were founded ? No. Quite the reverse.
It’s Parkinson’s Law 101.
We will not improve UK productivity and competitiveness until we can break the bureaucracy. Which is clearly deeply embedded and a law unto itself. And largely home grown.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Truly amazing to think we once ruled 300+ million Indians with an ICS* of about 1,200 souls.

(* Indian Civil Service.)

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago

And that the total number that ever served over the whole history of the Sudan Civil Service was about 500.

Anne Torr
Anne Torr
1 year ago

But they didn’t have Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter or Instagram to deal with then.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Anne Torr

No indeed, just a Punkhawallah, a bottle of decent Gin and a copy of Thucydides.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Anne Torr

No indeed, just a Punkhawallah, a bottle of decent Gin and a copy of Thucydides.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

I think the thing here is that in that era we could better balance the bureaucracy with the practical need to get stuff done and run profitable businesses and remain competitive internationally.
One key problem seems to be that we actually take law enforcement and regulation both literally and seriously in this country – and far more so than many other European countries (generally the further south and east you go, the more “flexible” it all gets). And that’s a strong reason why we shouldn’t over-regulate in the UK – we can’t trust ourselves not to overdo it.
It is not directly the fault of the EU that we have this problem. But the bureaucractice nature of the EU and its core assumption that problems can be solved by more regulation (which I question) plays into our weaknesses.
I’ll now attempt to channel my inner Charles Stanhope and suggest that a lot of Britain’s success in the past may have been due to a rather reckless and buccaneering style of getting things done within a rather looser regulatory framework – for example privateering was at one time looked on quite favourably, though actually piracy was always punished.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

‘we actually take law enforcement and regulation both literally and seriously in this country – and far more so than many other European countries (generally the further south and east you go, the more “flexible” it all gets)’
So we should be upholding the Balkan countries as bastions of productivity and efficiency? That’s a new one I have to say. Very surprised you didn’t go in the other direction (north west) to countries that are actually known to score better in this regard – NL, Denmark, Sweden etc. These by the way do often have freer economies (insofar as we can trust the claims of the IEA), but crucially have strong state redistribution and controls on how much people can be charged on housing and health, which gurantees a minimum of wealth for ordinary people that I’d say is essential to an entrepreneurial population wasting less of its income on rents or bankrupting itself on unaffordable healthcare.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I think you’ve misread my comment !
I said the exact opposite of what you think I did.
We’re in complete agreement in our admiration for the “north west” (which would then have to include ourselves – I hope you can live with that).
I do not agree that highly redistributive policies correlate to entrepreneuralism. In my experience, too much welfare has the opposite effect.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Right I may have – so you’re arguing for more balance between bureaucracy and profitability, but really saying that regulation is right now the bigger stranglehold on growth. Couldn’t disagree more – look how much unproductive rent seeking is encouraged by our under-regulated housing market and the lack of tax on the windfall profits on companies given state handouts for terrible services (trains, gas, water etc).
In my experience, and judging by the ventures of many successful companies, including those which helped launch Charles’ beloved empire, it was state backing that was key to their success. I agree with Mariana Mazzucato that the state can be entrepreneurial, and often is most so when it comes to big mission projects.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Right I may have – so you’re arguing for more balance between bureaucracy and profitability, but really saying that regulation is right now the bigger stranglehold on growth. Couldn’t disagree more – look how much unproductive rent seeking is encouraged by our under-regulated housing market and the lack of tax on the windfall profits on companies given state handouts for terrible services (trains, gas, water etc).
In my experience, and judging by the ventures of many successful companies, including those which helped launch Charles’ beloved empire, it was state backing that was key to their success. I agree with Mariana Mazzucato that the state can be entrepreneurial, and often is most so when it comes to big mission projects.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I think you’ve misread my comment !
I said the exact opposite of what you think I did.
We’re in complete agreement in our admiration for the “north west” (which would then have to include ourselves – I hope you can live with that).
I do not agree that highly redistributive policies correlate to entrepreneuralism. In my experience, too much welfare has the opposite effect.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

‘we actually take law enforcement and regulation both literally and seriously in this country – and far more so than many other European countries (generally the further south and east you go, the more “flexible” it all gets)’
So we should be upholding the Balkan countries as bastions of productivity and efficiency? That’s a new one I have to say. Very surprised you didn’t go in the other direction (north west) to countries that are actually known to score better in this regard – NL, Denmark, Sweden etc. These by the way do often have freer economies (insofar as we can trust the claims of the IEA), but crucially have strong state redistribution and controls on how much people can be charged on housing and health, which gurantees a minimum of wealth for ordinary people that I’d say is essential to an entrepreneurial population wasting less of its income on rents or bankrupting itself on unaffordable healthcare.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Plus a corrupt and caste-ridden Indian society, and a lot of guns to deal with any dissent. That what you want mate?

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago

And that the total number that ever served over the whole history of the Sudan Civil Service was about 500.

Anne Torr
Anne Torr
1 year ago

But they didn’t have Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter or Instagram to deal with then.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

I think the thing here is that in that era we could better balance the bureaucracy with the practical need to get stuff done and run profitable businesses and remain competitive internationally.
One key problem seems to be that we actually take law enforcement and regulation both literally and seriously in this country – and far more so than many other European countries (generally the further south and east you go, the more “flexible” it all gets). And that’s a strong reason why we shouldn’t over-regulate in the UK – we can’t trust ourselves not to overdo it.
It is not directly the fault of the EU that we have this problem. But the bureaucractice nature of the EU and its core assumption that problems can be solved by more regulation (which I question) plays into our weaknesses.
I’ll now attempt to channel my inner Charles Stanhope and suggest that a lot of Britain’s success in the past may have been due to a rather reckless and buccaneering style of getting things done within a rather looser regulatory framework – for example privateering was at one time looked on quite favourably, though actually piracy was always punished.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Plus a corrupt and caste-ridden Indian society, and a lot of guns to deal with any dissent. That what you want mate?

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

‘We will not improve UK productivity and competitiveness until we can break the bureaucracy.’
If leaving the EU is an essential part of breaking that bureaucracy, then an irony here must be that the UK is actually less productive than its western European competitors (a phenomenon referred to as the ‘productivity gap’)

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

As in any market there are different segments.
There are parts of the UK economy which truly are world class and highly productive and which we export all over the world. Think finance and anything to do with business services, some areas of advanced technology and consulting, entertainment and media.
In these areas we are well ahead of other European countries.
Then there are some areas dragging down the team average. Hand car washes (which used to be automated). Continually importing unskilled workers.
Then the ever increasing army of bureaucrats who’s job is largely to *prevent stuff getting done* and for things which are permitted to *continually drive up the costs*. Thus we have ever higher energy costs – most of which are government levies. And ever more regulations about safety – annual inspections on everything related to rental properties where we would not require them in our own houses. Things like this.
As I stated, EU regulations have not helped us here. Those who don’t bother to enforce the regulations clearly don’t need to bear the costs.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Don’t recall claiming that the UK was behind in productivity in every single sector. Of course there is nuance. This is a general difference, and sure we have some competetive advantages – as you rightly point out – such as in the arts and entertainment (out of interest what is your favourite Tory policy that has advanced our edge in that domain? Cutting the budgets of arts and humanities departments? Or maybe making it impossibe for British musicians to tour Europe for more than three months at a time?)
And where do private landlords and gas company shareholders enjoying sky high profits off the backs of working people fit in your gallery of productive and non-productive actors? Gas prices are way lower in France, house prices are lower in the Netherands? Explain how that is the case without referring to the fact that gas companies are majority state owned in France and that the Netherlands has a more regulated housing sector. Where an essential service like health, housing or energy is being delivered, financial regulation is essential if those services are to serve need rather than demand, people rather than profit, people who get their money through work rather than wealth etc

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Don’t recall claiming that the UK was behind in productivity in every single sector. Of course there is nuance. This is a general difference, and sure we have some competetive advantages – as you rightly point out – such as in the arts and entertainment (out of interest what is your favourite Tory policy that has advanced our edge in that domain? Cutting the budgets of arts and humanities departments? Or maybe making it impossibe for British musicians to tour Europe for more than three months at a time?)
And where do private landlords and gas company shareholders enjoying sky high profits off the backs of working people fit in your gallery of productive and non-productive actors? Gas prices are way lower in France, house prices are lower in the Netherands? Explain how that is the case without referring to the fact that gas companies are majority state owned in France and that the Netherlands has a more regulated housing sector. Where an essential service like health, housing or energy is being delivered, financial regulation is essential if those services are to serve need rather than demand, people rather than profit, people who get their money through work rather than wealth etc

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

As in any market there are different segments.
There are parts of the UK economy which truly are world class and highly productive and which we export all over the world. Think finance and anything to do with business services, some areas of advanced technology and consulting, entertainment and media.
In these areas we are well ahead of other European countries.
Then there are some areas dragging down the team average. Hand car washes (which used to be automated). Continually importing unskilled workers.
Then the ever increasing army of bureaucrats who’s job is largely to *prevent stuff getting done* and for things which are permitted to *continually drive up the costs*. Thus we have ever higher energy costs – most of which are government levies. And ever more regulations about safety – annual inspections on everything related to rental properties where we would not require them in our own houses. Things like this.
As I stated, EU regulations have not helped us here. Those who don’t bother to enforce the regulations clearly don’t need to bear the costs.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Truly amazing to think we once ruled 300+ million Indians with an ICS* of about 1,200 souls.

(* Indian Civil Service.)

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

‘We will not improve UK productivity and competitiveness until we can break the bureaucracy.’
If leaving the EU is an essential part of breaking that bureaucracy, then an irony here must be that the UK is actually less productive than its western European competitors (a phenomenon referred to as the ‘productivity gap’)

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

‘Leavers (mostly) voted to ‘take back control’. Brexit (mostly) broke the grip of EU bureaucrats but did not follow on in establishing a new control regime.’
Indeed, and this is I think a very important point. I am very critical of REMAIN as both an idea and as a political construct. But that does not in itself excuse those of us of the LEAVE mindset (and to be clear I include myself here) from having to answer some very searching questions.
In many ways we’d won before 2016. The Treaty included A50 – an explicit acknowledgement that a country could leave the EU. All of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats had at some point put out manifestos which envisaged an in-out referendum or talked about ‘referendum locks.’ The idea of leaving the EU, or at least having a referendum was not some flight of fancy. We did exactly half the job. The fact that we did it well is of no consolation. Search high and low amongst the material produced by the political parties, not a one of them had any vision of what would happen if the referendum they all envisaged in their manifestos resulted in a LEAVE vote. Similarly do a literature search of EU documents or of academic thinking: the literature on the leave scenario explicit on the face of the Treaty is paper thin. Given that this was at or about the time of the single currency crisis it is, to my mind, unforgivable that so few people on either side of the debate gave any thought to what a leave vote would mean.
Worse, opinion polling for what it’s worth for decades had shown that a leave vote in the UK was a far from theoretical outcome.
We did half the job and left the other half to elites. Don’t get me wrong by the way – I’m not saying for a moment that defining and reifying a process of national renewal away from the EU’s globalist open agenda and its dislocations was ever going to be easy. I am also very aware that a 52:48 vote points rather more in the direction of a Switzerland or EEA option than what became known as a ‘hard leave.’ That is not the trivial point some on the leave side seem to think it is.
There was no leave vision because we didn’t push them to produce it, to put in not just the electoral heft but also the brainpower. That’s not the fault of REMAIN.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

So..EU (directly or indirectly?) was responsible for the Iraq/Libya decision?
Light Touch Regulation of The City?!

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

That’s not a suggestion – it’s fact !
Being in the EU gave a “constructive ambiguity” of cover to those in government and the civil service in the UK. They continued to draw the same (or better) salaries whilst enjoying actually reduced responsibilities plus the added bonus of being able to pass the blame for anything that went wrong on to the EU.
Did the size of the state shrink when countries joined the EU and it increasingly centralised power ? Did the Bank of France shrink in workforce or budget after the ECB and Euro were founded ? No. Quite the reverse.
It’s Parkinson’s Law 101.
We will not improve UK productivity and competitiveness until we can break the bureaucracy. Which is clearly deeply embedded and a law unto itself. And largely home grown.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

‘Leavers (mostly) voted to ‘take back control’. Brexit (mostly) broke the grip of EU bureaucrats but did not follow on in establishing a new control regime.’
Indeed, and this is I think a very important point. I am very critical of REMAIN as both an idea and as a political construct. But that does not in itself excuse those of us of the LEAVE mindset (and to be clear I include myself here) from having to answer some very searching questions.
In many ways we’d won before 2016. The Treaty included A50 – an explicit acknowledgement that a country could leave the EU. All of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats had at some point put out manifestos which envisaged an in-out referendum or talked about ‘referendum locks.’ The idea of leaving the EU, or at least having a referendum was not some flight of fancy. We did exactly half the job. The fact that we did it well is of no consolation. Search high and low amongst the material produced by the political parties, not a one of them had any vision of what would happen if the referendum they all envisaged in their manifestos resulted in a LEAVE vote. Similarly do a literature search of EU documents or of academic thinking: the literature on the leave scenario explicit on the face of the Treaty is paper thin. Given that this was at or about the time of the single currency crisis it is, to my mind, unforgivable that so few people on either side of the debate gave any thought to what a leave vote would mean.
Worse, opinion polling for what it’s worth for decades had shown that a leave vote in the UK was a far from theoretical outcome.
We did half the job and left the other half to elites. Don’t get me wrong by the way – I’m not saying for a moment that defining and reifying a process of national renewal away from the EU’s globalist open agenda and its dislocations was ever going to be easy. I am also very aware that a 52:48 vote points rather more in the direction of a Switzerland or EEA option than what became known as a ‘hard leave.’ That is not the trivial point some on the leave side seem to think it is.
There was no leave vision because we didn’t push them to produce it, to put in not just the electoral heft but also the brainpower. That’s not the fault of REMAIN.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

So..EU (directly or indirectly?) was responsible for the Iraq/Libya decision?
Light Touch Regulation of The City?!

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

All this begs the question: why have the opportunities of Brexit been squandered?

Just a suggestion – the clerisy (Members of Parliament, the Civil Service, QUANGOs, big businesses, and the assimilated MSM) are all reluctant to pass up their cosy positions in the Administrative State and engage in the new post-Brexit opportunities to do stuff.
Leavers (mostly) voted to ‘take back control’. Brexit (mostly) broke the grip of EU bureaucrats but did not follow on in establishing a new control regime. Our bureaucrats spend more effort resisting change than getting on with it because they (mostly) hanker after their previous comfortable existence.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

It’s not a soft and gradual creep back to Brussels that we need to be worried about. It’s a lazy amble in to the jaws of the monstrous hard supranational power that is being constructed in Geneva that is the clear and present threat. While the UK remains a WHO member state, it cannot be an independent nation state.

The WHO has an openly stated ambition to grab hard supranational power via a “game changing” “pandemic treaty” and amendments to the IHR that will give its communist leader the power to declare a health emergency and legally to require member states to implement “whole of government, whole of society” measures. The same leader has described the “pandemic” or “Disease X” as “inevitable”.

The absence in this article of any mention of the WHO and the UN more generally is just one more small piece evidence of how far we have to go in resisting this tyrannical, corporatist attack by the communist-led WHO on the most fundamental basic tenets of our supposedly liberal democracy. Wake up, Phil.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The WHO and its arch apparatchik, Dominic Cummings Esq.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The WHO is but one tentacle of this anti-democratic (and I would argue, profoundly anti-human) beast.

We need to get out from under the influence of the the supranational structures of UN (and all of the SDG commitments, and downstream agencies), the IMF, etc. And of course, the ‘private’ rulers-of-the-world clubs such as WEF, the Trilateral Commission and the CfR.
And it would be great to see some UnHerd reporting on the exceedingly dangerous but less well known power centres like the ISD (Institute for Strategic Dialogue), from which such undemocratic astroturfing operations as ‘C40‘ and the ‘Strong Cities Network‘ flow. These organisations are, very successfully, subverting and overthrowing democracies, by building technocratic (arguably fascist) structures up around them.

The total capture of the dullards and grifters that make up our political class is disappointing enough, but the real death blow has been dealt by the capture of the journalistic class, the media. Without a sentinel to alert the people to what shenanigans are happening in the dark halls of power, we are being driven right back into totalitarianism, albeit one that has shiny new tech tools and very fluffy rhetoric about the the climate, and community, and justice, and equity. Scary times.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The WHO and its arch apparatchik, Dominic Cummings Esq.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The WHO is but one tentacle of this anti-democratic (and I would argue, profoundly anti-human) beast.

We need to get out from under the influence of the the supranational structures of UN (and all of the SDG commitments, and downstream agencies), the IMF, etc. And of course, the ‘private’ rulers-of-the-world clubs such as WEF, the Trilateral Commission and the CfR.
And it would be great to see some UnHerd reporting on the exceedingly dangerous but less well known power centres like the ISD (Institute for Strategic Dialogue), from which such undemocratic astroturfing operations as ‘C40‘ and the ‘Strong Cities Network‘ flow. These organisations are, very successfully, subverting and overthrowing democracies, by building technocratic (arguably fascist) structures up around them.

The total capture of the dullards and grifters that make up our political class is disappointing enough, but the real death blow has been dealt by the capture of the journalistic class, the media. Without a sentinel to alert the people to what shenanigans are happening in the dark halls of power, we are being driven right back into totalitarianism, albeit one that has shiny new tech tools and very fluffy rhetoric about the the climate, and community, and justice, and equity. Scary times.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

It’s not a soft and gradual creep back to Brussels that we need to be worried about. It’s a lazy amble in to the jaws of the monstrous hard supranational power that is being constructed in Geneva that is the clear and present threat. While the UK remains a WHO member state, it cannot be an independent nation state.

The WHO has an openly stated ambition to grab hard supranational power via a “game changing” “pandemic treaty” and amendments to the IHR that will give its communist leader the power to declare a health emergency and legally to require member states to implement “whole of government, whole of society” measures. The same leader has described the “pandemic” or “Disease X” as “inevitable”.

The absence in this article of any mention of the WHO and the UN more generally is just one more small piece evidence of how far we have to go in resisting this tyrannical, corporatist attack by the communist-led WHO on the most fundamental basic tenets of our supposedly liberal democracy. Wake up, Phil.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

The author of the article points out that a lot of the issues the UK is experiencing at the moment are also experienced in the rest of Europe. He then mentions that there should be some sort of change to Britain’s way of electing politicians to get out of said malaise. But what? All those other European countries which are having the same problems also have a plethora of different electoral systems.
So that doesn’t really suggest grounds for optimism that a new magical way of voting will unlock the wisdom of the people and bring about a renaissance of UK policy-making. Ultimately, unless there is some meat on the bone in his book that he isn’t mentioning, his program appears to be yet more of “something must be done! this is something! therefore, we should do it! Rah, national renewal, rah!”

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

You’re correct, but at least those other electoral systems allow for smaller parties to have influence, such as the recent gains by the Dutch Farmers. The current UK system is a shambles, whereby a party can win a majority on a third of the vote, and UKIP once polled around 12% but won a single seat out of 650.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Without a Donald Trump UK is lost – and I do not believe there is such a person. Not even a Desantis, or the real amazing Vivek Ramaswamy (he is Amazing! and running for Republican President) – AND on the Democrat side (in the worst interview ever conducted in any political interview – by Freddy, you can see him here)
RFK Jr. The man who still thinks truth matters and that the DC swamp is an alligator infested sewer, haha…Vivek Ramaswamy is a virtual disciple of RFK, but is on the other party – wild, two men on opposite sides, but both totally for America! Britain only has Politicians who hate UK.

In USA 4 Men who are 100% a thousand times better than anything UK has going. People who could yet save the world in its last cliff-hanging second.

Britian just has a Biden-Kamala level of leaders.

But then West Europe is an equally bad place.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

here is Vivek Ramaswamy
https://rumble.com/v2rhsba-june-1-2023.html

He has a future! I would love him to be Trump’s VP – now that would be a Ticket! Could just save the world.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

What did Trump actually achieve? Of all his campaign promises such as the wall what actually came into being except tax cuts for the wealthy? As much as I liked the fact he upset the status quo and he was horribly attacked by the media, the bloke was useless and a simpleton

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree he’s a complete mountebank – however he didn’t start any wars which I think is something worth celebrating

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The US was energy independent and a net exporter under Trump. He normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states through the Abraham Accords. Employment for blacks and Hispanics was at an all-time high. He refused to continue suicidal trade agreements with China, and ended insane shipments of cash to our enemies in the Middle East. Russia most certainly would not have invaded Ukraine. He exposed the uniparty and total corruption of the Justice and State departments, as well as the un-elected bureaucratic control over American lives.
Just a few things the “useless bloke” did in office, despite the entire government, media, education, corporate, entertainment, and tech establishments working day an night to destroy him from the time he first announced his candidacy.
How many “simpletons” could manage that?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree he’s a complete mountebank – however he didn’t start any wars which I think is something worth celebrating

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The US was energy independent and a net exporter under Trump. He normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab states through the Abraham Accords. Employment for blacks and Hispanics was at an all-time high. He refused to continue suicidal trade agreements with China, and ended insane shipments of cash to our enemies in the Middle East. Russia most certainly would not have invaded Ukraine. He exposed the uniparty and total corruption of the Justice and State departments, as well as the un-elected bureaucratic control over American lives.
Just a few things the “useless bloke” did in office, despite the entire government, media, education, corporate, entertainment, and tech establishments working day an night to destroy him from the time he first announced his candidacy.
How many “simpletons” could manage that?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Vivek Ramaswamy – that’s the Putin fan-boy isn’t it?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I suggest you actually listen to what he has to say on the subject (see link above) before throwing around childish insults.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I suggest you actually listen to what he has to say on the subject (see link above) before throwing around childish insults.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

here is Vivek Ramaswamy
https://rumble.com/v2rhsba-june-1-2023.html

He has a future! I would love him to be Trump’s VP – now that would be a Ticket! Could just save the world.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

What did Trump actually achieve? Of all his campaign promises such as the wall what actually came into being except tax cuts for the wealthy? As much as I liked the fact he upset the status quo and he was horribly attacked by the media, the bloke was useless and a simpleton

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Vivek Ramaswamy – that’s the Putin fan-boy isn’t it?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I don’t think he is arguing for a different electoral system but for something different we can elect. The need for that is clear with so few people having any faith in out current politicians of all parties, however what is that something different?

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

There is no magic electoral system. Some forms of PR on the Continent that elect people from a national party slate encourage further distance from the electorate.
Having said that, creating multi-seat constituencies for Westminster would absolutely set the cat amongst the pigeons – the concept of a “safe” seat or any kind of Red or Blue wall would disappear. Governments would be far more representative of the electorate, especially if a Single Transferable Vote gave the people real leverage in applying their preferences to the local pool of candidates.
You would be more likely to see coalitions forming on a regular basis, which would mean that no single party political platform would be likely to be enacted in full, but the one thing you could guarantee in all the horse trading and compromise is that any grand bargains would be aimed at bringing as many people inside the tent as possible, rather than leaving them behind.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

You’re correct, but at least those other electoral systems allow for smaller parties to have influence, such as the recent gains by the Dutch Farmers. The current UK system is a shambles, whereby a party can win a majority on a third of the vote, and UKIP once polled around 12% but won a single seat out of 650.

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

Without a Donald Trump UK is lost – and I do not believe there is such a person. Not even a Desantis, or the real amazing Vivek Ramaswamy (he is Amazing! and running for Republican President) – AND on the Democrat side (in the worst interview ever conducted in any political interview – by Freddy, you can see him here)
RFK Jr. The man who still thinks truth matters and that the DC swamp is an alligator infested sewer, haha…Vivek Ramaswamy is a virtual disciple of RFK, but is on the other party – wild, two men on opposite sides, but both totally for America! Britain only has Politicians who hate UK.

In USA 4 Men who are 100% a thousand times better than anything UK has going. People who could yet save the world in its last cliff-hanging second.

Britian just has a Biden-Kamala level of leaders.

But then West Europe is an equally bad place.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I don’t think he is arguing for a different electoral system but for something different we can elect. The need for that is clear with so few people having any faith in out current politicians of all parties, however what is that something different?

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

There is no magic electoral system. Some forms of PR on the Continent that elect people from a national party slate encourage further distance from the electorate.
Having said that, creating multi-seat constituencies for Westminster would absolutely set the cat amongst the pigeons – the concept of a “safe” seat or any kind of Red or Blue wall would disappear. Governments would be far more representative of the electorate, especially if a Single Transferable Vote gave the people real leverage in applying their preferences to the local pool of candidates.
You would be more likely to see coalitions forming on a regular basis, which would mean that no single party political platform would be likely to be enacted in full, but the one thing you could guarantee in all the horse trading and compromise is that any grand bargains would be aimed at bringing as many people inside the tent as possible, rather than leaving them behind.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

The author of the article points out that a lot of the issues the UK is experiencing at the moment are also experienced in the rest of Europe. He then mentions that there should be some sort of change to Britain’s way of electing politicians to get out of said malaise. But what? All those other European countries which are having the same problems also have a plethora of different electoral systems.
So that doesn’t really suggest grounds for optimism that a new magical way of voting will unlock the wisdom of the people and bring about a renaissance of UK policy-making. Ultimately, unless there is some meat on the bone in his book that he isn’t mentioning, his program appears to be yet more of “something must be done! this is something! therefore, we should do it! Rah, national renewal, rah!”

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

In the run up to June 2016’s referendum I was undecided. For me we hadn’t completely turned the corner from the 2008 crash. I imagined if it all went ‘IMF’ we’d have some support from the EU. However I didn’t like our manufacturing being induced away by ‘favourable’ conditions. I didn’t like us being told what to do by unelected faceless bureacrats. Nor do a significant number of europeans.
I used to work in export sales. Europe was by far the worst world area to run. They ignored EU rules and not surprisingly protected their own work forces to our detriment while we typically followed the rules.
As the divorce unfolded it became bitter, personal. I’m still astounded at the barefaced lies and manipulation of stats the more rabid remainers came up with. Usually because of some lost business deal or access to holiday homes abroad.
It could have been friendly; gone our separate ways. Deliberate obstruction and ill feeling became the order of the day, sadly much from our own side. Did we punish our ex colonies? In fact we abandoned Africa with our liberal virtue, much to our shame.
Many’s the time I wished we’d stayed if only for access to a bolthole should socialism take hold here.
Of the bigger countries we had a better time with Covid. Europe isn’t setting a shining example over Ukraine, Dutch farming, African Free trade restrictions, the southern Med economies. Mad Merkel letting floods of immigrants in. Macron who thinks the Elysee Palace is the centre of the universe.
I doubt the EU want us back and I doubt we want the Euro. I’d prefer a Poland, Scandinavia, Baltic, North Sea axis coming over the horizon. Just keep the socialists out of the cockpit.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago