The Economics of Brexit

I am not an economist but simply listen to economists as they make their analyses and predictions. I do this because they are widely reported and hardly a day goes by without some learned person making some kind of prediction about our future prosperity. Continue reading

Immigrants and Attitudes

The attitude of the indigenous population of the United Kingdom towards immigrants is changing. In April, an Ipsos Mori survey found immigration was a concern for 11% of people – the lowest level since 2001. Concern reached its highest level in 2016 when the Brexit referendum was being held. Why the change? Continue reading

Demography Democracy and Gerrymandering

It seems to me that politicians arguing against Brexit do so because they cannot achieve their political aims by democracy as it exists in the United Kingdom but they can achieve their political aims by the rule of the European Union, if EU law over rides the law of these islands.

For example, we can look at the issue of environmental policy. The UK has generally adopted environmental policies that are not terribly helpful to the environment. The EU has apparently adopted slightly more helpful environmental policies. Therefore the political parties who favour more helpful to the environment policies prefer EU rule to the rule of a democratic United Kingdom. Therefore they are against Brexit because they cannot achieve their ends through the UK ballot box.

Certain politicians believe that the rights of employees should overwhelming prevail against the rights of employers. If the UK is left as a self governing nation there is a real risk that at some time in the future democracy through the elections at the ballot box will adversely change workers rights whereas they are confident that the EU, an autocratic bureaucracy, will be much less likely to do this, and so they are against Brexit.

There are other examples in areas of economic policy, taxation and laws. In essence those against Brexit generally oppose Brexit because they do not trust the voters of the United Kingdom to adhere to their favoured policies, but they can trust the EU or so they think.

Now the policies of those against Brexit may be marvelous or may be appalling. I do not make that judgment. The point I make is that it is for voters in a state to decide (more or less) what policies of what government the state should enact.

Those against Brexit are merely gerrymandering on a grand scale.They prefer to manipulate electoral boundaries so as to favour the rule of the EU over the democratically elected governments of the United Kingdom.

So democracy is out voted by an institution which really has no ideals other than economic ideals. The famous “four freedoms of the EU are all ones that we would not normally consider as freedoms at all. They are the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons within the EU. These are not what we traditionally think of as freedoms. We think of life, liberty, freedom of expression and freedom to elect those who govern us.  The four so called freedoms of the EU do no more than provide what large corporations and multinationals require – trading, finance and a work force. These so called freedoms are not to be enjoyed by those outside the EU. A freedom is a universal concept that should apply to everyone, not a local concept applying to members of a club.

Sovereignty of a nation is hard won. Many of the EU member states won their sovereignty as a result of sacrifices made by the United Kingdom and the United States. Others won their sovereignty as a result financial expenditure by the UK and the USA on defence, which ultimately wore out the old USSR.

The concept of sovereignty is an important one in a democratic context. If there is no sovereignty in a state there cannot be democracy there, and if there is no democracy then we as individuals cannot enjoy our individuality.

 

 

A People’s Vote: Fake Words

I am highly suspicious when words are misused by politicians and those lobbying for something. The latest example is the us of the phrase of “a people” vote”. These fake words are used by many politicians seeking a second referendum on the UK’s previous referendum about the European Union. It is as though the previous referendum was not a vote by people. Continue reading

Nobody Knows

The Brexit nonsense drags on. There is now an argument in which some claim that the government should disclose the detailed legal advice it has received about the legal effect of the proposed future basis of the UK’s relationship with the UK. The demands for such disclosure are being made most strongly by politicians who implacably oppose the “deal” so there seems little point in disclosing the advice.

Nevertheless, we must bear in mind another point. The whole of law is founded on the principle that nobody knows; Continue reading

Those who seek to lead us, teach us. 

Since the Brexit Referendum vote and the American General Election there has been a marked increase in racist name calling in many schools. I could understand the increase in racist name calling – children are often unkind to each other and policies about immigration on both sides of the debate were exaggerated and this presumably taught the parents and the children that racism is OK because the side who were portrayed (wrongly in my view) as racists won.

There has also been an increase in homophobic name calling since Brexit and the US election. Presumably the same principle applies – the person who was claimed to be homophobic and sexist won, and thus parents and children were taught that homophobic name calling is OK because Mr Trump won.

Those who seek to lead us teach us and many listen to their teachings and adopt their ideas. People often pick up not the ideas of the politicians but the false versions of those ideas promulgated by that politician’s opponent.

I do not believe that 31 million Americans who voted for Mr Trump belong in a basket of deplorables, any more than I believe that 52% of the UK’s populations are racists. The vast majority of Americans and of the British are decent principled people, however they may have voted.

 

What is Democracy?

Things are getting complicated. The results of democratic votes leave many people unsatisfied, as the votes electing Donald Trump as US President and those in favour of the UK leaving the European Union show. Those who are on the losing side of such votes try to reverse the votes by legal means, often offering up arguments that they would not countenance had they won the votes and the losers offered up those same arguments.

It has often been thus. In the USA, Mr Trump was repeatedly asked before the election whether he would accept the result of the vote. He said that the election was “rigged” and this statement brought howls of derision from his opponent and those supporting her, who claimed that democracy was threaten by such a viewpoint. Today those very people do not accept the results of the vote carried out in accordance with the rules set out in the constitution, yet that is democracy.

In the United Kingdom the result of the referendum is now going to be pored over by judges, who may well render the “leave” vote impracticable by their decision, any by the restrictions imposed by the courts may force the government to take actions which make its bargaining position untenable and thus alter the democratic votes’ effect.

We all have the right to disagree with democratically made decisions but we do not have the right to attempt to overturn them or render them nugatory, for if we do we deny the democratic process we deny our most important freedom. Democracy simply appeals to the lowest common denominator of interests so it will often provide results that those seeking to impose their own versions of what is in the interest of a nation will find repellent.

Democracy has been described as the least worse system of government. It exists because time and time again we see that dictators, tyrants and monarchs are not to be trusted. We deny it at our peril.