Friday, 23 June 2017

Brexit One Year On. Soft Brexit? No Brexit!

Today marks the first anniversary of the UK's Brexit Referendum.  Formal negotiations to leave the EU started earlier this week.

I've just been listening to Theresa May's press conference about her proposal for EU citizens in the UK.  There was also a phone-in to the LBC radio station where several callers were saying they had either switched from Leave to Remain, or were more fervent advocates of Remain.

The negotiations have already highlighted just how difficult, distracting, costly and time-consuming leaving the EU will be.  Also how the "Project Fear" economic predictions of last year are coming true,

People argue that the General Election, when the Tories lost seats, was a vote for a softer Brexit.  That is to remain in the Single Market, like Norway, and/or the Customs Union, like Turkey.

Let's take it a stage further. Let's call the whole Brexit thing off.  No Brexit.  Now.


"BUT IT'S THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE!"  I HEAR YOU SHOUT

The Referendum vote was 17,410,742 Leave to  16,141,241 Remain, with 12,948,018 registered voters abstaining (of which some 25,000 spoilt their ballot papers). Only 37.4% actually voted to Leave, and only 635 thousand of those switching to Remain would have swayed the vote the other way.  It was a major mistake not to set the Leave bar as 50% of the electorate, rather than 50% of those voting.

The £350 million a week for the NHS on the side of the bus was arguably enough to swing the vote.  That wasn't the only lie or half-truth of the campaign.  Both sides were at fault.  (Though Liam Fox will tell you that people weren't "hoodwinked", according to his interview in the Sunday Telegraph 26th June,)

The bus was the most blatant lie. The annual cost to the UK was agreed before the referendum as a third of the amount, yet the bus was still used prominently, with little contradiction by the media.  But more importantly, that assumed no economic impact, positive or negative.  Suffice to say there will be not even a penny extra for the NHS according to current predictions.

Nor will food prices be going lower any time soon, as Leave promised.  Food price inflation is rising from:
  • Firstly a lot of our food is imported, purchased in foreign currency.  There has been a Brexit-induced deterioration in the Pound's exchange rate against currencies such as the Euro and US dollar. 
  • Secondly expected rises in pay for the lower grades of staff on farms and the food supply chain as cheap labour from the continent dries up.  Strawberries are forecast to be 50% more expensive next summer.  Now that really is shooting the UK in the foot!

So I prefer the expression "The Deception of the People".  In the circumstances the resulting majority was not sufficient to have any authority.


BUT WHAT IT THE RESULT HAD BEEN AUTHORITATIVE?

Wouldn't it would be silly to say the result was an instruction from the British People without any further opportunity to comment?  Some people suggest a second referendum.  But that would mean the EU would provide a worse deal in the hope it would be rejected.

There must be further opportunity to comment.  It is better to regard the referendum as a "starting gun" on leaving the EU, not authority to leave at any cost.

Given the UK can opt to remain, we should be questioning the wisdom of leaving the EU at every stage until the UK actually has a deal for which it is worth leaving.  As the EU have made it clear that a deal for the UK cannot be as good as being a member, as that would result in other countries wanting to leave, the chances of a good deal are virtually nil.  And "No Deal" is clearly worse than a bad deal.  That would mean falling off an economic cliff, not least because the new IT systems required could not be put in place in time.

With that in mind, it is only a matter of time before public opinion clearly turns against Brexit.  People are already realising they are worse off, and getting worse.  They will also realise the transition is stopping the country operating as normal.  The risk is thousands of jobs in the City will go to Frankfurt, with consequent loss of tax revenues.  That's just one example of many.

Before the UK shoots both feet off, let's call Brexit off!


SO WHY HAS EACH MAJOR PARTY SAID THE REFERENDUM RESULT WAS VALID?

A commercial business advertising its products has to do so in accordance with the Advertising Standards Board mantra of "Legal, honest, truthful and decent" and protecting "the interests of the audience".

Political advertisements and statements do not need to comply.  This is for a number of reasons as stated here..  There are no alternative standards that do apply. The result is that all the major political parties have stretched the truth to a greater or lesser extent in electoral campaigns in recent years. The referendum was more extreme, but the established political parties have to say the result was legitimate, otherwise they would be two-faced.

The Just Party, however, does not carry that historical baggage.  We can say it as it is.  The referendum was "The Deception of the People".


STATUS OF THE ARTICLE 50 NOTIFICATION

The formal notification of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU was made under article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.   This had to be done in accordance with the Constitution of the country wishing to leave. It is now argued that the UK Government took a short cut, there should have been another Act of parliament, and the notification was therefore not valid.  However putting the extra Act in place would be an easy solution to that problem.

In any case the leaders of both Germany and France, amongst others in the EU, have said the UK is welcome to withdraw the notification at any time. Apart from any other reason, the UK has been a net contributor of funds to the EU.of around 150 million euros a week.  They really don't want to lose the UK.

The sooner the notification is withdrawn the better.  No Brexit.


WHY?

Wanting "No Brexit" is  not because the EU is the best thing since sliced bread  Far from it. The Euro in particular is a disaster, set up to fail as many predicted at its creation.  Set up in the wrong way, and fudged to let Greece and other weaker countries in.  How the Greeks have suffered since.  Their plight is still threatening to bring the Euro down, with a new rescue deal in only this last week.

One can be "Eurosceptic" without being outright "Europhobic".  To want to Remain, whilst still being highly critical of the EU and its institutions.  In fact there are very few in the UK who are strong EU supporters.

David Cameron did his best to get a better deal from the EU.  The next step isn't to leave but to persevere.

The reason is simple.  The economic consequences of leaving could be disastrous. "It's the economy stupid" didn't hit home with voters as well as VoteLeave's "Let's Take Back Control".  We'll look at the economy in a minute.  But of course with 'Control' it's not as simple as made out:
  • Control of immigration of non-EU personnel has meant net immigration higher than the total target including EU personnel.  No effective control there currently. 
  • A 'hard' or 'soft' Brexit will mean no longer having any direct influence over the regulations under which we will need to trade with the EU.  Hardly control!
Then take sovereignty.  The ultimate badge of sovereignty is for a country to have its own currency, not linked to any other.  That is the current position with the pound.  If the UK leaves the EU but finds it wants to rejoin, it will inevitably be forced to adopt the Euro.  Given the comments about the Euro above, this would be foolish. The only sensible approach is to keep the UK's advantages under the current membership arrangements with the EU by remaining in the EU.


BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY?

So ignoring economic factors, the conclusion is that leaving  the EU is a bad idea.  How about the "sunny uplands" promised by VoteLeave last year?

Their idea is that by leaving  the Customs Union, the UK can  negotiate its own trade deals with countries that don't yet have a deal with the EU.  Australia, New Zealand, India and others, mainly with strong historical associations with the UK. That's all well and good.  But not if that is at the cost of a bigger drop in trade with the EU.  That's the risk.

Domestically, we already have rising food price inflation, as mentioned above.  Translating that into higher overall official inflation indeces, and there will need to be big rises in the Government's payroll and pensions bill.  Where's the extra money going to come from?

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has said the economic forecasts which they are using will be poor.  Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has said the same.  There is a net economic cost to Brexit..

Lower economic activity means less tax receipts, not more.  Less money. More cuts to public services.  Exactly what the hard right of the Tory party want, with a smaller state.  No wonder they are so keen to leave the EU.

APPLICABILITY TO THE JUST PARTY

The Just Party believes it is in the best interests of the country:
  1. To have a Thriving Economy
  2. To provide the funds to be a Caring Society
Clearly Brexit risks the economy and therefore threatens the Caring Society.  Brexit therefore is counter to The Just Party's objectives.  Our only logical position is to be anti-Brexit.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 If you agree that Brexit must be stopped, and quickly:
  1. Spread the word that Brexit must be stopped, for the reasons above and many more
  2. Encourage people to join The Just Party
  3. Make a donation to The Just Party funds
  4. Encourage your MP, to defect to The Just Party if you know they are moderate and do not believe in Brexit
  5. Encourage local councillors to do the same
It is our objective to represent "the many not the few" by creating a new centrist party.from the moderate wings of the Labour and Tory parties. Let's do it!




No comments:

Post a comment