Friday, 29 April 2016

Sorry Nige. Just not that bothered about immigration.

Nigel Farage says to win the referendum we should say more about immigration. I'm finding this difficult because I don't hate foreigners that much. It's true I'm not overly fond of the French but leaving the EU doesn't fix that and I'm only suspicious of Jews and Muslims out of a more generic aversion to people with beards - which is why I am not overly fond of hipsters.

In fact, my general dislike of the species precludes any special treatment because of their geographic origins. As it happens I do have eastern European neighbours I can hear through the walls, but it's more the fact I can hear them at all that bothers me. To be honest, it's an improvement on the English bunch because I could hear every last word of their arguments and they were quite tedious things about the guy not having done any of the housework. At least with the new lot I can pretend they're having a fierce row over the origin of the universe.

More than that though, it's a dumb idea because this is not a referendum on immigration. No realistic scenario sees us ending freedom of movement. In many respects it existed before the EU and it isn't the cause of our immigration woes. The real problems are from people overstaying their visas and human rights rules that are in effect an open invite to extended family. This is nowt to do with the EU.

As it happens, those things will never be fixed while we are in the EU but the act of leaving does not address these matters of international law. The EU is in far too much of a stalemate to even correctly identify the constituent parts of the problem. But then I care far less about immigration than I once did. I live in the whitest suburb in all of England and it will still be that way in another hundred years.

I genuinely don't see how more people coming to the UK to work hard and set up businesses is a bad thing on balance. I'm told we should be reducing the number of people who intermarry and don't care about British society and refuse to respect our laws but I'm not sure if they mean foreigners or Tories.

In my view, if we want to reduce the number of people coming to Europe, we should probably pay greater attention to the reason they come. In that regard we should look at the EU's own disastrous trade policy, and its record of vandalising West Africa by allowing EU fishing boats to destroy marine habitats.

We might also want an independent trade and aid policy so that we can open up new markets in Africa. A targeted trade and aid policy is going to do more to reduce immigration and more to the point will turn out cheaper than heavily bureaucratising our economy just to control our borders. There is a lot to be said for foreign aid if we spend it directly instead of delegating it to the EU and global NGOs.

Come to think of it, since we will have to work hard to restore our global standing, I don't see us being anything other than outward looking if we leave the EU. We won't have a choice. We won't have the luxury of abdicating our trade missions to EU officials. I see us building alliances and working with any number of global partners in order to bring lesser developed countries up to the standards required by the global marketplace. Where they get the idea we will be isolated beats the hell out of me.

In this I don't identify with any of what Ukip has to say. I don't think foreign aid is bad, I'm not that bothered about immigration, and call me crazy but I'm not going to rail against having safety devices in cars for children. I don't hate the idea of international helicopter safety regulations either. In fact the only thing I have in common with Ukip is our common appreciation of the fact that the EU is not and never will be a democracy.

There is a big debate to be had about what shape our trade and aid policy will look like after Brexit. But the point is, by leaving the EU, we will actually have a trade and aid policy - and it will be us deciding what it looks like. Imagine that. British taxpayers being the ones deciding how their own money is spent. That would be something of a novelty wouldn't it?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The death of "polite" society is no bad thing.

Note that Skinner was thrown out of parliament not for what he said, but how he said it. That is Westminister culture through and through. One must at all times be polite. There is an unwritten code of conduct that the hacks and the politicians must never be directly unpleasant to each other in public. That is how politics remains sanitised and we see this politically correct minefield that all political communicators must be wary of. The product of this is the anodyne, visually inoffensive (until you get to know them) identikit politicos, from Umunna, Miliband, Hague, Kendall, Burnham, Cameron, Clegg and Blair.

The product of this is an ideas free politics, the consequences we are all familiar with. But this veneer of politeness engenders a culture of backstabbing behaviour and bullying behind the scenes - and it is visceral. It creates its own tribalism and from such tribalism comes political orthodoxies - where there are some ideas that are uncouth and impolite - one of them being the suggestion that we should leave the EU.

Amongst our political classes if you want to get ahead you must conform and ascribe to all of the fixed ideas and never challenge the orthodoxy - and if you do, you may only do it if you are polite about it and never criticise the vile and the repellent for being what they are. And since the only way to climb the greasy pole is to strip yourself of any political courage or principle we end up with a ruling class that will do or say anything to maintain their grip on power. And look at the double standard. It's fine to lie to the House of Commons about EU reform, just so long as you're polite.

Many of you will have seen in. Young little Toryboys attending all the right meetings, wearing the right tie, brushing their hair in a side parting, shaking hands with grubby old men, doing the right internships and then unsurprisingly they pop up as junior MPs a few years later. It's not about principle or even achieving anything. It is about achieving office for its own sake. To occupy the powerful offices for the sake of power. That's how we end up with lying sociopaths like Boris Johnson, and its why the party activist base is a nest of bullying that sees the young ones bullied and pushed out to the point of suicide. Plenty enter broke, but few do not leave the Commons without having accumulated a million or so.

What you absolutely mustn't do is say what you think. Their motto is "To be something, say nothing". And that's ultimately what this referendum is about. All of the snot nosed Toryboy brats (al both parties) all insist we are stronger, safer and better off inside the EU. The established order must be protected at all costs. After all, there must be places to go after one is thrown out of office.

And so a victory for the Remain side is a victory for the authoritarians, the corrupt, the patronising, the bullying, the snobbish and the cowardly. They who we call polite society. For them, including the people running the establishment Vote Leave campaign, it's not what you say, but how you say it. But even then, if you are saying something they don't want to know, assuming themselves to be God's gift to politics, they are deaf to all outsiders.

Miliband today has said he is concerned that Brexit could upset the international order. What he means by that is that it will break the cosy consensus of the EU, the IMF and the G20. He's right. It will, it should, and it's about time. But it will also break the cosy little Westminster consensus. It will break up the the little club for those who feel entitled to office and prestige. This very much is an us vs them vote. It's why this of all votes in our lifetime is the only vote likely to change anything.

But there's also a warning here. These parasites are living on borrowed time. They know their cosy little bubble is under threat. They know they are living on borrowed time. Sooner or later there is bound to be a democratic correction. And it will see the lot of them thrown out and it won't be pretty and it will be very damaging and it probably will see us pull out of the EU acrimoniously and at short notice.

So you have one chance to have a painless revolution. This is it. If you vote to remain, you are voting in support of an intellectually and morally bankrupt system that is eviscerating democracy and destroying growth. More to the point, they are cancer eating away at the spirit of the nation. If you think things are toxic now, just wait until after June when nothing has been resolved and the pathetic, toadying opposition fail to offer any ideas or meaningful change.

In fact, it's a win win for me. If Leave wins the referendum, we get that revolution in governance and we get meaningful change. If remain wins, I'll get to see British voters getting the shit government they will rightly deserve, and all the misery that goes with it. I won't be shy in saying I told you so.

I think it's about time we stopped being polite and started calling these bastards out for what they are. To vote leave is to do what Skinner has done. To call them crooks to their faces and rightly walk out in disgust. For us though, there is something better on the other side of the door.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Brexit dream team

It is my view that this referendum is winnable. The EU is not a loved institution. About 40 per cent will always vote to leave. The battleground is over the middle ground who only marginally dislike the EU but don't hate it with a passion.

The job of the Leave campaign is to present a credible front. It must show that is has an idea of what it wants, how to get it and must have credible ambassadors. It must show the public that Brexit has tangible benefits, believable rhetoric that doesn't take them for fools and it must reassure them that their jobs and financial interests are not in danger. It will have to put forth a set of messages that can win the confidence of opinion formers and columnists.

With that in mind, you wouldn't put a doddering old has-been on the TV to say that the single market wasn't important and that Brexit would mean border checks in Northern Ireland. Nor would you have a blonde haired buffoon fronting your campaign saying we could replace road haulage regulation with "good old fashioned British common sense". Nor would you have said individual promoting a Brexit plan entirely at odds with the official campaign.

Nor would you suggest unilateral withdrawal. Most of all, you wouldn't respond to legions of impressive sounding diplomats and economists by saying "I'm sure we would have some sort of free trade deal". It's not compelling.

Nor would you make savings of chump change your central campaign message. You certainly wouldn't send out MPs who largely don't like the NHS with leaflets claiming we will save billions - and that we will spend that money on the NHS.

You wouldn't patronise voters like that.

Being it a people's campaign you would seek to present other voices and front real experts rather than largely disliked fringe politicians. You would want to make use of the thriving Brexit blogosphere and find ways to include them.

Obviously you would find some intelligent campaign managers and strategists to ensure those mistakes were not made. We are very lucky indeed. Not only do we have the genius of Dominic Cummings and Matthew Elliott, we also have another campaign. One that cosies up to people who quite obviously despise muslims and would like nothing more than to end freedom of movement - and care more about that than anything else. How can that possibly hurt?

And to have the support of Breitbart is just the icing on the cake. After all, Pegida are exactly the sort of people we would want associated with us. With this kind of dream team we can't possibly lose. But we might actually lose because of those howwid people over at who say mean things about them. They are undermining the cause.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

No, we cannot uniilaterally wthdraw from the EU

There are those who believe we can leave the EU unilaterally, saying that we can repeal the European Communities Act. I could cry when people say this. Firstly, what do they think would happen to our credit rating by pulling out unilaterally? Secondly, Eurosceptics are right. The EU is not just a trade bloc. It is so much more. It is integrated at nearly every level of government.

We have cooperation agreements ranging from food safety, counterfeit goods, Europol, air traffic control, fisheries protection, coastguard cooperation, you name it. Some of these agreements are pegged to EU membership. By unilaterally ending our membership without negotiating a settlement, all of these agreements cease to apply the moment the repeal bill passes into law.

That means trucks have to go through different customs procedures, must submit to spot checks and in some cases be directed to entirely different ports. All of this upsets long established procedures and causes absolute chaos. If you wanted to make sure all of the Brexit scares came true, this is what you would do.

This notion that the EU would come to the table at our command is a little optimistic. If we elect to leave the single market as well as the EU, the EU erects tariff barriers, not out of spite, but because it has a common external tariff. That's just the legal default.

The EU has a common external tariff that it must apply to all non-EEA members. If we match it in reciprocation, under non-discrimination rules, we have to impose tariffs on all our other trading partners. That creates havoc, so we end up not imposing tariffs on the EU while they impose tariffs on us.

We could negotiate a "free trade deal" but a simple agreement on tariffs doesn't even begin to settle issues surrounding non-tariff barriers and if we wanted a comprehensive deal then the EU would have conditions tilted in its own favour. Moreover, the likelihood of such being concluded inside two years are nil. We may leave the EU but if we want the same favourable access to the single market then we will have to stay in the EEA.

This is why we will leave the EU via Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty and this is why we will keep the single market and this is why for the time being we will continue with freedom of movement. It is suboptimal but it's better than being in the EU. That's going to piss a lot of hard-liners off who want to leave the EU in a single bound and pay nothing into the budget. That's just fucking tough.

They may not like the fact that it does not get us all the way out of the EU and the single market but at the very least it ensures trade is not affected in any way. That kills nearly all of the scares stone dead - not least because our academic cooperation and security agreements remain in place. Unless we can guarantee continuity of trade there is no way we can persuade people to vote to leave anyway since their jobs might be on the line so I have absolutely no idea why anybody proposes unilateral withdrawal.

The fact is, if we want to join the global trading community we will have to do it in stages. It took forty years to go in and it will take almost as long to get out. You go out the way you came in rather than heading for the emergency exit when the house is not on fire.

But as much as that means we won't be losing any jobs or seeing the sacrifice of the firstborn, it also means we won't be saving billions to spend on the NHS. These are the childish fantasies of Tory free marketeers in the Leave campaign who ironically would abolish the NHS given half the chance.

There is only one way to do this. Slowly and carefully. If you are not prepared to preach that message get used to staying in the EU because this "slam the door shut" nonsense is absolutely repellent to swing voters and there is not a cat in hell's chance business will support it. Without reassuring business and the public, there is simply no way to get out from under the dead hand of supranationalism - and bugger all chance of ever seeing democracy in our lifetimes.