Wednesday 22 July 2015

We need our parliament back in control

In recent years we've even seen some of the more enlightened Marxist types embrace capitalism as the system that delivers for the poor. The battle between socialism and capitalism is over. Capitalism is what brings those massive container ships in every day, bringing more and better goods, ever cheaper.

Trade brings peace, liberty and prosperity. The global elites are all agreed on one thing. More trade with fewer barriers is better for everyone. They are right. And as much as some like to complain about DfID, and god knows I do, they are doing some incredible work building roads and ports in Tanzania, Tunisia and Botswana. It is also connecting those places where the Arab Spring fermented. Their goods will now get to market and the world will get to them.

But trade is only as good as the supply chains and supply chains work best with regulation. It's good for them, it's good for us. It makes for buyer confidence and reduces waste. Regulatory convergence is a greater cost to trade than border tariffs. So there is a global effort to bring about more regulatory convergence. That is what TTIP is mainly about.

There is no question that what they have in mind is in principle a good thing, but the processes by which it comes about - and the levels of accountability are scaring the horses. The world is ready for more trade but even small regulatory changes have massive cultural and economic effects and there are winners and losers each time.

What is missing is the necessary debate and forewarning. Much of what is done in the name of improving trade is never studied for its potential impact and the people are never asked for their permission. Thus the debate for our century is how we bring about the benefits of globalisation while giving the people a say in it. A system that progress without the understanding or consent of its people can only end up on the rocks.

That is why we need to leave the EU. The trade deals like TTIP are a decoy to an extent. It's the deals made between the giant regulatory agencies we need to pay more attention to - and our own parliament should be scrutinising our activities in those places rather than ruminating over the contents of children's lunchboxes. The outsourcing of trade as a competence to the EU has cheapened and infantilised our politics and the consequence is that we take on board regulation even our own government is blissfully unaware of.

Even downing Street was caught out by the realisation they signed up to a budget escalator. They didn't see it coming because such agreements are rarely scrutinised. Our politicians deal with the easy and the highly visible. Why trade is an exclusive competence of the EU, it lacks visibility and debate. It is wholly neglected by our media which is why our media is equally asinine.

Globalisation is good. Trade is good. But homogenisation and democracy free managerialism is a growing concern - and that should be the preoccupation of our own ministers and MP's - not the grunting lunatics we end up appointing as members of the European Parliament as a protest. It is far too important.

By leaving the EU, we shorten the chain of accountability and revitalise our media and parliament. The real politics is happening elsewhere which is why our politics keeps going over old trivial ground. If we want politics of substance, we shall have to take back those adult responsibilities we have abdicated.

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