Saturday, 8 September 2018

The Phony war is ending



We are in something of a phony war situation at the moment. MPs have been on holiday for a while now, but soon they will have their conferences and then they will be back to work. Between now and next March something momentous is going to happen one way or the other, but it hasn’t happened yet and no-one can predict with any accuracy what will happen.

Troops of 51st Highland Division march over a drawbridge into Fort de Sainghain
on the Maginot Line 3 November 1939

 Just when you think that the Labour Party can’t sink any lower it does. I have always opposed Labour. I disagree with collectivism and I think it is disastrous both economically and morally to seek equality of outcome. Eventually it will inevitably lead to us all being less prosperous and less free. But I can recognise in history that Labour has been led by decent people that Labour supporters, while honestly disagreeing with people like me, were sincere and wanted what was best for Britain. We could in the past trust Labour to run the country for a few years without completely wrecking or shaming it. We no longer can.

What will it take for moderate Labour MPs to leave and for moderate Labour supporters to stop supporting? I honestly don’t know. If you really are content to remain in the same party as a Marxist, Anti-Semite who supports terrorism, then by all means see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, but what does that make you?

We desperately need an opposition worthy of the name, because at some point fairly soon the Conservative Party are going to be kicked out by the voters. There has to be a viable alternative. If a new moderate centre left party is to be created, better to do it soon. It could be called for instance “New Labour” and all the moderate Labour MPs could join with the Lib Dems. They would then be the opposition. Their leader would stand at the dispatch box every week. It just might be that the Corbynistas would be deserted and could go back to selling their Socialist Worker newspapers on street corners. We would then at least be safe from the threat of left-wing extremism.

If the Conservatives fail in their mission to deliver Brexit, I’m not at all sure there will be a Conservative Party. Chequers has been overwhelmingly rejected by Conservative supporters. We want a clean Brexit. We don’t want to be half in and half out. Now is the moment to decide if we can get a clean break. There is no point whatsoever parking Britain in the EEA even if that were possible. All this does is postpone the decision for a few years and perhaps forever. The benefits of Brexit require that we leave completely. Either we grasp them now, or we don’t.

The problem of course is that the Conservatives have a leader whose only obvious quality is stubbornness, a cabinet that is divided and with a significant rump of MPs who are willing to vote against the Conservative manifesto. Parliament as a whole does not reflect the electorate as a considerable majority of MPs voted to Remain.

The possible outcomes are:

1. No deal.

2. Chequers (perhaps with more concessions to the EU).

3. A deal similar to Norway’s.

4. A deal similar to Canada’s.

5. A second referendum.

6. Extending the Article 50 time limit perhaps to infinity.

There are supporters for all of these options, but which of them can get through Parliament? Not only this, which of them would be acceptable to the EU?

Chequers would destroy the Conservative Party even as it is. If still further concessions were made to the EU it would destroy the Conservative Party even more. It is pointless anyway as it wouldn’t last. Either a future Pro EU Government would turn it into full EU membership or a future Pro Leave Government would turn it into leaving completely. So once more it is just putting off the evil day.

Furthermore it is not in the EU’s interest to forever have a Britain half in and half out. They are not going to be able to reach their goal of ever closer union if Britain continually tries to thwart that goal. Pro EU people in the UK are going to have to accept that Remaining entails accepting European integration. That means joining the Euro and Schengen. If you want to Remain, then help the EU achieve a united Europe. If you don’t want to help, then don’t hinder them and the best way not to hinder them is to leave. The Norway option and EEA are for countries preparing to join the EU, not for countries leaving. We are going to have to weather a storm no matter what we do. There is no point staying in port when the task is to cross an ocean to the rest of the world.

A trade deal like Canada’s would be fine except for the fact that according to the EU it would require Northern Ireland to remain in the Custom’s Union while the UK the other parts of the UK were out. This is a purely manufactured problem. It is obvious that the EU just doesn’t want us to have this option.    They don’t want it, because it would work well and wouldn’t sufficiently punish Britain and thereby discourage others from leaving the EU. No-one seriously thinks that anyone is going to erect fences in Ireland no matter what happens. Even If there is “no deal”, there won’t be a manned border, simply because no-one wants or will man it. We are then in the absurd situation of this border preventing us reaching a mutually beneficial deal, even though if we fail to make a deal it won’t be a problem. If the EU changes on this issue then a Canada style deal is still possible, if it doesn’t it isn’t.

We are pretty much left with “no deal” a second referendum or extending Article 50, which amounts to remaining in the EU without having to win a second referendum.

At the moment there isn’t a majority for “no deal”, but does there need to be?  Only time will tell. If Parliament is deadlocked do we just leave the EU with no deal anyway in March 2019?

Is there a majority to pass a bill authorising a second referendum? But which party has a mandate for such a referendum? Both the Government and Opposition promised in their last manifestos to deliver Brexit. How would a bill for such a referendum get through Parliament if the Government refuses to initiate it? Anyway there just isn’t time to have a second referendum between now and March.

If I were a Scottish nationalist I would be very careful about voting a for a second referendum on the EU. The precedent would be clear that if ever there were a close vote for independence, then Pro UK people would be allowed to complain that we didn’t like the vote and that we wanted a “people’s vote” either to reject independence or to reject the terms of the divorce agreement with the UK. This would mean that Scottish nationalists would have to win two referendums before they could claim to have won at all.

So what is going to happen? My guess is that we are going to get a last minute Canada style deal or else we are going to get no deal at all. The Remainers will continue their bitter rearguard, but there are very few ideologically Pro EU people in Britain. The majority of Remain support is pragmatic. The number of British people who favour a United States of Europe where the UK used the Euro and was part of Schengen, must be tiny. Eventually we are all going to have to accept that this is the choice. Either be Eurofederalist or else leave the EU. That finally is the choice that the EU will offer Britain. For this reason the EU wants to punish us, but they also want us to leave or else remain on Eurofederalist terms.

There isn’t a natural majority for Eurofederalism in the UK. Even if Remainers succeeded in delaying Article 50 and even if they won a second referendum on remaining, it would simply delay the point at which the British people realised that remaining in a EU intent on becoming a single united nation state was untenable. For this reason Britain’s only long term option is to leave the EU. Better to do it now completely or else we will just have to go through the same process a few years from now.

38 comments:

  1. Awesome. The Tories need to stop throwing away the right wing/centre-right base to try and appease left wingers & London Marxists though. It wont work and will cost them.

    Just BE AN ALTERNATIVE TO LEFTISM.

    But May and the Tory establishment's globalist owners wont allow it.

    he is as far right as elite want anything to be.

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    1. I DO like 'congent'!

      That said, there is a certain logic to the above disquisitons.

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    2. It would make a great deal of sense for the Tories to support (discreet ly!) a split in the main Opposition party. This was highlt efficaious with the Unionists, National Labour, and the SDP, and, with the help of the SDP successor body, bore fruit yet again in 2015.

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    3. A particularly outstanding category error is not the description of a multuniinational polity such as the United Kingdom as a 'nation-state', but the notion that an international treaty organization such as the European Union might ever aspire to become one. However, I shall not pursue this line of error since I have indicated an intention to examine that which is *logical* in this week's intervention.

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    4. Very sensible not to countenance a popular vote on whatever terms may be agreed. As the tide turning against Brexit runs ever faster, granting a voice to the electorate could scupper the whole enterprise.

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    5. Come to think of it, why wait until next year? Since the object of the exercise would seem to be to inflict the maximum economic,social, and political disruption this side of the Channel, why not tear up all those irksome 'pieces of paper' and start disregarding the UK's international obligations*now*?

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    6. The logical inference of all this is to enquire how far the Tories will go in pursuit of permanent power. Bearing in mind the gravamen of Lord Carson's maiden speech to the House of Lords, and their strategy of playing the perfectly proper anti can't I semitism card just as they once played the Orange card, what steps do they contemplate taking as part of this strategy?

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  3. oh no, not this NONSENSE gin! (Sorry, for my trocius spelling s severl keys on my computer don't ork) Hilst I don't gree ith much, if nything, of ht Lbour stnds for, neither Mr Corbyn NOR his prty is remotely genuinely 'nti-semitic'. They re nti-ZIONIST nd oppose Isrel's existence (s some Jes lso do) or don't pprove of the Isreli government's ctions. Effie, mny Jes don't like NY form of critisism of them or their behvior by gentiles nd immeditely cll you n 'nti-semite' if you do this so this needs to be knokledged.

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  4. Excellent Brexit-astrology from Effie deans. She and I are the only 2 commenters I have seen who say there is not now enough time for a 2nd ref. It has to be before the end of Sept for weather reasons and needs 2 months to organise. Go figure !

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  5. Labour have said they will vote against any brexit deal. Presumably the SNP will do the same. So if there is even a small rebellion in the conservative party, it will scupper the deal and bring down the government. We could see a general election in the new year and a Corbyn led government, possibly involving SNP MPs.

    If that happens, brexit is finished. I suppose the only comfort would be that indy would be finished as well. I am more than prepared to take that and call it a win!

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    1. Union uber alles...Aldo spends months wanting and demanding Brexit but prefers London rule over anything.

      This is the problem with bowing down to London, they change their direction to match the prevailing wind. Thus you look like a fish flip flopping.

      As an example, how many unionists voted Remain, yet overnight they became hardened Brexiteers, including Aldo.

      Yet here we are now saying oohh well if it gets kicked into the long grass that's fine....

      No retrospective guilt about damage done to the country or to the economy...Lets be clear , none of the lost jobs are coming back...

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    2. Although Brexit, according to your reasoning, would certainly be finished, you do not explain how this would finish independence. Non sequitur: wishful thinking does not constitute an argument.

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    3. A socialist government + SNP involvement in that government + an end to brexit means that the wind would be well and truly taken out of the sails of the nationalist movement Simon.

      RM, it's simply a matter of priorities. I want to leave the EU but breaking up the UK is too high a price to pay. Sadly, had all of the UK been able to pull together here and display a bit of backbone, then I think that a great success could have been made of brexit. But, as usual, people are weak and can't see beyond the end of their own nose. This attitude will cost us dear!

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    4. This, Aldo, is a repetition of what you have already said. Please explain to us *why* you think this is the case.

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    5. Okay then. Having a Corbyn-led Labour government satisfies those in Scotland who only support independence as a route to socialism and who had abandoned the idea of the UK ever again electing a socialist government. If they can get their socialism at UK level, they will be less likely to seek separation.

      It is unlikely that Jeremy Corbyn can rule alone. The SNP still holds that old collection of seats that used to always go to Scottish Labour. So we could well see a Labour/SNP alliance or coalition. That immediately puts paid to the notion that Scotland doesn't have a voice.

      Finally, brexit is the pretext behind the current push for independence. Remove or water down brexit and you remove that reason.

      Did I really need to explain all that?

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    6. Furthermore, one can well imagine a situation where the SNP tries to drag Corbyn to the right because his policies are too radical even for them. That will go down like a bucket of cold sick in Scotland, where the more left wing you are, the more virtuous you are.

      All hypothetical at the moment. But I sense this tory government is not long for this world. They can't agree on the colour of sh1t and they have no majority. It's only a matter of time, surely.

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    7. Thank you, Aldo, for stating some of the assumptions on which your prognosis is based. What do you believe that what you call the socialist programme of a Corbyn-led UK government would entail? What would its effects be on Scotland?

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    8. Increased spending. Nationalisation of key industries. Many of the changes would be England and Wales only but we'd benefit from any extra spending by way of adjustments to the block grant and any policies that were seen to be successful down south, the SNP would be under pressure to copy up here.

      I should point out I am not a socialist. I am very much a conservative. I believe in free markets and personal responsibility and personal liberty. But I do see the usefulness in a temporary burst of socialism if it A) halts the march towards Scottish independence, and B) ultimately fails thereby proving, again, that socialism doesn't work.

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    9. Thank you for that elucidation, Aldo. If I read you rightly, you say that an alliance between the main national party and a main unionist party would at first produce beneficial results. The relationship between two such parties would ex hypothesi be unstable from the outset. They have certain very contradictory aims. The relationship could very easily break down at any point. What, in your view, would be the likely outcome were this relationship to come to an end before Scotland had begun to benefit in the way you describe above?

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    10. I think people in Scotland, including many SNP supporters, would be looking for the SNP to do everything it could to make the relationship work. This would be a left wing Labour government - the first since 1979. Most people in Scotland would be naturally predisposed to it and wish it well. I think if it were to fall due to SNP political shenanigans then Scottish people would be very angry indeed.

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    11. Thank you, Aldo, for that elucidation. From it arise two questions:
      What is the likely outcome if the relationship works well?
      What if the relationship breaks down for reasons not attributable to the Scottish Government?

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    12. A more egalitarian society, I expect? Not that I think that's something we should be aiming for necessarily, but Labour and SNP supporters would seem to think so.

      If the partnership breaks down because of something Labour did then it could work in the SNP's favour, but I suspect that most of the skullduggery would be coming from the Scot Nats. They'll want the government to fail of course - but they can't just blatantly sabotage it as they will enrage a large section of their own base in doing so.

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    13. I see that you attribute greater political skill to the Scottish Government than to the British Opposition. The fact that the former have been the Government for some years now, and that the latter have been the Opposition for so long, would tend to confirm the accuracy of your view.
      Given this, on what particular issues do you think it would be tactically advantageous for the Scottish Government to wrong-foot their UK counterparts?

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    14. I do not think the far left is as big in Scotland now as it was before.....There is lots of evidence of this.

      I think for many, through poor politics by him and just through long term exposure to the idea of independence that Independence is becoming a better choice than Labour...I doubt those Labour voters are going back.

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    15. Hard core unionist Labour supporters will flip to Tory as we have seen. In itself a bizarre trend. However exposure to Aldo shows us there are a group of people who will do anything to retain the UK. Regardless of the fallout attached to this. Its quite quaint in its evoluton.

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    16. I don't think they are necessarily more skilled than anyone else Simon, just more sneaky. They have to be. If they were up front and honest they'd never get independence.

      RM, if you'll cast your mind back to 2007 and 2011, you'll remember that the SNP won by positioning themselves to the left of Labour. It was the promise - and delivery - of free stuff that allowed them to gain power. They then polarised the country with the indyref and cemented that power. But keep in mind how they fought the indyref - by promising a utopian, socialist country - and 45% of the population lapped it up. Of the remaining 55%, at least half of them would have voted for it too but for the fact they can do maths.

      The left is still very much entrenched in Scotland RM. Perhaps not in the borders or rural parts - but very much so in the central belt and particularly in Glasgow.

      Going to extremes to defend the UK isn't bizarre RM when you consider it to be your country and you can do maths.

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    17. Thank you, gentlemen.
      Aldo, what Labour policies in particular do you consider too left-wing for the SNP?

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    18. Well, we'll have to wait and see Simon. Labour wont reveal much of their agenda until they are in government.

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  6. I would to some degree agree with Aldo as it slows down the requirement/immediate demand for independence.

    There needs to be a flip of people from No to Yes. A subset of those who voted NO did so to stay in the EU. Interestingly SNP voters now polling at only 10% to exit EU. Some polls show around 1 in 3 voted Brexit.... This is likely reflected in others.

    Essentially Brexit is the Anvil to shape a stronger argument to exit the UK, staying in the EU drove the No vote. It can also drive the Yes vote now.

    Its not like London to shoot itself in the foot regarding pseudo colonies....

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  7. If the UK exits the EU badly and Scotland votes to exit the UK there will in my view be huge fractions in the relationship. The London political classes will then throw all the ills of England onto the EU and Scotland.....It will not be pretty.

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    1. It's already less than comely. Some of the people now calling themselves Tories (on whom Disraeli or Macmillan would have set the dogs) are already panicking, and that very badly. All decent people must make every effort to remain calm, and to refuse to respond to provocation.

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  8. "I suspect that most of the skullduggery would be coming from the Scot Nats."

    This from a Tory given the current levels of backstabbing going on in their party and the dirty tricks being thrown at the devolved governments. Maybe you forget you are in bed with the DUP.

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  9. A coalition made necessary by the British people in their infinite wisdom.

    In a few months it could well be Labour in bed with the SNP. That's the situation I was speculating about. In those circumstances the tories would be irrelevant.

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  10. I cannot see the Tories' *ever* being irrelevant. Were they our of office and facing a Labour-SNP coalition, to what lengths would they go to regain power?

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    1. By the way, when Effie declares the drĂ´le de guerre to be close to its end, I am not suggesting for a moment that anybody intereprets this as an intention by her party to re-enact that exciting episode in April 1914!

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  11. Utter nonsense regarding the EEA as a stepping stone to EU membership, if so how come Norway and Iceland have been in the EU for a quarter of a century or more. It's an alternative to EU membership not a stepping stone to it.
    The precursor to EU membership is an Association Agreement by the way, which has been used by all recent entrants to the EU.
    Effie's second argument is that it's half in and would thwart the EU in it's ambitions is ridiculous, the only way to remain in the EEA would be to join EFTA so as to transfer UK membership of the EEA from the EU to EFTA as being in EU or EFTA is required to have an EEA agreement. So the UK would have no ability to thwart the EU. It's just made up nonsense because she has no real argument against the EEA.
    The reason Effie needs a hard Brexit is that her entire motive for Brexit is to remove the independence in the EU option from the SNP. While I sympathise with wanting to destroy the separatists plans this is not the way to go about it. Effie is perfectly happy to see hundreds of thousands lose their livelihoods, they would be casualties of war or collateral damage whichever you prefer. The UK would suffer long term economic damage with it's only option being to race to the regulatory bottom and cut taxes to boost it's attractiveness. This is not the future I want for the UK.

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