Brexit: Pulling the Signal Out of the Noise

Many pundits were caught as flat-footed as the traders and politicians who’d assumed Remain had a safe margin of victory. As reader Clive observed:

I’ve been watching the TV coverage to get my fill of MSM reaction. And what you say of [Gillian] Tett [of the Financial Times is typical of what Lambert rightly labels the credentialed class — that 5% (some would put it higher at 10 or even 20% but I think the real paid-up members of the credentialed class are in that bracket) who explain to the proletariat what the elites are doing and Why It Really Is In Your Best Interests — they are simply struck dumb. There’s something you don’t see every day.

For instance, the normally insightful Martin Wolf of the Financial Times was reduced to ringing the changes on the “uncertainty” theme when asked what is in store for the economy.

And we are now in what Lambert calls an “overly dynamic situation,” in which various national leaders, their staffs, and key technocrats are still scrambling to figure out how to respond and what to do next. One example: the foreign ministers of the founding members (not the full complement) have convened in Berlin.

One surprise in the extensive news coverage thus far (and readers correct me if I missed it, and in this case, we mean reporting based on leaks or public comments from insiders, not speculation), is I have yet to se any mention of the idea of a second referendum to try to put the Brexit genie back in the bottle.

As we mentioned earlier, there’s ample precedent for another vote, but these “do-overs” have always involved the ruling coalition winning some concessions before putting the question to citizens again. I’ve had two people who have a good reading on these matters weigh in (one was in London yesterday in meetings all day on Brexit with well-connnected players). Both were surprisingly emphatic that there would not be a second vote. And one of them is particularly cautious about making prognostications. Obviously, they may not be talking to the right people, but I’ve seen nothing that contradicts their views. For instance, a Financial Times story that went live as I was working on this post, Brexiters’ very different visions of post-EU Britain, has nary a hint of rolling the decision back. But many of the early reactions do reveal that many commentators, and presumably the principals, are grappling with how to satisfy the mandate while keeping the doors open as much as possible with the EU>

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has a fine, high-level discussion of “what comes next”. A key section:

The pro-Remain group TheCityUK already has a plan to limit the damage, insisting that the City can prosper outside the EU, provided the post-Brexit government launches a bonfire of red-tape, keeps the door open to foreign talent, and takes the lead in the G20, the IMF, the global Financial Stability Board and the Basel Committee.

They want unfettered access to the EU single market and passporting rights for the City, and this means either pushing for the Norway option of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a hybrid variant.

This safe-exit is a compromise, and an olive-branch to the EU since we would continue paying into the EU budget and accepting the EU Acquis. It would last until we have negotiated our bilateral trade deals with the rest of the world. It also means accepting the free flow of EU migrants for a while. This is incendiary, of course.

If Parliament imposes such an option, the UKIP base will erupt in fury. But UKIP has only one seat in Westminster and cannot dictate the outcome. Nor is it beyond the wit of man to come up with a formula to manage the scale of migration into the EEA. If EU leaders have any sense they will seek to find a way out of this imbroglio.

Precisely because the political mood is so tense, my preference is for a national unity government of all parties, especially the Scots and the Ulster Catholics, to come up with a negotiating plan. Since David Cameron has honourably offered to stay on as a care-taker, he should lead this emergency administration.

The complexity of the domestic politics, particularly given the real possibility of a dissolution of the UK, implies that understanding what produced this outcome will have some influence on how Cameron navigates his last ninety days. Lord Ashcroft Pools made an unusually large and detailed post mortem (over 12,000 participants). I encourage you to read it in full. Some of its important findings:

The top reason for a Leave vote was a desire for greater national sovereignity:

Screen shot 2016-06-25 at 5.37.09 AM

Those who decided after Jo Cox was murdered favored Remain, which suggests that event did move votes in that direction but not enough to change the outcome (note that some of the mail-in votes may have been before the shooting):

Screen shot 2016-06-25 at 5.40.03 AM

Less politically engaged voters were more pro-Leave….but even the junkies split 50/50:

Screen shot 2016-06-25 at 5.43.46 AM

One of the most best stories so far, both from the perspective of the granularity of the reporting and the caliber of the writing, is the Guardian’s ‘If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out’ (hat tip PlutoniumKun). It gives a vivid, painful picture of the England that has been left behind with the march of Thatcherism and neoliberalism. From the article:

And now here we are, with that terrifying decision to leave. Most things in the political foreground are finished, aren’t they? Cameron and Osborne. The Labour party as we know it, now revealed once again as a walking ghost, whose writ no longer reaches its supposed heartlands. Scotland – which at the time of writing had voted to stay in the EU by 62% to 38% – is already independent in most essential political and cultural terms, and will presumably soon be decisively on its way…

Because, of course, this is about so much more than the European Union. It is about class, and inequality, and a politics now so professionalised that it has left most people staring at the rituals of Westminster with a mixture of anger and bafflement. Tangled up in the moment are howling political failures that only compounded that problem: Iraq, the MPs’ expenses scandal, the way that Cameron’s flip from big society niceness to hard-faced austerity compounded all the cliches about people you cannot trust, answerable only to themselves (something that applied equally to the first victims of our new politics, the Liberal Democrats).

Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline. Look at the map of those results, and that huge island of “in” voting in London and the south-east; or those jaw-dropping vote-shares for remain in the centre of the capital: 69% in Tory Kensington and Chelsea; 75% in Camden; 78% in Hackney, contrasted with comparable shares for leave in such places as Great Yarmouth (71%), Castle Point in Essex (73%), and Redcar and Cleveland (66%). Here is a country so imbalanced it has effectively fallen over….

What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored. The attempts of mainstream politics to still the anger have probably only made it worse: oily tributes to “hardworking families”, or the the fingers-down-a-blackboard trope of “social mobility”, with its suggestion that the only thing Westminster can offer working-class people is a specious chance of not being working class anymore.

This much-watch segment with Mark Blyth (hat tip Gabriel U) also focuses on the class warfare as a driver of the Brexit vote and how that plays into the broader EU political and economic context:

Our Richard Smith echoed these themes from his own observations:

In (for instance) North Lincolnshire, manufacturing is most likely to be the biggest EU export. That might get nuked a bit if the terms of trade with EU countries get stiffer.

So it does sound like a crazy vote.

But the locals upcountry clearly feel they have been ignored, and now have nothing to lose. M and I bumbled through Wisbech and Boston a few years ago, expecting cute East Anglian port towns, and found instead murderously tense run-down ghettoes. You get this kind of story:

These are extreme examples but there’s clearly enough of the same thing going on elsewhere to swing the vote. These areas are sitting ducks for UKIP.

At a more apocryphal level, stories of clueless Leavers suddenly saying they didn’t mean it and asking to change their votes are doing the rounds.

Unless, improbably, around 700,000 such stories turn up, which would imply they swung the vote, this is another portrayal of the “Leave” voters as idiots.

And the message is beginning to get through to the chattering classes. From Edward Luce in the Financial Times:

Brexit’s lesson for the US — and other democracies — is that fear mongering is not enough. Western elites must build a positive case for reforming a system that is no longer perceived to be fair. The British may well repent at leisure for a vote they took in haste. Others can learn from its blunder.

But even this is weak tea. Luce isn’t advocating a Sanders-style economic regime change. Indeed, his call for action is making a case for reform, implying that the more realistic members of the elites need to take on the reactionary forces. As we’ve said, the Clintons are modern day Bourbons: they’ve learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Luce’s warning to Hillary Clinton, firmly ensconced in her bubble of self-regard, deeply loyal to powerful, monied interests and technocrats, is destined to fall on deaf ears.

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    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, fixed! Be sure to watch the Blyth clip. Much broader than the caption on the still suggests, and incisive to boot.

      1. so

        The Blyth clip is awesome. Subtitles really? You should watch BBC River City. It will make your head spin.

          1. Irwin

            The clip is pure surmise. Those that agree with the conclusion will find it brilliant. If you don’t agree with the premise (or don’t know) there is nothing in the content that justifies the Trumpian conclusion. Just like preaching to the choir.

            1. Steve Sewall

              Pure surmise? This charge seems unfair and unfounded without a surmise or premise from you that is backed up with empirical observations that are as strong as those made in the clip. And those made in the clip I find to be very strong indeed.

            2. Steve Sewall

              Pure surmise? This charge strikes me as unfair and unfounded, as the thinking of a someone, a sniper, who has no interest whatsoever in joining the discussion, only an interest in trying to discredit it.

              A suggestion if I may: why not contribute an alternate surmise or premise that’s as grounded in empirical observations as those in the clip? No need to make a clip of your own, just link us to a piece of writing that records these observations. But it better a good writing, for the observations in the clip are very compelling!

    2. beth

      Agreed! Marvelous post.

      Yves, one problem I had is that when you add links as in “have convened in Berlin”, I don’t know where the link leads. In this case FT has a paywall and automatically changes the link so that I don’t know the name of the article and cannot later google it.

      Could you help here? Thanks.

      1. grayslady

        Just mouse over the highlight and look down at your task bar. The full link, including the source, should appear there for you.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry! The FT has now gotten in the New York Times habit of changing titles and content for the same link (I assume Googling the older title would still work). The original title was about the leaders meeting. It’s now “Brexit: Angela Merkel pushes back on EU pressure for quick divorce”. Note most other leaders are opposed to Merkel, along with many German pols.

    3. Waking Up

      The Blyth link is well worth watching. However, I have one quibble with Mark Blyth in that I wouldn’t call the neo-liberal policies of the past 25 years “trumpism”. These neo-liberal policies creating so much inequality should be called “clintonism”. Obviously Donald Trump has been a player in global capitalism for over 25 years, but, Bill and Hillary Clinton actually played major roles in policies and promotion of such things as Trade agreements and deregulation of banks. The Clintons had a far greater disastrous effect as neo-liberal politicians than Donald Trump in the past 25 plus years.

      1. Mark P.

        He’s pointedly not calling the neoliberalism of the last 35 years trumpism — he’s calling the populist reaction to those policies trumpism.

        Granted, Blyth has a strong Scots accent, but there are subtitles. Try waking up and paying attention.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Rich people rise and fall because they aren’t liquid. It happened to the landed elites. The institutions are bigger than the individuals. The Addams Family, at least the original cartoon, was based on a formerly coastal town dominated by whale trading families. When the cartoonist lived in the town, it was row after row of decrepit mansions with a former heir hanging on often with the former staff who was too old to leave.

        1. abynormal

          true but today’s institutional markets are overwhelmed by technical tools, rendering us to add time to clocks…the rich can fall & rise again before even they know it

    1. Benedict@Large

      Lost it to whom? Looks like an accounting fiction to me. The confidence fairy burped, or something

  1. Bill Smith

    Cameron’s decision to stay on for 3 or so months and to leave the invocation of Article 50 to his successor increases the likelihood of something being worked out short of an outright departure.

    Say Scotland and Northern Ireland both start a real campaign to leave the UK with Scotland to be independent and Northern Ireland to join Ireland. What will be left of the UK? Only England and Wales. They may reconsider.

    If one or two other EU countries start making noise that they want to vote to leave then Germany and France may decide that the EU needs to change. After all, I have seen some concern that if it was put to a popular vote, even France might decide to leave.

    The problem with the EU is that it pushed too far too fast. If they had moved slower in the changes and demands on member countries and gotten to this point in 20 years, a generation, I don’t think the “Leave” vote would have won.

    The EU thought they could get a free ride on the issue of Syria. That has come back to bite them in the ass via immigration and terrorism. The single largest group of the 1.3 million immigrants asking for asylum in 2015 where from Syria. There are 2 million more Syrian refuges waiting in Turkey?
    A number of the “Leave” voters saw that as handwriting on the wall.

    If in the next 90 days the EU made enough changes to their immigration policy (something that has already started in a very small way) and somehow pushed back on the Brussels bureaucracy in some way things may turn out different from what it looked like yesterday.

    1. Kulantan

      All the noise that I have heard is that the EU doesn’t want to deal. Getting the UK back in would make the Leave campaigners (e.g. UKIP) scream bloody murder and those screams would be heard by the independence movements in a number of EU countries including France. They would doubly strengthen the vote for a French leave vote as it would demonstrate both the tyranny of the EU and that you can get them to make concessions by holding a leave vote.

      It sounds like the EU’s instinct is to make an example of the UK and do what it can safely do to make the Brexit painful. This would be in keeping with the EU’s policy on crucifying problems rather than trying to cure them.

      1. m-ga

        The UK government could kick the can down the road by setting up a federal system.

        This could be acceptable to the electorate because Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, but Wales and England (London excepted) voted to leave. In order to “respect” (Cameron’s phrase) the wishes of voters, the UK government puts in place a programme to break-up the UK so that its constituents can follow their professed in/out options. The alternative is an acrimonious divorce with Scotland.

        This matter has some urgency, since Scotland is now maneouvring to leave the UK. I suspect most of the leave voters did not realise that they were voting for the break-up of the United Kingdom. So, I feel there is unlikely to be pushback if the UK government announces policies to limit the damage to the UK from Scottish exit (“Scexit-UK?”).

        It would, of course, take 5-10 years to set up the necessary federal system. By the time this is done, and the country-by-country in/out referendums take place, the political landscape will be completely different. With referendums at that point, the Brexit might not actually happen.

        There are a few problems with the route I’ve outlined:

        1. The eurocrats will go nuts. This isn’t too big a problem for the UK though – failing to trigger Article 50, but having the electoral mandate to do so at any time, strengthens the UK government’s bargaining position.

        2. Uncertainty about the UK’s future may stymie inward investment. This isn’t actually too much of a consideration, since it’s exactly what happens in the event of a Brexit (i.e. the now current status quo). In fact, it’s better, since a detailed roadmap to UK federalism can be published, with the assurance that EU membership continues over that period.

        3. The Conservatives may not go for it. They haven’t got much to lose though. As it stands for the Conservatives, Scotland will soon be gone, and NI probably will be too. Granting Scotland and NI greater autonomy, but keeping them in the UK, would retain some influence over Scotland and NI for the Conservatives. It would also (and more importantly) limit the UK’s diminution on the world stage. Conservative PMs would still get invited to the important meetings, and the City of London continues as before.

        A major problem in moving to a federal system, for the Conservatives, is that it might be accompanied by pressure to adopt a proportional representation system of voting. First past the post is highly favourable to the Conservatives, and they’re unlikely to want to forgo it.

        By the way, I’ve also noticed total absence of discussion of a second referendum, or any way to avoid Brexit, in any of the UK press. I suspect it’s in response to a briefing from government. The Brexit voters include the most thuggish elements of British society (“not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist votes Leave”).

        Such people may riot if they think there is any chance that Brexit won’t happen. It would be better to wait a few months (e.g. until the larger contingent of Brexiters have realised they won’t get their flying unicorns) before triggering media speculation about overturning the Brexit vote.

        1. a different chris

          “not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist votes Leave”

          That’s cute, but really: the City Of London is fully of completely enlightened human beings? Seriously?

          They have the money to separate themselves from what they perceive as the rabble, of all colors (colours I guess). That is the difference.

          1. m-ga

            The aphorism isn’t mine. I think it belongs to Billy Bragg.

            You’re right though. Plenty of bigots could have voted remain out of self-interest.

            1. Ed

              A federal system, which is actually something EU bureaucrats want in each member country, is a nonstarter in the UK because having no tiers of government between local government and the national government seems to be an important part of English identity for some reason.

              Also, both England and Scotland survived fine for most of their histories without being united so it’s not really a disaster if they separate. Arguably keeping all of Ireland within the United Kingdom would have been optimal, but the Irish Republic wound up working OK for the Irish and the British. And an independent Scotland would start out united, wealthier than the Irish Republic, be a member of both NATO and the Commonwealth, and retain the monarchy and would probably have a higher chance of success.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I think this is like US elections, lots of puffery but nothing will change. Parliament comes next and it’s highly doubtful they will view this non-binding resolution as anything but a speed bump, UKIP with one seat.
                When was the last time anything changed?
                Panama Papers? Bank execs with wheelbarrows full of cash leaving the building? Presidential candidates either awaiting indictment or else one step away from the loony bin?

              2. hunkerdown

                You write of extra layers of managers to protect the precious CEOs from the insubordinate staff as if it were a good thing.

              3. m-ga

                I realise the machinery isn’t in place for a federal system in the UK at the moment. That’s why I suggested the transition would take 5-10 years.

                The advantages are that making the move:

                1. Keeps the United Kingdom united.
                2. Retains Sterling, rather than the Euro, for Scotland in the first steps to Scottish independence.
                3. Leaves NI with optional alliances between SI, Scotland and England.
                4. Provides UK stability (e.g. a roadmap for investment purposes) for the 5-10 year transition period.
                5. Kicks a Brexit down the road so far that voters won’t even remember.
                6. All constituent countries of the UK end up well placed for EU exit, with minimal impact on the former UK constituents which choose to remain.

                There are already plans for a federal UK. The work was done by Labour in the mid 2000s, and was promoted by former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as Regional Assemblies. This went to regional votes, with Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Manchester as seats of regional government for the first two areas. Newcastle-upon-Tyne rejected the proposal, and the Manchester vote was abandoned.

                Now might be the time to revive the plans (although, I think England could be one bloc to begin with). The alternative is the break-up of the UK, which is unlikely to be popular with the English. This is important, because the English comprise 84% of the UK’s population – the UK is highly imbalanced.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Almost as much fun as parsing “Game of Thrones!” Will the Queen mount her dragon? Who will get the next knife in the throat? What is beyond the Wall?

                  Ah, let’s just have one of those mass-battle things, where the arrow-fodder go down in windrows, and the smarmy princes and would-bes sit astride and sneer…

                  Maybe the GoT auteurs will give us a script, and an explanation of What It All Means, and Who Gets To Live, and Why…

        2. gordon

          Take the federal idea to its conclusion and you have London (together with maybe some of the Home Counties) splitting off too. And why not? London is the City, home of money laundering, tax evasion and high finance; it resembles Liechtenstein more than it resembles anywhere else in the UK. Three cheers for Londonstein!

          1. m-ga

            London mayor Khan is already floating something like this. He’s insisted (along with Sturgeon, of the SNP) that he should be party to Brexit talks.

            Sturgeon has gone further, and invited some of the Eurocrats to Holyrood.

        3. different clue

          If the Scots voted to remain because they expected a Brexited UK to unleash the City of London Money Lords on Scotland to privatise and Yeltsinize every last asset that still exists . . . and they thought that being in EU would be less dangerous to their survival than being trapped alone on an island with a Brexited City of London . . . then they will indeed try to go Independent and rejoin EU as fast as possible in the hopes that the Schaubles are less dangerous to their survival than the Camerons.

          But I can’t know if that’s what the Scots for Remain were thinking. Do we have any Scottish readers here who can tell us if that was the Scots-for-Remain motivation?

      2. John k

        Eu is in no position to be tough… They enjoy a 100b surplus, though this will decline as the pound declines. Britain is in the drivers seat in the negotiation…

        The video points out that Scotland by itself would have the clout of Greece as an individual country, especially as their oil is drying up.

        1. Unsympathetic

          And if Scotland thinks they’re going to get more social welfare from Schauble than from London.. They’re absolutely bonkers.

          Yes, Brexit was a rejection of Thatcherism and the rest of the neoliberal twaddle.. but that doesn’t mean Scotland would actually be better off in 2020 in the EU separate from UK.

          1. TimOfEngland

            Quite. Every Engliah taxpayer gives appox. £1,000 per annum to Scotland…
            Scotland would be broke and would very quickly become Greece2.

            1. different clue

              Scotland would only become Greece2 if Scotland decided to bail out any banks that faced bankruptcy and extinction under this scenario. If Scotland decided to let all such banks go bankrupt and go extinct . . . and accept all the pain and poverty that led to as the price of freedom, then Scotland would not go the way of Greece.
              Scotland might well go the way of a bigger poorer Iceland.

              Isn’t the Scottish population small enough relative to the Scottish land area that Scotland could in theory become survival-food sufficient? Or would that not be possible even in theory?

  2. Ruben

    In mainland Europe, I think the most important consequence will be a sweetening of the deal with the lower orders. Neo-liberalism will be taken down a few notches and immigration policy will be hardened to protect the less educated. European political elites will walk apart from business elites a bit, attempt to approach the populace, cautiously. Statemen and women will do anything, anything to remain in power, even if that entails doing something really good and disinterested, even if they need to speak and work for the people, they can go to such extremes to remain on top of the State hierarchy, to remain under the spotlight. Brexit is such a harsh awakening.

    1. washunate

      I’m curious what link you see from Brexit to changing anything meaningfully in a country like France or Germany? They aren’t the drivers of neoliberalism; that’s USUK. And at any rate, the leaders of state are largely driven by domestic politics, not actions in other countries. I’m not French or German, so I’m not speaking as anyone with native familiarity, but it strikes me as quite a stretch to think that the UK is so important.
      I think we in the Anglo-American world are overhyping Brexit since it is mainly our own financial engineering that is at stake. The EU has a stable future so long as Paris and Berlin desire to continue working together. If that desire fundamentally changes, it will be due to French and German changes, not English ones.

      1. Ruben

        For instance, Brexit may help back-pedaling in France from unpopular neolib labour laws that are being pushed by the gov’t and repudiated in the streets. Political elites are not completely stupid. Brexit popular vote is a waking up call, along with several other electoral surprises (near miss in Austria, fall of Rome, Turin to eurosceptics).

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        You are wrong about the Germans. German economists overwhelmingly believe in ordoliberalism (Google it). which is a more radical form of neoliberalism than the US subscribes to. And how have you forgotten that Schauble has been described as the austerity Ayatollah, and has more far more credibility with the Bundestag than Merkel on how the various economic arrangements in the EU and Eurozone should go?

        1. polecat

          “Ok”……”Now….I vont you to tell me….(sounds of dental drilling and screaming)……. Is It SAFE ??!!”

        2. gordon

          Yes. Von Hayek and von Mises weren’t Americans. The US got the basic neocon ideas from Europe. And I would expect the French ruling class to follow the Germans without hesitation. “Better Hitler than Blum” is probably still the fundamental outlook there.

        3. Fiver

          Suppose Brexit is itself a tactic. This vote was close enough it could’ve been fudged in either direction by the Government, but Cameron, who is in many respects just this side of a fascist, all prim and properly authenticates the count and ‘accepts the verdict of the people’. Then he did something very odd indeed if his intent or goal actually lay in assuring a ‘Remain’ outcome: he didn’t resign immediately stating he viewed the referendum result as the equivalent of a question of confidence, resign personally, dissolve Parliament and called for new elections, effectively squashing the Brexit result immediately. If I were the Queen, Cameron’s head would be plattered. And this is the guy who will be conducting all the crucial negotiations? The man whose idea it was to have this referendum? The man who completely failed as leader of the ‘Remain’ side, then refused to fall on his sword, and instead offers and accepts on the behalf of all to affirm himself Number One – in an incredible position of power to influence events – until October.

          I’m not saying what I’m implying is so. What I’m saying is we cannot afford not to consider the possibility this massive ‘bungle’ could be a different animal altogether – like a Bush/Gore, or a 9/11, like a Lehman, or disaster capitalism.

          1. Fiver

            Oh. Or when the warmongers want maximum pressure brought to bear to ‘resolve’ the refugee crisis by ‘liberating’ Syria.

          2. Skippy

            Hay Fiver….

            As we know the writing is on the environmental wall… that said… it is not out of the question that the elites understand the consequences and as such need to fiddle with the reality nob to suit the desired outcome…. traditional alliances aside… depending on geographical needs…

            Disheveled Marsupial…. lifeboat econnomics – ???? – in a whirlpool….

    2. John k

      Doubt it.
      Consider shill… She will learn nothing from this, and neither will those running germany or the Eu. Their careers depend on being right about the need to impose misery on tens of millions. Granted they will be increasingly desperate as Spain votes shortly and, horrors, France polls next year.
      Britain has its own currency so it can get out with modest cost, and the huge trade deficit with Eu means Eu cannot punish thru trade but will have to agree to concessions e.g. In banking.

  3. Starveling

    I find it unsurprising that the British equivalent of the ACELA class all wanted to stay and the British rust belt all voted leave. It seems to me that, in the same situation, me and mine in Ohio would pull the volatility trigger as well. I wager that the experts in London who all travel in the same upper middle class milieu all take the neoliberal modern order for granted and don’t realize (or care) there are quite a few people for whom that order has caused great calamity.

    I wonder how many British journalists know an actual working class person from the gutted regions of their own country- I’d wager, aside from a token striver or two in their own organization who left home long ago, they neither know nor care.

    At least with more localized control the people have a chance to affect change in policy in a way that might overcome TINA. Maybe this is why the comfortable class dislikes this move?

    1. notabanker

      I’m from the US rustbelt and concur with your view of the equivalent in the UK. Your take on London is a little naive though. London has it’s share of big money elites and upper class to go with it, but it is also a thriving town with every socioeconomic class that supports it. It is the centre of immigration, very international and more cosmopolitan than NYC (imho).

      That freedom of movement and European identity is important. It is note easy getting a work visa in the UK if you are not in the commonweath or EU. The lower paying the job, the harder the visa.

      1. Starveling

        No, I fully realize London has a mix of socioeconomic classes and even some white English native working class types. I meant that the circles that media types mix in and the types of people they associate with are all going to reflect a certain worldview and risk profile not shared by their ‘rust belt’ countrymen.

        I guess I need to be sold on why cosmopolitan and global are good things. I’ve been to other countries, and my favorite places were always those where I was clearly a visitor and welcomed on that basis- places with distinct cultures and histories and something more than rootless commercialism to hold them together.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          My wife and I say we like to “cultiver l’authentique” when we travel (to steal a line from Manon du Printemps). Look for an authentic society, not just another amalgam of the same tiresome old global brands, global foods, and global people. I mean look at the Ile St. Louis, friggin “Make your own muffins” and cute baby clothes US brands have replaced the ancient charcuteries and primeurs. Just sorry I missed Syria before Hilary flattened it, better get to Iran soon methinks.

          1. Lil'D

            Damascus was such a beautiful city. Orange blossoms. Wonderful tea rooms. Intellectual and cultured.

          2. Fiver

            To me the conflict with Iran was entirely inexplicable in terms of how deeply hostile the hard-line Israelis are towards Iran. Iranian support for Syria and Hezbollah just isn’t good enough reason to hate another country, especially given Israel and Palestine is the problem requiring resolution, not them. Then I got to reading about the various empires and religions and technologies and histories from the 1st Millenium BC and became fascinated by the relationships between the various main groups. It was a revolutionary cultural period in human history as succeeding kingdoms and empires would emerge, grow in power and influence and especially learning techniques to do all sorts of things. Anyhow, long to short, my sense is Israel derived a good part of its mental architecture, various artistic, construction and design techniques, history, learning etc., from the Babylonians who were very heavily influenced by the Zoroastrians – centred in Persia, old Iran. It’s like they too have a claim to stake based on deep historical memories of long ago – an “Original 8” team. An older, stronger team that once had Israelites as servants, but taught them to write, to calculate, to know the stars. Israel wants its claim to take primacy in space and time, its definition of the history of the region. its natural place in the order of things. And the very idea of Iran threatens that.

            1. Skippy

              Sorry but…. it might be simpler to address the issue of relocating survivors of ethnic concentration camps into a region based on erroneous historical beliefs about – origin – contrary to all anthropological and DNA based knowlage and the necessity to cement an esoteric perspective contrary to it.

              Disheveled Marsupial…. file under esoteric Galt’s Gulch…

    2. Dave

      definitely a piece of the puzzle. the political class serves their masters and citizens are angry. i find it disturbing that the political class is surprised.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The closest thing the US currently has to high-speed rail, the Acela train-set runs from Boston through New York and down to Washington (the “Northeast Corridor”), which is the axis of financial and political power in the United States. (Proles take cheaper, slower trains.) So riding the Acela is a class marker; powerful people, especially in the political class, ignoring the industrial devastation out the window as they yammer on their cellphones or work on their laptops.

        1. aletheia33

          how do you know that’s what they do on there? have you been on it??

          i bet they do other things as well. things we mortals are not allowed to do on trains.


        2. different clue

          One wonders if the word “Acelacrat” might be coined for these people. Or perhaps not.

      2. Jim

        Thomas Frank mentions the Acela in a recent interview:
        Is the Acela Express the main transportation route between lawmakers, regulators, lobbyists and financiers?

        The Acela runs between Washington and New York just a little bit faster than the ordinary Amtrak train. It costs much, much more, however. Because once you’re on that Acela train, you’re instantly in the secured precincts of the tidy and prosperous professional class. All these nicely dressed people typing away on their keyboards. People looking over spreadsheets. People reading management books and talking management talk. People flattering each other. People shushing each other in the quiet car. Shushing each other so vehemently I once saw a quiet car dispute almost turn into a fistfight. It is literally the express train of the class war. Every sort of narcissism and upper-class social pathology is on full display.

        A few weeks ago on the Acela train, I sat near a man who seemed to be some sort of Hillary Clinton adviser. He was talking very loudly on his cellphone about her latest TV commercial, about how she was finding her own voice, which sounds banal but which I guess is a good thing to do if you want to be president of the United States.

  4. Harry

    It was all about class and policy for the benefit of the elite. Stealing has got to stop.

    But we are now in a total pickle. Those voting for brexit did not know they were also voting against the union. And do you really think the Welsh want brexit with the English when the union breaks?

    Sterling 1.05 you say? Makes sense.

    Pity the queen. She may outlive the uk.

    1. Moneta

      The world will become a better place when we stop thinking that everyone but us is an idiot.

      1. hunkerdown

        That self-supremacy is the foundation of bourgeois liberalism. Eradicating that is a tall, bold order, in much the same sense as killing thousands of mistreated working dogs would be a tall, bold order.

    2. Shelly

      I voted leave pretty sure a leave vote would trigger Scottish independence. I want the union to be dissolved. Scotland is a great country full of great people. I’m sure they will manage their own affairs far better than London could.

      I am more worried about N Ireland but there were just so many good reasons to vote leave.

  5. Larry

    I am presuming this landing will not be nearly as hard for England as the pundits make it out to be. While I know Germany is quite good at adhereing to rules, rules, and more rules, I fail to see a way in which they punish a more independent England for leaving the EU. How could they considering it could possibly damage their beloved exports? I think all this huffing and puffing is intended to prevent the chain reaction of EU dismantling. I know the IT issues are massive, but as Yves pointed out in the comments yesterday, eventually people will struggle for something they believe in. For many in the EU, this technocratic union is nothing for them to believe in. Benefits shrink and their national sovereignty is taken as well. It would not be easy for a country like Italy to leave the EU, but at a certain point, it becomes harder to remain in for a vast majority of the people.

    1. grayslady

      For many in the EU, this technocratic union is nothing for them to believe in. Benefits shrink and their national sovereignty is taken as well.

      Let’s not just limit this to the EU. This is how I feel about TPP, NAFTA, WTO and all the other sell-out trade agreements. We have allowed our elected officials–influenced by unelected lobbyists rather than voters–to barter away our national sovereignty in return for inferior products and unsafe food. I don’t just feel that I’m not better off. I know that I’m not better off.

      1. different clue

        I am not sure how we can be said to have allowed it, except in the sense that we stayed non-violent as the Davos MenWomen betrayed and treacherized our economy and our survival.

    1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

      “– Here is a country so imbalanced it has effectively fallen over”

      One of things I wondered if, in addition to Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland leaving the UK, what if London left? It sounds crazy at first but with the vote so geographically divided, perhaps this makes everyone happy. London becomes a sort of Hong Kong, but instead under the EU.

      1. a different chris

        It obviously didn’t have nearly as long a pedigree, but the USSR blew up damn quickly, didn’t it? A country is an assemblage of people, and nobody of importance in any country was alive 100 years ago so what does things like “the UK” really mean to them, when push comes to shove? Sometimes things just wear out.

        Again, this isn’t any prediction, hope, despair, or whatever on my part. It’s more that this thing can go so may ways and the odds are dead even for every possible outcome.

      2. begob

        London can’t afford to lose the UK subsidies – the City is backed by the national central bank and the city overall receives 90% of national infrastructure spending.

        In the lead up to the Scotland referendum some people suggested redrawing the border at the M25 (London’s ring road), so the city would have to pay for its own excesses.

        1. ambrit

          I get that. What I meant by City of London was the financial district. It is also known as ‘The Mile’, that f—ing place, Punters Paradise, and other less savoury epithets. It is a separate polity from the rest of London. It’s even it’s own county! As master Kenobi said: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

          1. begob

            Understood. Over 400k employed in financial services, so the City is the city. I spoke with a UBS dude yesterday who was livid with all those Brexit bigots.

            1. John k

              All bankers everywhere are livid at the thought of the slaves loosening their shackles.
              Time to get out the pitchforks.

              1. polecat

                Trebuchets as well…….for the historical reference!

                ….those snotty fin. pucks in the ‘City’ should be the recipients of a few deceased and putrid livestock…..or maybe even a little ‘Greek Fire’.. eh?? ;’]

            2. ambrit

              I flashed on to one of the Post War Ealing Studio comedies: “Passport to Pimlico.” In it, a tiny piece of London discovers it is an independent principality and declares itself sovereign. The usual English ‘humour’ is on display. As with many of the Ealing films, a simple, straightforward premise goes all wonky right quick.
              I don’t know about 400,000 people, not all high flyers, being the economy of London, much less the UK. London has, as of 2011, 8.17 millions. They do various things to make a living. Most pay taxes. Since one of the primary endeavours in The City is purported to be the avoidance of paying taxes, I remain skeptical as to The Cities’ commitment to shouldering the burdens of the civitas.

    2. Steve H.

      See Laurie Turb below, “murderously tense run-down ghettoes.”

      All punishment imposed by FIRE sector and the EU will reinforce and confirm the Leave viewpoint; they do not share power.

      Murderously tense immigrants do the same; control the borders.

      The age split on the vote is revealing. If the elders believed that Stay meant that the youths who voted Stay would have jobs to support investments, they would have voted Stay and not Leave. Instead, they looked at the wealthy and decided to keep some aspect of power attached to the vote. Greece and Italy made clear that Remain is to sacrifice ones impact as a voter.

      My guess: a hard border drawn around the ‘English’-speaking peoples. And if you’re inside the border, you better speak English.

      1. m-ga

        The analogue to Greece and Italy doesn’t work, because the UK is outside the eurozone.

        The EU has done nothing to drive the disastrous policies which have bought the UK to this point. Instead, it has been totally self-inflicted. The most obvious starting point is Thatcher, who shut down two thirds of UK manufacturing in the 1980s. Blair sold UK higher education to the highest bidders, and worked around the resultant skills shortage by importing skilled migrant labour. At the same time, unskilled migrant labour was used to drive down wages and worsen employment conditions, with temp agencies used to do a back run around unions and EU legislation. It has been hideous.

        The Leave voters, particularly those in the former industrial Northern areas, are responding to 30 years of bad policy. And they’re quite right to do so (putting aside that the a likely result of Brexit is further punishment for them).

        There’s another group of Leave voters – the over 60s – who are harder to figure out. Several of them are my parents’ friends. As far as I can tell, their idea seems to be to Make Britain Great Again via time travel.

        1. Steve H.

          Noting, that our two sets of truths are inclusive and not exclusive.

          The analogue to Greece and Italy doesn’t work directly, but has a mechanism that operates through elite fealty to financial interests. The current TT* trade pacts in the U.S. indicate similar conditions, that our constitution allows us to sign away our individual constitutional rights individually, but the pacts allow elites to sign them away en masse.

          Here’s a question with an answer that I don’t have: How did Britain manage to maintain its own currency? There’s an interpretation of MMT that says this is what allows the voters to be able to have an impact in a way Greece and France cannot, avoiding the transitional devastation involved in reasserting their national sovereignty.

          1. m-ga

            I’m not totally sure how Britain avoided the Euro.

            I do remember a lot of debate about the Euro in the 1990s. Many politicians were keen. It always seemed a terrible idea to me. Not least because it felt wrong. For many Britons, changing the British passports was bad enough. I feel that changing the currency would have been a step too far! It’s likely that any party seriously proposing it would have been annihilated at the voting booth. This may be the fundamental reason.

            It did seem to come close several times, but got stalled over and over. Eventually, in the early 2000s I think, Gordon Brown kicked the idea into the long grass. And then, post 2008, the thought of joining became fantastical.

            It’s ironic, because Britain – which has just voted to leave the EU – currently has one of the most enviable relationships with the bloc. Gaining access to the single market, with voting rights, but not having to use the currency is a dream ticket. The failure of the UK government to convey how attractive the arrangement is (compared to other European countries – not in absolute terms!) is a big contributor to the UK government’s recent downfall.

            1. BruceK

              John Major negotiated an opt-out from the Euro (and also from various social provisions) in 1991, at the Maastricht conference that basically launched the Euro.

          2. cirsium

            In order to join the Euro, the EU member states must first join the Exchange Rate Mechanism 2 programme for a minimum of two years, and membership of the ERM2 is entirely voluntary. All an EU member has to do to stay out of the Euro is not sign up for ERM2. Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden have no target date to join the Euro. Denmark, I think, has pegged its currency to the Euro rather than join it. So the UK is not alone in being outside the Euro zone.

            1. m-ga

              It’s coming back to me now. There was an ERM disaster for Britain in the early 90s. I expect that was a big contributor towards antipathy to the euro.

              Incidentally, there’s a nice photo of Cameron as the bag man for then-chancellor Lamont, back in 1992. You can see it here if you scroll down a bit:


              It’s fitting that Cameron’s career should both begin and end with euro disasters.

              1. Clive

                Yes, that’s pretty much how it was. And an early indication of how Germany was perfectly willing to show a “my way or the highway” attitude — even if that was diametrically opposed to its long-term interests.

                I’d even go so far as to say that the UK’s Brexit had it’s origins on the Black Wednesday when sterling was ejected from the ERM.

  6. Jabawocky

    I think the above is about right. I would add to this that young people overwhelmingly voted remain, as did those with university degrees. It is much easier for pensioners to gamble with the future.

    There is a petition for a second referendum. It has nearly a million signatures so should be debated in parliament. Boris Johnson did previously suggest a second referendum could occur so you never know.

    1. abynormal

      Boris Johnson did previously suggest a second referendum could occur so you never know. in the beginning he was against an exit…typical cream, rise, curdle politician…

    1. Starveling

      The peoples will never be allowed to reject neoliberalism- not that Brexit alone would be sufficient for this. At least an independent nation can vote out the bums and reject the program. But Brussels? Hah.

      “Oh… you reject our glorious and beneficent system? Well try again, knaves.”

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Looks like the elites are going to keep doubling down until death itself looks like the better option. In the meantime, in an agonizing crawl, people are gaining a terribly costly awareness of the wrong.

        1. so

          For many people monetary and physical wealth is their reason for existence. As history has shown, they will do anything for their God. ANYTHING

  7. Clive

    Thanks PlutoniumKun for highlighting the Guardian “if you’ve got money you’re in” article. I’d started reading it and got distracted so I’m glad that I ended up reading it properly. If anyone wants to know the nub of the issues in 10 minutes, watch the video in the Guardian piece, it covers everything in a very well balanced way. The journalist did manage to capture the spectrum of views and, more importantly, the reasons behind them.

    1. notabanker

      “London is bad enough, and Brussels is even worse.” legit lol.

      That video is must see.

  8. washunate

    Thanks for your continuing coverage on this Yves. One tidbit I think is really fascinating is that particular polling question. Essentially there was no difference between conservative and labour motivations. Both remain groups were motivated by fear of loss, and both leave groups were motivated by desire for self-determination.

  9. Ché Pasa

    Steady. Steady.

    It’s interesting watching the total meltdown of the neoliberal elites in the wake of the Rabble’s Brexit vote. Denial seems to be the strongest element at the moment, but we can expect denial to turn into revenge before the political corpses of Cameron et al are even cold.

    Revenge to bring untold suffering to those who defy their masters (cf: Greece) regardless of whether Britain leaves the EU or not.

    Even money seems to say there is unlikely to be an actual Brexit in the end. This thing is not settled. Not by a long shot.

    Once again, the polls failed to predict the outcome.

    If polls cannot be relied on, what’s the point of holding elections? Uncertainty simply cannot be tolerated in the postmodern world. Too many people who matter have too much at stake to allow it.

    A revote? No. Why, when the vote itself can be ignored or worked around in so many clever ways?

    Steady. Steady. This too shall pass…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Brexit is a sign of other events. The President of the United States was worried enough to lecture on the matter. If they can’t win this vote, how do future the bailouts go (with the exception of Coleman/Franken and a few House seats the election was set in stone, so politicians had freedom they don’t usually have), how do politicians who vote for TPP fare, can Hillary win? Trump might be a sympathizer, but he is enough of a mad dog that he might have a revenge list on everyone who snubbed him.

      1. John Wright

        I believe it was a particularly stupid move for Obama to weigh in for “remain”,

        When a foreign leader advocates for something, it is easy to suspect that they are pushing for what is good for only THEIR country.

        From talking to some UK residents, there are still strong negative feelings about the USA getting UK “poodle dog” support for the Bush II Iraq war via Tony Blair.

        Obama should have known this and NOT said anything at all.

        Obama’s actions may be one more indication how connected/servile he is to the global elite class.

        Yet the right in the USA have cast Obama as a “socialist community organizer”.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama is a narcissistic maniac. It was the same move as Romney lecturing Trump and Republican voters. Didn’t Obama threaten this would harm U.S./UK relations?

          I imagine Tony Blair was a larger issue. When he crawled out of his rock, he cost his allies in the Labour election, destroyed the Syrian bomb efforts in the eyes of the populace, and likely wrecked Remain.

          As to how Obama is cast, it’s important to recognize the GOP id revolves around despising Democrats in all their forms which is partially why Sanders is well liked by Republican colleagues, not being a Democrat he can be liked. Obama and any Democrat would be derided as the insult du jour. The Democrats are the Other for the GOP. One on one things are okay, but Dimmiecrats are going to mass gay marry you to a French pan sexual Muslim goat if you aren’t careful.

          Don’t worry about the nature of GOP attacks, they don’t make sense except to denote “otherness.” The GOP could label Obama as an “antidentite who didn’t keep Kosher on alternating Odin’s days,” and it would have the same meaning.

          I use to obsess over the GOP and what they would say, but besides universal awfulness, you can never catch up to the insanity. Fortunately, American elections can be won without GOP voters. The people who are dangerous are those who refer to “moderate Republicans. ” They have similar views but aren’t as easy to identify.

        2. Minnie Mouse

          Did Obama threaten to put the UK to the rear of the TTIP cue in case of Brexit? The super top secret back room TTIP deal? The deal that leakers can be thrown in jail for leaking? The way to get thrown off the cue of this toxic deal is vote leave, Yippie!

    2. Michael Warhurst

      The polls were run by corporate news organization whose owners wanted to keep their EU facilitated grip of death on the working class, and which humped ceaselessly for the totally undemocratic and totally autocratic EU. Thatcherism and associated “isms” like capitalism and authoritarian-ism,, elitism, capitalism etc. have beggared the working class and outrageously benefited the City of London class of nobs who have been working for centuries to finally bury democracy in Britain. Consequently, the nob media constantly manipulated their polls and purposely reported their preference as somehow the preference of the majority to confuse and alienate working class voters and hopefully dis incent them from voting, or even better encourage voting against their own self interest. Well decades of being economically screwed by a totally undemocratic/autocratic EU is not something easily forgotten.

  10. Philip Hardy

    Scottish independence, and a different status for Northern Ireland are a done deal. The English are not going to campaign for them to stay, and I say English, not the metropolitan “British” who thought they ruled until last Thursday. To give a look into of the sentiments of the English, six months before the Scottish independence referendum two years back, the subject came up in conversation in the pub, there were ten of us, all supported Scottish independence, all of us were English, and none had a connection to Scotland. Politically we ranged from fascist (I’m not joking, I mean a real read the books fascist) to Green (me), the reasons were diverse, but broadly can be group in two, first, just go away you whining Scots! The second, the Scots are a nation, and have the right to govern themselves. During the Scottish Independence referendum campaign a couple of opinion poles taken in England showed greater support for Scottish independence in England than Scotland! The metropolitan “British” managed to scare enough of the Scots into voting against independence last time, but had their bluff called on the Brexit vote, they won’t be able the scare the Scots a second time.

  11. Andrew Watts

    Western elites must build a positive case for reforming a system that is no longer perceived to be fair. The British may well repent at leisure for a vote they took in haste. Others can learn from its blunder.

    The bourgeoisie will continue to support democracy until it conflicts with their class interest. When they begin to suffer from democratic backlash they will turn towards fascism or other autocratic means of governance. Hence all the anti-democratic tirades in the media after the Brexit vote.

    It won’t work. The elites have lost the ability to govern effectively and they’ve begun to lose political legitimacy. Any sincere attempts at mass repression will backfire and guarantee their future as lamp post decorations.

    The Hamptons is not a defensible location…

    Haha! The expression on Mark Blyth’s face when he said that was priceless. It’s good to see an intellectual who’s thinking the consequences through.

    1. jake

      Unfortunately, Mark Blyth is a romantic; no defenses will ever be needed in the Hamptons.

      The American way is to shoot up the post office, the local elementary school or a movie theater. Wealth, however obtained, is too much admired to ever become the object of wrath.

      1. RUKidding

        Ain’t that the truth? Hamptons? Safe safe safe. White middle class kids in an elementary school? Not so much.

        1. anon

          No, he’s right. The Hamtons is not a defensible position. Nor is the Upper West Side — not because they’re easy to approach, but because they’re easy to isolate. Remember Honecker in the former GDR? In the end there will have to be really massive, crippling general strikes and a temporary barter economy to circumvent the neoliberal apparatus of the public and private sectors. “Atlas Shrugged” will be turned upside down, and people will ask not “who is John Gault?”, but “why didn’t we throw John Gault out years ago?”

          The real difference between the 20th and 21st centuries is that we now have tech that gives every person the power of the press, and the big megaphone of organized labor. And while it’s true that the tech is fragile and subject to disruption, attacks on it are far more harmful to the elites than the commons.

          1. Take the Fork

            Oh, I don’t know. I don’t even know as it will require that much. The Soviet Bloc collapsed with very little violence.

            I am beginning to think that the people who rule us are actually fearful and weak. Nowadays, only single-issue true believers and the parasites even bother to pretend that the whole thing isn’t corrupt. That is a stunning loss of confidence over a period of, what, twenty years? Thirty? Forty? Already the young don’t buy any of it, and before you can say “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” the Boomers will tremble in their wheel chairs.

            And our elites are increasingly banding together. They are making it easy for us. Hank Paulson declares he will vote for Clinton. George Will leaves the Republican Party. The divide-and-rule model is failing, and it is being replaced by a herding together.

            The GOP is right now in pieces. The only thing holding the Democrats together is money, fear and conditioned response grievances.

            As Walt Kurtz might have put it: “If all those young men now shooting each other in Chicago were given a little bit of training and busfare to Georgetown, Beverly Hills and Fairfield, Connecticut, our troubles here would be over very quickly.”

          2. different clue

            Something like “Spartacus Shrugged”? Could someone write a political novel titled Spartacus Shrugged?

        2. ambrit

          Doubleplustrue. The longer term effect of the coming peasant revolt is that the ‘elites’ will be cut off from and isolated from their economic base. Turn Goulds’ infamous quote on its’ head. If all of the working classes are engaged on merry fratricide, who will do the hard work?
          Finally, no one knows when scattered lone wolf actions coalesce into concerted ‘indigenous regime change.’ As the usually misquoted Bible verse really says: “The love of money is the root of evil.” The wealth itself has no agency. Those who possess it, and those who want to dispossess them of it do.

          1. polecat

            The problem I have is that ‘organized labor’, to a great extent, is nothing but agglomerate of ‘got mine jack’ fieftoms, without true regard for the common plebs in dire straights! ……..Where are the calls for a national strike by all so called ‘organized labor’…to help achieve real, honest, positive change for the sake of the commons, as opposed to circling the union wagons for only their own??? in my estimation, most of the unions in the U.S. are sclerotic and completely self serving in their attitude, and until that frame of mind changes, things will remain ‘disorganized’ and ineffective!

            1. ambrit

              To the extent that the Unions today work on the assumption that the present way of doing things is there to be gamed, and not transfigured, little will change. The effective Unions usually have a strong political association with ‘radical’ political thought. The Marxists who stiffened the backbone of the Trades Unions didn’t want to reform capitalism. They wanted to replace it.
              America is the experimental playground of technocrats today. This manifests itself in generally top down controlled social movements. The Brexit vote, and few are yet thinking about the almost even split in the overall vote by the way, showed some sort of grass roots effect. The power there flowed from the bottom up.
              America probably will need to return literally to its’ roots, as did the Civil Rights movement, the Bonus Army that prompted Franklin Roosevelts’ actions, the Grange movement for economic reform over a hundred years ago, and many others. As Fredrick Douglass said over a century ago, no one gives anything away voluntarily.

              1. polecat

                I would also like to state that allowing public (government/municipal) unions were a mistake, in that they pit the unionized haves…against the rest of the community…..who, due to the enforcement fees, assessments, and taxes of the city, county, or state bureaucracies, are continually being squeezed for more of their diminishing incomes and/or assets, while the public employees continue to receive their perks, paid healthcare, vehicle usage, pension guarantees, ad nauseum! …. and as the pie shrinks, as it were, it becomes more in your face apparent, causing dissension and resentment! Basically it’s state sactioned extortion…..

                1. polecat

                  I will also go as far as to say that a large percentage of city employees in my little town live out in the county, beyond the confines, and reach of the city’s fiscal grasp…… making it all the more galling!

                  1. different clue

                    Well . . . one can either aspire to make the rest of us as well off as the publicly unionised government workers, or one can aspire to make the publicly unionised government workers as poor off as the rest of us.

                    Which is the better choice?

            2. Ulysses

              In many of the larger unions there are pockets of resistance to the sell-outs. Here in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, those of us who wish to work more effectively on behalf of all (especially non-unionized) workers, have formed the Teamsters for a Democratic Union:


      2. lin1

        Never say never. The US once saw mass movements for social justice. If the ruling class continue to make life miserable for 60% of us, and unlivable for 30%, we’ll see them again and maybe with the benefit of hindsight, having been fooled badly by the preachers of class harmony the first time round

  12. Laurie Turb

    ‘M and I bumbled through Wisbech and Boston a few years ago, expecting cute East Anglian port towns, and found instead murderously tense run-down ghettoes.’

    You saw nothing compared to the third world ghettos of many, predominantly, northern English towns and cities. Squalor, poverty, decay and hopelessness.

    Boston and Wisbech = massive immigration.

        1. Archie

          Just finished vol. 1 and makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have not lost the birth lottery. What can one say about Haiti? It’s a good thing that the Clinton Foundation is looking after them. /s

          And thanks for the link aby. I very much appreciate a well made documentary (and music) that expresses a depth of feeling.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Check out Al Jazeera “The Slum” on youtube
          Also “Orphans of the Sahara”

  13. James Miller

    Let us now mourn the passing of the EU.
    Shengen was a good idea at the time. Free movement throughout a huge geographic area that was at the time pretty peaceful and growing prosperous, even at the periphery.
    But union ? Such a serious move carried with it real problems. Any kind of serious attempt at union would necessitate big compromises, and without a carefully crafted bill of rights for citizens, and a “cultural bill of rights” to save national heritage, there was the real potential for a cultural slaughter. A slaughter that would impoverish the world by  robbing it of mankind’s greatest art form- it’s rainbow of cultures, and all the fabulous differences they contain.
    Neither the organizational structure of the EU or it’s attempt at a “Constitution” contain any such structures. Those mealymouthed efforts at such were riddled with carve-outs,  notwithstandings and unlesses, and ended up just what their creators wanted- powerless.
    Still, I supported the EU idea with misgivings, because of what I saw as the danger of a resurgent Germany, with renewed movement toward domination, and because of the hope that the EU might be strong enough to resist, to counterbalance the growing imperial craziness of the U.S.A. I said this in many places on the web, including the European Tribune.
    The EU has failed to provide protection for it’s people on both counts. Anyone who has paid attention to the events in Greece has had a good opportunity to see the naked hand of Germany wielding an axe to the nation of Greece. Any notions of democratic forms or even minimal compassion for the people of Greece was absent from that grim episode. Germany (German and French banks-same) conquered, without firing a shot. There are numerous other examples of German dominance in the EU, but none so bloody-handed as that one.
    And Hollande is disgustingly obsequious to the US and the banks, turning a blind eye to the disaster that is the Washington consensus’ ideal of austerity. The toady even allowed the US’s dangerous diversion of a plane carrying a head of state, in violation of all international norms and traditions, and will do so again if told to do so.
    National sovereignty? Right. I find it incredible that the European heads of state cannot see that the catastrophe of a tsunami of refugees around the EU borders was the direct connsequence of that Imperial craziness, and a broken decision-making process in Brussels.

    If one looks at the fundamental economic view of the EU as well as it’s policies, there is little to see but stone, failed neoliberal cant. Under EU (German) rule, times are lousy, and getting worse.
    So much for the utility of the EU, it’s protective functions, it’s function as a driver of prosperity.
    Michael Hudson points out that if another bank bailout is deemed necessary to pull the banker’s parasitic butts out of the fire again, the public reaction will be a debt disaster, and the death stroke for any notion that the EU is capable of useful economic management.
    So what exactly is the EU good for? Rubber stamping NATO threats ? Yup.
    The drivel I read over the last two weeks or so, and this morning, on the supposedly independent progressive net was straight out of the propaganda machine that has produced so much scare tactic eye and earwash over this issue. I marvel that places like the Nation, RawStory, Truthout, etc. cannot see any of this, it appears.
    And the horror stories about what is to come, as a result of plebian meddling in the affairs of their betters discount as usual the possibility that those who voted for this course might have a few active brain cells.
    If you cannot leave, it’s a prison. Or you’ve been kidnapped. Or—perhaps your’e too broke, in debt and frightened to buy the ticket.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    There is an obvious way to avoid another referendum. The Labour party, along with Lib Dems and Greens could campaign for the next election on the basis that they will not withdraw and they will not pursue an Article 50 motion (or suspend one if it is already in place). That is perfectly legal and would be a way for all to save face. Given the mess the Conservatives have made, then I think it would be a real vote winner for the non Conservatives. In effect, they would seek a mandate to ignore the vote.

    1. m-ga

      Cameron precluded a general election by resigning yesterday.

      As it stands now, nothing will happen until there’s a new Conservative leader in October. Triggering a general election at that point would require a vote of no confidence in parliament. But, given that the Conservatives hold a (very) small majority, it is unlikely that such a motion would be passed.

      The exception could be if it looks like the new Conservative leader is going to trigger Article 50. In that scenario, there may be enough pro-EU Conservatives willing to support a vote of no confidence that the motion goes through.

      It isn’t over at that point, though. The government gets 14 days to row back, at which point a confidence vote is again put to the house. So, if the government can placate the dissenters in its own party, it is able to continue.

      The only other route to a general election is for two thirds of parliament to call for one. There is no way that will happen, unless the Conservatives are sure they will win. Given the recent referendum result, it is likely to be politically infeasible for the Conservatives to trigger an election in which they themselves pledge to overturn the referendum result. An opposition party (or coalition) could, of course, stand for election on the platform of overturning the referendum result. It is, though, incredible that the Conservatives would agree to a general election that they intend to lose, for the sole purpose of obviating Brexit.

      I suppose it’s possible that a new Conservative leader might choose to call a general election in order to gain a stronger mandate from voters. But it’s nearly impossible to predict how that might look – it will be preceded by three months of discussion within the Conservative party.

      The short version of the above is, there’s no way for a Lab/LibDem/Green/SNP coalition to trigger a general election before October. And there’s a very slim chance of them being able to do so afterwards. As it stands, discussion of the referendum result, and how to deal with a potential Brexit, is entirely an issue for the Conservative party.

      Brexit began as an internal Tory feud. It has now escalated into a UK domestic policy crisis, with knockover effects into world markets, UK investment, and the future of the EU. Only if Article 50 is triggered will there be any actual changes in the make-up of the EU.

      Note that once Article 50 is triggered, it cannot be halted unilaterally. Any potential incoming Lab/LibDem/Green/SNP coalition, following the next UK election in 2020, would be hampered in the scope of their EU negotiations if the Conservatives do trigger Article 50.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its very clear that there is no appetite, even within the Conservatives, for a rapid withdrawal – even Johnson has said ‘there is no hurry’. The next election is in 2020, but with support from ‘Remain’ conservatives it can be dragged out until 2018 at least. This allows everyone to delay until the next parliament.

        1. m-ga

          I don’t follow – what can be delayed until 2018?

          If you mean Article 50 can be delayed until 2018, I think that in the absence of a detailed strategy you’re optimistic.

          Brexit must be addressed as a priority by the new Conservative leader in October. The eurocrats are already screaming that Article 50 must be triggered immediately (they want it to happen, because it gives them more control), but Cameron has bought three months by resigning. Three months is a long time in politics – and the near-certain deterioration of the UK economy might soften the resolve of the Brexiters – but there will have to be some kind of roadmap.

          My favoured stalling strategy, which I outlined above, is setting up a transition to a federally governed UK. Other routes may be possible. But there’s going to have to be some detailed roadmap to keep investment flowing into the UK. The uncertainty can’t be protracted.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            yes, I mean triggering Article 50 could be postponed. I think the Conservatives will be under a lot of pressure to slow everything down. Boris has already said he wants that. If he becomes PM, he really doesn’t give a damn what happens, so long as he is in charge.

            1. m-ga

              That’s true. But, the next Conservative leader has something of a poisoned chalice.

              Whoever is in charge of the UK when Scotland breaks away will be disparaged in the history books and (perhaps more importantly) the UK press. This is a highly emotive issue for the British, since it’s the final step in the disintegration of the former British empire.

              Until the Brexit vote on Thursday, Scotland was immobilised, and was strategically useful to the Conservatives (the SNP will continue to undermine Labour, and the Conservatives themselves are now the Scottish protest, i.e. unionist, party).

              Now, Scotland almost certain to go, and quite soon.

              I’m increasingly certain that the motivation for Johnson, and perhaps also Gove, was to lose the Brexit referendum but increase recognition and acceptance with former Labour voters who are defecting to UKIP (i.e. the voting group that just pushed through Brexit). The advantage would be that, come 2020, the failed Brexit campaigner might have an easier time against whoever Labour puts up in the general election. If it goes really well, they might not even get much kickback from working class voters in the first few years of their premiership.

              Actually winning the Brexit referendum might not have been part of the plan. It’s not clear what happens next. But a Johnson or Gove prime ministership might not be it.

            1. m-ga

              I covered this above. It makes it easier for the constituent parts of the UK to leave the UK and/or the EU. Which limits the detrimental economic impact for everyone involved.

              The establishment (“loyalists” in your terminology) would go for it because it keeps the UK intact, for at least a little while longer. And, perhaps more importantly for their masters, it leaves the City of London exactly as it is at present.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Rumors from retired Corbyn allies were that Corbyn is not a fan of the EU and his endorsement was based on needing Scottish votes in the future expecting Remain to win. Even as everything came down to wire, he was fairly tepid about his “endorsement.” The youth who voted Remain were likely concerned with the ability to work around Europe because that’s a seemingly tangible benefit.

      He also needs Wales, the Exit vote in Ireland, as well as Labour hot beds in Northern England that appeared to vote Exit.

      Corbyn needs to continue run on an anti-neoliberal platform and propose how the EU can be fixed because the EU isn’t going to suddenly improve its standing.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The problem for Corbyn is that if the UK breaks up, the Labour party is finished – there is an inbuilt right wing majority in England. He has to get back into the EU to save the Union, I’m sure he knows that.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          How stable is the right wing majority? A leftist argument I read was that the Tories have used the EU as an excuse for of all Britain’s economic woes. Once out, the neo-liberals will own the economy and I can’t see Boris leading the country back into prosperity as he is already talking about increased austerity.

          1. m-ga

            It’s pretty solid. Labour do well in the cities (particularly London) but in market towns and more rural areas of England, the Tories have a firm base. The first past the post system also helps the Tories.

            The Tories do often use the EU as a whipping boy. They have others as well – the Labour party is a firm favourite.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            There is a very firm right wing majority in England – but much less so when you add in Scotland and Wales. The Conservatives (and occasionally Labour too) have constantly used the EU as an excuse for any unpopular policy.

            The problem with anticipating a future election now is that all three main parties are colossally unpopular for different reasons. But the first past the post system makes it very difficult for another party (such as the Greens) to make meaningful inroads.

      2. m-ga

        Labour is in trouble. The Labour vote has evaporated in Scotland (happened before Corbyn took over), and looks to be headed the same way in Scotland and Wales. I’ve seen some Guardian commentators referring to Labour as a ghost party. The description is pretty accurate.

        Corbyn himself is anti-EU, (correctly) identifying the EU as a neoliberal establishment. This gives him common cause with the former Labour voters in industrial areas, who have just overwhelmingly voted for Brexit.

        Unfortunately, Corbyn is not at present connecting with that disenchanted former Labour electorate.

        One of the most likely reasons for Corbyn’s half-hearted Remain campaigning is that he didn’t want to alienate the disenchanted former Labour electorate. When Labour campaigned with the Tories in the Scottish referendum, Labour were wiped out completely in Scotland. The same thing could have happened in England and Wales.

        If Corbyn had pushed hard for a Remain victory, he could well have sacrificed whatever goodwill remained towards his party with the disenchanted former Labour electorate. It may or may not have worked. If it had worked, David Cameron would have taken all the credit, and would have continued his planned 2016 Conservative programme with a weakened Labour opposition. If it hadn’t worked, the UK would be in the same position now, but with Labour looking weaker to those who just voted for Brexit, and the pro-Remain Conservatives likely to blame Labour regardless.

        So, it appears that Corbyn prioritised Labour party positioning above the UK’s continued EU membership. It’s also possible that Corbyn didn’t realise how close it would be, and that his personal animosity towards the EU kept him away from the campaign.

        There is some danger to Corbyn’s strategy. I suspect the voter base which has backed Corbyn is largely the metropolitan, educated left wingers who were strongly pro-Remain (e.g. a similar profile to the younger Sanders supporters). For disclosure, I’d count myself among this group ;-). There’s some reasonable expectation that Corbyn will address their concerns.

        So far, it’s not looking great. When the result was announced – and before Cameron’s resignation speech – Corbyn said that the government should invoke Article 50 “immediately”. Now, there may be good political for doing so. For example, if Cameron had invoked Article 50, Corbyn looks prescient. If Cameron delayed Article 50 (as was in fact the case), Corbyn gains credibility in the eyes of the disenchanted former Labour electorate who just voted for Brexit.

        The problem is, Corbyn looks like a dunderhead to the pro-Remain Labour supporters who put him in place. Invoking Article 50 would be a disaster.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Labour is a ghost party because of the Blairites. Scottish “nationalism” is the as gross as LePen or Trump, but it comes from a similar place. Dissatisfaction with “New Labour” preceded the rise of nationalism outside of the Connerys of the world and even he chose to accept a knighthood from the German Queen.

          The Scottish complaint is simply the government doesn’t respond to their political views but the city of London. Wales, probably Northern England, would follow suit if they were less integrated into Southern England.

          Without Bernie, the Democrats would have no new potential members or lists.

          Corbyn was heavily backed by young people and traditional Labour types. The professionals love Tony.

          Brexit is a Third Rail. The primary reason I’m tepidly supportive of Brexit is I think the EU is running out of life, and it’s best to get to the exits first if you can survive.

          The practical message is, “we need to be honest. The EU has huge problems, and in our euphoria of pretending to found the Federation, we didn’t discuss those problems. Elections show trust is broken in institutions, even my own election was a rejection of 20 years of New Labour. Here are good things the EU did. How can we build around that? How do we fix the poverty? The answer is the solutions we used in the past. (Now he should gratuitously borrow from Ezekiel to bash anyone who cloaks right wing policies in the language of “new ideas.”)”

          Anything else too pro or too exit won’t fly because opinions on Brexit without putting it into context of the domestic policies and failure to lead within the EU amount to shouting.

          In a sense, Brexit was an opportunity to hold bad leaders accountable such as Blair and Cameron.

          1. m-ga

            I might support Brexit if I didn’t live in Britain.

            I think the recent Brexit vote will force the EU to revise its approach. A change in strategy for the EU is long overdue. I hope that the result of the Brexit vote will be to weaken the use of neoliberal policies across the world.

            For Britain though, it’s terrifying. Domestic policy does matter, and it particularly matters in the country you’re living in ;-). The currently likely outcome is that Britain becomes even more right wing, with a lot less public spending, and volatile divisions along the lines (geography, age, immigrant status) which have just been exposed in the referendum.

            Willing a bunch of people to go through pain for the greater good looks fine if you will reap the greater good. It’s not so attractive if you also stand to go through the pain.

            1. gordon

              “I think the recent Brexit vote will force the EU to revise its approach”.

              I doubt it. Removal of the UK leaves Germany and France absolutely pre-eminent, and (as I mentioned upthread) I expect the French ruling class to follow the Germans unhesitatingly. That would mean more austerity, more bullying of smaller members and, over time, the transformation of the EU into a new German Empire.

              1. m-ga

                You’re overlooking that Le Pen is bolstered by the Brexit, even to the extent of changing her social media picture to a Union Jack.

                Hollande may have to counter by treating his electorate more fairly. That’s what I mean by a revision of approach.

                1. gordon

                  Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Personally, I doubt that either Marine Le Pen or Hollande are anything but simple careerists. Hollande will, I expect, continue with repressive, anti-labour legislation and continue to do what the Germans want because that’s what he’s paid to do. I’m surprised that Le Pen hasn’t already been bought off. I strongly suspect she’s just waiting for a sufficiently substantial offer.

        2. lin1

          “When Labour campaigned with the Tories in the Scottish referendum, Labour were wiped out completely in Scotland. The same thing could have happened in England and Wales.”

          Labour, like the American Democratic party , need to offer the masses some reason to vote for them other than fear mongering. As evidenced by the Leave vote, the Bernie Sanders primary campaign and to some extent the Trump Campaign, the working class masses are wising up to the old hollow gags and sales pitches . As long as the Labour party continues to serve big finance and the interests of the global ‘elite’- exclusively- their empty appeals to old slogans and the memories of better times, will fail. And Labour is only the first to go. The richest 10% of the developed world are not going to get the other 90% of their countrymen to willingly volunteer to be their slaves. The conflict is sharpening. The bourgeois bought the cooperation of the working class in the 20th century. The working class got something out of it – a living with dignity and some comfort and some opportunity for their children .The ruling 10% have torn all that all up and are trying to replace it with less than empty platitudes about the “new economy” .

          1. m-ga

            The early days of Corbyn (just a year ago) were brilliant. He was pushing Green QE. This was a package which was fresh, workable, and timely. He came through on a landslide.

            Then, something funny happened. Corbyn was engaging and erudite in interviews. But the most exciting policy ideas were sidelined. Where there should have been a promotion and extension of the platform on which he was elected, the campaign became reactionary.

            A lot of this is down to the parliamentary Labour party, which overwhelmingly didn’t want Corbyn, and is still struggling to come to terms with him. The media reaction didn’t help either.

            There’s not been any fear mongering from Corbyn. But, his positive message has been almost totally lost. Some of this is the fault of Corbyn, and also McDonnell.

            It’s really sad. I can remember the early days, when McDonnell chucked a copy of Mao’s red book across the despatch box at Osborne. The intended point was that Osborne’s policies were a hair’s width away from Mao’s. No-one got it (not even the rest of the Labour party), and the media reported it as if McDonnell was pro-Mao.

            That’s the last time I can remember any flamboyance from Corbyn or McDonnell.

          2. Ulysses

            “The richest 10% of the developed world are not going to get the other 90% of their countrymen to willingly volunteer to be their slaves. The conflict is sharpening. The bourgeois bought the cooperation of the working class in the 20th century. The working class got something out of it – a living with dignity and some comfort and some opportunity for their children .The ruling 10% have torn all that all up and are trying to replace it with less than empty platitudes about the “new economy”.”

            Very well-said! Now that people have noticed that the emperor has no clothes, what next? Here in the U.S., the Sanders campaign was essentially no more than a call to restore the New Deal. The transnational kleptocrats will clearly not allow this, but they also don’t have any positive program to sell the voters.

            We are close to an inflection point, where the transnational kleptocrats will either give up some control, or go full-bore police-state repressive to ram their new TTIP/TISA/TPP regime down our throats. The neoliberal propaganda is no longer working to make people want to enslave themselves!

    3. begob

      The opposite for me. Corbyn should declare support for the Brexit vote, then force his rebels to commit to this. Anyone who refuses gets the boot and the party is cleansed of its neoliberals. At that point the conservative bubble is burst, as many of its traditional voters have had their main issue satisfied and are then free to consider Corbyn’s impressive menu of status-quo-busting economic reforms. Labour regains some ground from the SNP in Scotland, so independence is off the table too. Britain suddenly becomes a progressive beacon for Europe. Voila! The Brits had their revolution way before the French.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Nice idea, except it ignores the fact that the under 35’s overwhelmingly voted for remain. It would destroy Labour with the youth if they fought as a Brexit party.

        1. grayslady

          My take on the under-35 voters is that if their real reason for wanting to remain in the EU was to enable them to take jobs outside of the UK, then Corbyn needs to push a future for British citizens in which no one needs to leave the country in order to find a satisfying, decent-paying job. In most populations there is actually a very small percentage of individuals who opt for being an eternal ex-pat. Something isn’t being properly explained here.

          1. m-ga

            It’s actually under 45s who were net backers of Remain, with the proportion being higher the younger you go.

            Brexit would benefit no-one in the UK. It was backed by two main groups:

            1. As a protest vote from former Labour supporters in what were once industrial centres.
            2. The over-60s, for what appear to be sentimental reasons.

            It’s also beginning to transpire that no-one really thought the Brexit vote would be carried. This is likely to include Johnson and Gove, who may have backed Brexit with the sole aim of improving their profile with voters prior to an expected 2019 Conservative election contest.

            1. grayslady

              This is simply your opinion that Brexit was bad. What you call the “sentimental reasons” of over-60 voters may actually be the wisdom that comes with age and not sentimentality. Personally, I haven’t seen that the EU has benefited any one in Europe other than the elites, the Germans (prior to migrant resettlement), and a new class of bureaucrats in Brussels. “Because markets” has never been a compelling argument for me. Markets always seem to have a way of looking after themselves–real people, not so much.

              1. m-ga

                There are at least two negative consequences of Brexit:

                1. The deterioration in the UK’s economic prospects.
                2. The rise in right-wing nationalism.

                I’m not sure why anyone would wish this on a country.

                1. Jim


                  How about continuing to develop your ideas and strategies on Federalism to develop a new type of Left-Wing nationalism which eventually could have application in both the UK and US.?

                  1. m-ga

                    I’d sooner leave the system of government up to the people :-)

                    I do think it’s possible to build a better system within the framework of what currently exists. This is what I’m suggesting for the UK.

                    I think the federal UK I’ve outlined would be more attractive to the UK populace than the break up of the UK – and particularly, the break-up of the UK under EU oversight (which is what Brexit would amount to).

                    The Brexit vote is curious in a couple of ways. There isn’t anything like popular support for it among MPs. I also don’t think, despite the referendum, that there’s majority support for Brexit among the UK populace. This might become increasingly obvious over the next few months. For example, I’d be amazed if the UK government haven’t just commissioned a lot of private polling to exactly this end.

                    The referendum isn’t binding on the government, and so needn’t happen. But obviously something needs to happen. Setting up a federal system based around Sterling, but within the EU, could be that thing. It is in many ways a power play (i.e. a European bloc which doesn’t use the Euro). I think it’s a better move for the UK than actually going through with a Brexit.

              2. Archie

                All good points. I might add that during a business trip to Europe in the early/mid 90s, I picked up a souvenir t-shirt for my wife (as I was wont to do on each trip) that featured a school of fish, all the same color, swimming in one direction and a single fish of a different color swimming in the opposite direction in the middle of the rest. The caption was: Be European……Be Different.

                That is the essence of the Europe I had known since my first visit in 1966. It was a wonderful place.

            2. begob

              I can’t see Boris invoking article 50 – his paymasters would cut him off in a second. So it’s possible he will be the most reviled and shortest-lived prime minister. Ever.

              The politics of the next 12 months will be dramatic – and a huge opportunity for Corbyn, but within the parliamentary party he needs to get his retaliation in first.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Most of the under 35’s have grown up with the EU, they love free movement around Europe and see absolutely nothing wrong with the EU. They know austerity was imposed from London, not Brussels. Its just a different attitude – most of the left wing, green youth I know, who happily turn out for anti capitalism or globalisation marches don’t see anything wrong with the EU.

        2. begob

          They have nowhere else to go, but the politics of this will be fascinating. Yves often makes the suggestion that Trump is not playing to win – well I reckon Boris has played that game and bungled it big time: a salesman for capital management as mayor of London never wanted to win this referendum, but his manouevres may leave him in the position of having to refuse to invoke article 50. Imagine the look on his face as he steers the Brexiteer clown car over the cliff.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I didn’t say Trump is not playing to win. Trump likes to win by reflex.

            I said it’s not clear that Trump really wants to win. I know that may sound like a distinction without a difference but it isn’t. First, I can’t assess Trump’s deeper motivations, so my view is not as definite as you make it sound. Second, if Trump understood the job of President, he wouldn’t want it. He likes control and a President has way less control than a head of a private business doses.

            So I wonder whether Trump has a deeper conflict, as in he really wants to beat Hillary because he’s competitive by nature and correctly thinks she can be defeated, but he is not doing the things he need to do to win because he wants to do things his way, and that not an option in campaigning or in holding the office. So he unconsciously sabotages himself.

            If you’ve seen the movie Tin Cup, the climax is a classic example.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      UK voters please pipe up, but my impression is that Labor is divided and Corbyn’s hold on the party is too weak for him to try this move. The knives were out for Corbyn when the Brexit vote came in and his allies had to beat back a defenestration effort. So I doubt he is up for any bold moves. Iron Law of Institutions and all that.

      1. m-ga

        There are indications of a critical mass against Corbyn:

        A switch to McDonnell might maintain the current Labour party direction. But it’s hard to engineer.

        Labour party rules mean Corbyn is difficult to displace. It’s not impossible though. This is a good time for an attempt at an ouster, since the Conservatives are disunited, and the media and the public are distracted. There are genuine issues with Corbyn as a figurehead. Sanders in the USA has been very successful with a similar domestic agenda, but Corbyn is having difficulty getting the message across.

      2. John Peacock

        It’s spelled Labour. That’s the party’s name.

        I’ve been reading, and I’m not really an expert, or especially informed (that’s why I’m reading the blog, to get sources of information) but my particular opinion (which I’m sure can be easily contradicted):

        For a long time, the whole debate seemed like … in fact was … an internecine Tory squabble that had got out of control. Then the struggling official Leave campaign decided to go with the UKIP anti-immigration message (despite the fact that it wasn’t something they could actually offer) and it went strange.

        I suspect that the under-35s are for Remain not for financial or tactical reasons but because a lot of people in that age-group are Europeans. I’m 51, but my emotional sense of self places me as a Londoner first (and my London is dying, increasingly hollowed out by neoliberalism), then European, then British for administrative reasons and English hardly at all, so I may be projecting my own sense of mourning on younger people, or I may be in a position to empathise with them, it’s difficult to say.

        There is a sense that a lot of people voted Leave specifically over things which were lies. All the headline policies of Leave seem to have been lies: immigration, the money paid to the EU (which would then be magically liberated to spend on the NHS), “Taking back control of our borders”, onerous EU regulations. In order to trade with Europe we’ll need to be in some kind of arrangement which will require the free movement of labour, complying with EU regulations and paying some kind of membership fee, but without receiving anything but free trade in return.

        The morning after the result, Johnson, Gove and Farage appeared on television and it was clear that they had no idea what they were doing, that they’d all gambled on losing the vote for political benefit and that in winning they’d actually failed. There was comparison with that bit in The Producers where Bialystok and Bloom realise that Springtime for Hitler is a hit.

        The other thing that was annoying was the way the question was purely binary, as if wanting to remain in the EU meant you were automatically supportive of its political structures. The way that the question has been managed ever since Thatcher is to see it as Britain on the one side and Europe on the other, and it was only during this campaign that I began to realise that there are other models and strategies, including member states (amongst whom you could number the UK) working together to challenge the doctrine that’s being forced upon us. But the British government doesn’t want to do that, because it agrees with the policy.

        A large number of people are understandably disaffected after years of austerity policies and the open warfare the Government has declared on the poor and the disabled, and to fight back they’ve voted for something completely unconnected to the reason they’re suffering (as, unlike Greece, the austerity they’re crushed by has come from Westminster, not Brussels, and when, or even before, Westminster is liberated from Brussels, the austerity is likely to be turned way up rather than down at all), which is only going to mean that the only sources of funding some of these areas have are going to go away (for example, Cornwall voting for Leave and then going “but we can keep the subsidies, right?)

        Another thing is that looking at the map of results that was published in the Guardian, what emerged wasn’t so much a split between London + Scotland and the rest as a divide between the metropolitan centres (with the particular exception of Birmingham) and the ruralities. Again, something that shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s new to have hard data on it.

        I live and work with a lot of people who have moved to London from around Europe in the same way that an American might move from Atlanta to Chicago, or Michigan to Los Angeles (assuming people do that), and they were shocked and terrified. Particularly as the result has emboldened pockets of bullies to go up to anyone faintly foreign-looking and tell them that they’re going to be sent home. I have not compunction in being able to say that those people are not only unpleasant for doing that but stupid enough that they seem to believe what they’re saying. I do not look forward to the moment they realise they’ve been sold a pup and become upset.

        I agree that the EU commission needs to be dealt with in some way, but can’t see how the UK leaving the EU is going to do that. In another place I compared it to fighting with a bully by sticking your own head into the shittiest toilet bowl and gesturing to the flush handle. I don’t see how anything other than a coalition of countries can deal with it – and the spectre of far-right parties in many European countries really ought to be concentrating the collective mind – though I don’t know how. The reason I subscribe to this blog is that it’s clear to me that the stranglehold of the neoliberal dogma is the single greatest problem the world faces. But at the same time I don’t want the whole thing to collapse. Fury Road was my favourite movie of last year, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

        Even among strong Corbynites of my acquaintance there’s a sense that he’s a decent chap, it’s good to have him at PMQs being a grown-up, but it’s now clear he’s not really up to the job of campaigning to win. I’d hope he’d get the message, but power might have gone to his head, and he’s in full bunker mode after the Vice profile (which also counted very strongly against him). I don’t think his lack of involvement made any particular difference, as the media campaign against him has left him with relatively little credibility outside his particular constituency. The question is whether anyone else can be produced who is capable of it. I voted for him in the membership election partly because there was the possibility of moving the Overton window slightly, partly because the other candidates were no more likely to pull the party than he was, partly (and most cynically) because I thought the most instructive thing would be to watch how he was destroyed. And it has been very interesting – the fact that he’s perceived as “dangerously left wing” means that the usually skilfully concealed BBC establishment bias has become crudely, nakedly obvious. It was also useful to watch the way the “antisemitism” scare thing was managed a couple of months ago, and the way that the Labour right were perfectly happy to get in bed with the Tories during an election if they thought they could throw Corbyn out. They like to blame Labour’s disarray on Corbyn, but in fact he’s brought in a large new membership constituency (few of whom are actually Trotskyists, which is how the right like to dismiss them) to whom they might appeal if they could be bothered, but none of them seem to be interested in doing the work, as it’s much simpler to sneer and hope they just fuck off.

        I’m not trying to brush his problems away by going “oh, it’s just the media, smearing him”, but at the same time there actually is a constant and really quite embarrassingly obvious campaign against him, some of it propaganda so crude it looks like it’s come out of the age of steam.

        So, yes, it’s a mess.

        Sorry about the rant.

        1. m-ga


          But the bits I skimmed looked right.

          The UK has just been through a condensed version of the Trump campaign. With a victory for the Trump tactics.

          I’m not sure what happens next.

        2. Archie

          John Peacock, thank you sir for your rant, although I would call it a cogent everyman’s analysis. The whole world is a mess and the last people we should expect to straighten out the mess are politicians. Hell, they created the messes to feather their nests. So perhaps we should go full Trotskyist on the political elites and the media, since that is what they already fear. Corbyn and Sanders both might be surprised to find out just how many of their supporters are ready for that. It may not be a majority at this point in time, but I have no doubt it is a significant plurality.

        3. econoclasm

          +1. Only not sure what to make of this part:

          I suspect that the under-35s are for Remain not for financial or tactical reasons but because a lot of people in that age-group are Europeans.

          It boils down to this: under-35s (just like Scotland) know that their chief political enemies are in Westminster, not Brussels.

          The over-60s hate Brussels more than Westminster because:
          1. the over-60s tend more towards nationalism.
          2. Westminster does act somewhat in the interests of baby boomers (keeping their house prices rising at all costs, etc).

          As for Corbyn:
          UK politics has been mostly about the referendum these past months. And this has been very awkward for Corbyn (and the left generally) because (sorry to keep repeating this) the referendum was not a referendum on austerity or financialization or economic policy generally. The referendum was a colossal diversion from that debate. Corbyn’s strength on those issues has been effectively sidelined. To have a referendum on the EU is to foreground the voices of neoliberals (for remain) and nationalists (for leave) and to sideline other voices such as Corbyn.

          A lot of us are dismayed at the uptick of nationalism. The Blairites in the Labour party are cynically exploiting this dismay, seeking to make Corbyn a scapegoat for Brexit.

  15. James miller

    Let us now mourn the passing of the EU.
    One signal may be that the “Leavers” may be smarter than the bankers
    Shengen was a good idea at the time. Free movement throughout a huge geographic area that was at the time pretty peaceful and growing prosperous, even at the periphery.
    But union ? Such a serious move carried with it real problems. Any kind of serious attempt at union would necessitate big compromises, and without a carefully crafted bill of rights for citizens, and a “cultural bill of rights” to save national heritage, there was the real potential for a cultural slaughter. A slaughter that would impoverish the world by  robbing it of mankind’s greatest art form- it’s rainbow of cultures, and all the fabulous differences they contain.
    Neither the organizational structure of the EU or it’s attempt at a “Constitution” contain any such structures. Those mealymouthed efforts at such were riddled with carve-outs,  notwithstandings and unlesses, and ended up just what their creators wanted- powerless.
    Still, I supported the EU idea with misgivings, because of what I saw as the danger of a resurgent Germany, with renewed movement toward domination, and because of the hope that the EU might be strong enough to resist, to counterbalance the growing imperial craziness of the U.S.A. I said this in many places on the web, including the European Tribune.
    The EU has failed to provide protection for it’s people on both counts. Anyone who has paid attention to the events in Greece has had a good opportunity to see the naked hand of Germany wielding an axe to the nation of Greece. Any notions of democratic forms or even minimal compassion for the people of Greece was absent from that grim episode. Germany (German and French banks-same) conquered, without firing a shot. There are numerous other examples of German dominance in the EU, but none so bloody-handed as that one.
    And Hollande is disgustingly obsequious to the US and the banks, turning a blind eye to the disaster that is the Washington consensus’ ideal of austerity. The toady even allowed the US’s dangerous diversion of a plane carrying a head of state, in violation of all international norms and traditions, and will do so again if told to do so.
    National sovereignty? Right. I find it incredible that the European heads of state cannot see that the catastrophe of a tsunami of refugees around the EU borders was the direct connsequence of that Imperial craziness, and a broken decision-making process in Brussels.

    If one looks at the fundamental economic view of the EU as well as it’s policies, there is little to see but stone, failed neoliberal cant. Under EU (German) rule, times are lousy, and getting worse.
    So much for the utility of the EU, it’s protective functions, it’s function as a driver of prosperity.
    Michael Hudson points out that if another bank bailout is deemed necessary to pull the banker’s parasitic butts out of the fire again, the public reaction will be a debt disaster, and the death stroke for any notion that the EU is capable of useful economic management.
    So what exactly is the EU good for? Rubber stamping NATO threats ? Yup.
    The drivel I read over the last two weeks or so, and this morning, on the supposedly independent progressive net was straight out of the propaganda machine that has produced so much scare tactic eye and earwash over this issue. I marvel that places like the Nation, RawStory, Truthout, etc. cannot see any of this, it appears.
    And the horror stories about what is to come, as a result of plebian meddling in the affairs of their betters discount as usual the possibility that those who voted for this course might have a few active brain cells.
    If you cannot leave, it’s a prison. Or you’ve been kidnapped. Or—perhaps your’e too broke, in debt and frightened to buy the ticket.

  16. equote

    A question for Yves and those of you that have an opinion … what effect, if any, has the influx of middle eastern refugees into Europe had on Brexit?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is no question but that fears of further immigration on the ground was a major impact, especially in small towns and older industrial areas which took the brunt of it. The UKIP posters in the last week showed queues of Syrian refugees, that was the core message they sent out.

      1. Ivy

        Rotherham is the poster-city representing the ills and evils of neoliberal and PC dysfunction for many. (If readers are not familiar with the Rotherham, Oxfordshire and similar horror stories, you are encouraged to read about those.).
        The Rotherham citizenry voted Leave 68/32.

        1. Take the Fork

          I’ve brought up Rotherham up before, mostly to crickets… It does not fit The Narrative of either the Cultural Marxists or the Neoliberals, while Progressives tend to play the immoral equivalency card and try to change the subject to something more ideologically comforting like the Stanford case.

          As for me, I doubt Farage would have prevailed had it not been for Merkel’s reckless decision to flood Europe with Muslims, followed by the Paris Attack, Cologne, and what appears to be an unprecedented spike in rapes in Sweden… and the collapse of both governmental and journalistic credibility that has followed. But, here again, the reflex is to link UKIP with the Nazis or whinge on about such clear and present dangers as the cornflower in Norbet Hofer’s lapel…

  17. George Phillies

    From bits of the above …ignore the vote… and …UKIP has only one seat…

    One might suggest that actually doing the first of these might lead to a radical change on the second of these after the next election. Some of us are old enough to remember the implosion of the Italian Christian Democrats. The UKIP offer to the SNP becomes ‘we agree that we, not you, are formally leaving the UK, so that you get to keep your EU membership rather than needing renegotiation.

  18. Bubba_Gump

    What has been so incredibly annoying to me is the NPR coverage painting this idea of border controls as racism/extremism/Trumpism. The simple fact is that the beautifully egalitarian European social support compact is being severely strained by massive immigration of many millions of people who do not provide a net contribution to the social and economic systems. Therefore social benefits are diluted for the long-time citizens. Hand in hand with that is the governments’ accommodation of the FIRE sectors raping the countries economically and leaving the middle and lower classes to decline and rot. Add in the sovereignty issue and the Brexit makes perfect sense to me for reasons that are clearly not racist or extreme.

    The political/media class can only call this a disaster. The people have ended the elites’ gravy train, likely at great cost to themselves.

    1. RUKidding

      I agree with a lot of what you say. I have reasonably “liberal” friends, who are sympathetic to the plight of refugees who are clearly running from horrors in their home country, but they (this is in the USA) are still concerned – justifiably I feel – about the economic impact of the USA having to absorb these people into our systems – often at high cost. Yes, many do *eventually* assimilate, find work, and contribute to the tax base, but sometimes that takes years or forever. In the meantime, those of us born here and working our butts off – mainly on a treadmill that’s going steadily downhill – see our paltry savings never rising, and being told by our economic and political “betters” that we’d better be prepared to do without Social Security and Medicare – which WE (not the rich mostly) have paid into all of our lives – because the “country” can’t support them anymore. So go get f*cked and deal with it.

      I get it that citizens who truly are not racist and bigoted – and this possibly applies also in the UK – are getting fed up. We witness refugees coming to our country and, at least initially, getting a certain amount of benefits, and then citizens are told that we’re not likely to get the pensions and medical care that we’ve been paying for all of our lives.

      I have pointed out to my friends that the one of the main reasons for these refugees is that the USA insists on waging WAR, Inc across the globe. We bomb, drone, bomb, fight, bomb these people’s countries into oblivion, and then refugees are the outcome… needing to be clothed, fed, housed and provided with health care. Most citizens don’t connect those Dots, and even when it’s explained, they somehow still feel that WAR Inc is “rational” or at least something that the USA should do… because “safety.” But then they don’t want to deal with the “spoils” of war, aka, the refugees.

      It’s a real mess. But it’s also a kind of karma for the rabble, who may not like these refugees, but often they’re the very ones who want a MASSIVE military and lots of WAR Inc.

      And so on… it’s a mess. Of course, the rabble is also finally waking up to the fact the 1% is really more the enemy than someone else in the rabble that you’ve been taught to dislike. But there again, the rebellion is led by someone in the 1% – Trump. Should Trump win, he’ll do EXACTLY what anyone else in the 1% would do. He’ll take care of himself, first and foremost, and he’ll enact policies that benefit his fellow members of the 1%. And he’ll screw over the rabble. That’s what’s so dumb about Trump.

      1. a different chris

        Generally a good post, but I take exception at least to the degree you take this:

        >but often they’re the very ones who want a MASSIVE military and lots of WAR Inc.

        I think we have seen that this isn’t really true. The most wingnut Americans want to live in some sort of fortified camp nursing their own armories, and are not the least bit interested in “seeking enemies abroad”.

        I claim the majority of Americans aren’t that far gone, that all they want is – and they will tell you if asked – “the worlds strongest military” to protect America. But everybody else can go pound, um, sand (which is a mindbender when the oil they want is under said sand). Poll after poll has shown that Americans badly underestimate the size and activities of our MIC.

        Racism isn’t the flip side of the isolationism coin, I will admit it is found jangling in the same pocket more often than not. But they can be separated if you realize they are not the same thing.

        1. SpringTexan

          Yes. For instance, most Americans have NOT A CLUE about the number and size of American bases around the world.

      2. Archie

        Why single out Trump? Every other Repug nominee was also a card carrying member of the 1% or a platinum member supporter. And the woman in the other legacy party? She not only wants to benefit the .1 % and screw over the rabble, she also wants to demonstrate that she is a combination of John Wayne and Pol Pot. I think that we all over analyze the rationale of these despots instead of plotting how we really do get rid of them. (Disclaimer: I don’t believe that finding better despots is useful, nor do I believe that it is possible to change or enlighten a despot.)

  19. Otis B Driftwood

    Dissolution of the UK a consequence of Brexit? A fitting end to what started with Thatcherism and was pressed onward by Blair’s neoliberalism, no? Too bad Maggie (or Reagan for that matter) isn’t around to see the poisoned fruits of her (his) labors.

    And yeah, this Mark Blyth fellow, subtitles and all, offers keen insight into the accelerating global demise of neoliberalism.

    And what was the US MSM response to this? A turd that can move its lips and make noise:

  20. notabanker

    BBC now covering an online petition for a 2nd referendum vote that has 1.5M signatures.

  21. craazyman

    It seems like this is all noise and no signal. And I don’t mean the post, I mean the event itself and everything being said about it.

    They might not leave or they might leave. it might be rolled back somehow or it might not. There might be new treaties that keep it in without keeping it in. Everything may degenerate into a feudal serfdom of autarkick anarchy of atavistic tribal degeneracy — or it might not. Or, it’s already like that now, which is why they voted Leave. Or, they were just kidding and didn’t really mean it. They’ll find a way to ignore it completely. Or, it’s too late to ignore it completely and all hell will break loose.

    The only thing that seems real to me is this; If you thought it was funny when the humanoid reptilians, who were waiting there on the moon when Neil Armstrong landed and stared at him from a few hundred feet away and then . . get this! . FLIPPED HIM THE BIRD.

    If you thought that was funny. Then this is hilarious!

    They flipped the bird at the EU. The British flipped the bird at the EU! hahahah hahahahaha

    That cracks me up. Somebody had to. That’s for sure.

    1. Steve H.

      Are you sure about that? How many fingers did the reptilians have? It could’ve been ‘come-hither’ and got misinterpreted.

    2. craazyboy

      Flipping the bird IS the source of confusion. The English do it American style with the middle finger. Continentals hold up two fingers, like a V. No wonder no one knows what’s going on?

  22. juliania

    There were many positive things that could have been said about that likable lady Parliamentarian who was so brutally murdered. That the one thing the press and everyone latched onto was that she was in favor of ‘Remain’ (and as Yves points out, that influenced some votes) and was murdered by a crazy who took offense at her position emphasized in blatantly black capital letters how corruption latches onto ad hominem attacks when its plans are being thwarted.

    I truly hope more votes for the exit were gained when people recognized the attempted manipulation of her tragic demise. Al Gore once used the death of his sister to gain votes; this was like that.

  23. Jim

    “Because of course this is about so much more than the European Union. It is about class and inequality and a politics now so professionalized that has left most people staring at the rituals of Westminster with a mixture of anger and bafflement.”

    “The top reason for a Leave vote was a desire for greater national sovereignty.”

    It may be the case the many leave voters were reasserting something deep within them–a sense of dignity which comes from a national identity–a sense of inclusion in a sovereign community whose members, despite being stratified, are fundamentally considered equal.

    Strangely enough it was in England that this form of national consciousness first appeared and it is now re-emerging as the foundation of a new call/demand for egalitarian treatment.

    This spirit, or modern form of consciousness, still believes in the fundamental equality of those considered members of a nation and without this sense, identity tends to collapse and fragment along with growth and economic development.

  24. dingusansich

    For excellent signal-to-noise ratio, listen no further than the words of former finance minister and PM of great power (in money laundering) Luxembourg (pop. 500,000), the estimable president of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker:

    Il ne peut y avoir de choix démocratique contre les traités européens…

    Translation: There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.

    Tell it like it is, Jean-Claude!

    Truly an inspired choice for EU leadership, JCJ is. He simply reeks of entitled authoritarian arrogance. You’d think he’d been cloned from a nose hair found in private dining room last used by the Austrian general staff in 1914.

    This is the democracy of “the Institutions.” Honestly, who can not love the syntax, the nomenclature? “The Institutions”! “There will be …”! It’s refreshingly clear. Voting of the unwashed (or unlaundered) is as out of place in the EU as it is in corporate governance. Not that they’re distinguishable.

    Of course the namby-pamby “no amicable divorce” is regrettable. Excommunication is the correct punishment for heresy against the office of the one true faith, followed by a withdrawing from and quartering of the pound. An election of a new people may likewise be called for.

    One thing that can be ruled out at once: any statement suggesting EU leaderships bears the least responsibility for the outcome of the U.K. referendum. But that is a forgivable error of youth. In time the Europeans, under the benevolent tutelage of the Americans, will come to appreciate the softer stranglehold of modern public relations. Then it will be goodbye to the forthright bellicosity of Jean-Claude. He will be missed. But he should not be forgotten.

  25. ballard

    German defense minister to Merkel:

    “Have you tried calling those working class voters racist again, maybe they didn’t hear you”

  26. mtnwoman

    “. As we’ve said, the Clintons are modern day Bourbons: they’ve learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Luce’s warning to Hillary Clinton, firmly ensconced in her bubble of self-regard, deeply loyal to powerful, monied interests and technocrats, is destined to fall on deaf ears.”

    Of the same mind. HRC is deep in her bubble.

  27. makedoanmend

    Of course if the middle classes, esp the upper middle, had voted for Brexit and us unwashed labouring classes had voted to remain, there would be no talk about holding a second referendum to get the correct answer. It is assumed that the unwashed get things wrong but the middle classes and their experts are always right.

    It’s funny how “democracy” works these days. Is it the proles who abandon democracy or is it the enlightened who decide the democracy thingy is a hinderance to efficient allocation of constrained resources unto themselves?

    (Didn’t bother to vote – half dozen of one, six of the other. I care not if my tormentor wear’s a union jack or EU flag. Not so much as a vote for the lesser evil but only a choice of who will put you out of your misery quicker. The worker is fubared either way.)

  28. cmk

    Thanks for the post. While it looks like the immediate consequences of Brexit are negative (a strengthened Right, possible recession), is there not some room for optimism over the longer term?
    It seems like Britain now has the opportunity to bring back some of its lost industrial base. A weaker pound will favor British exports, and Britain will not be bound by EU free trade rules. (Tony Benn favored leaving the European Common Market in 1975 because of the likely impacts on British labor, which appear to have materialized). Policies to achieve this would obviously be counter to neoliberal policy for the last 30 years, but it at least is possible without the EU – and seems like it should be on the table.

    1. Skippy

      One wonders how far the gulch extends….

      Disheveled Marsupial…. the barbarians win tho in the end….

  29. BruceK

    Lord Hill, resigning British EU commissioner: “What is done cannot be undone”. That sounds like no second referendum to me – to my surprise; I thought it was likely.

    Juncker’s comments in the article suggest some butthurt (plainly the British people failed him). That may introduce some noise into any signal from him but butthurt always fades eventually.

    I am suspicious of voters who talk about ‘National Sovereignty’. It sounds much more high minded than ‘Stop Immigration’ but it boils down to the same thing in most cases.

    1. abynormal

      possible referendums on the horizon :

      polling agency Ipsos Mori, for the Financial Times, which found that a significant majority of French and Italian voters are up for leaving the EU.

      The pollsters surveyed between 500 and 1,000 people from the following countries: Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Hungary and Sweden.

      It found that the following percentage of people want to have their own EU-exit referendum regardless of whether Brits vote for a Brexit on June 23:

      French – 55%

      Italian – 58%

      Other key points from the report shows that:

      48% of Italians want to leave the EU.
      41% of the French want to leave the EU.
      34% of Germans want to leave the EU.
      Polish are the most against leaving the EU – only 22% want to exit the bloc.

  30. VietnamVet

    There are lessons that the global 5% should learn from Brexit vote but probably won’t because they go against their basic beliefs. First, contempt for losers breeds divisions. The free movement of capitol and the outsourcing of jobs crucifies 95% of the population. Plus, endless wars for profit spread refugees that overwhelm adjacent areas with poor border controls. The chaos is washing ashore on the British Isles. Finally, do not have national referendums.

    1. Skippy

      Heh… I thought it might be paying people to write vacuous self reinforcing dialog… by a bunch of – ***yes men*** – might equal “truth” to the payers mind… but…. should not be confused with “fact[s”…

      Disheveled Marsupial…. so devo… which is not so bad except everyone comes along for the ride….

  31. Paul Hirschman

    A couple of political scientists in the US recently studied the link between big money, public policy, and democracy. They found that almost all new public policies meet the wishes of big money, while the wishes of the majority are ignored except in those case where they happen to agree with their big money overlords.

    So what we know has been confirmed by sophisticated study: Western governments govern in the interests of big money. Voting has no relation to actual governance. Political parties and leadership are all about obfuscating this reality. But the very success of the technocrats has now created its antithesis: a majority of people cannot actually live their daily lives–they can’t pay their rent, educate their kids, put food on the table, repair the roof.

    Half of England is fast approaching third-world status. Life in the US between the coasts is also fast approaching third-world status. Greece is leading the way. So the technocratic employees of big money have succeeded. The result? The only choice left to those ignored, left-out, and despised is to act up.

    Technocrats have lost control of their own creation. Sound familiar?

  32. ballard

    Friends and family in Britain tell me they voted Leave because of what happened in Rotherham.

    If you’re one of those who still get “news” from MSM and haven’t heard what happened in Rotherham, then I’m afraid I can’t help you.

    Check out the government commissioned report by Professor Alexis Jay

    1. ballard

      To my knowledge it was NOT reported by the MSM outside the UK.

      Or in any case, I don’t know of anyone in the US, France or Switzerland who’s even heard of this.

      It doesn’t fit the narrative.

      Yet everyone has heard about the drowned little boy who washed up on a Turkish beach…

      Because that fit the narrative.

  33. Sound of the Suburbs

    Three Liberal (Neo-Liberal) parties in the UK disenfranchised the following groups:

    The working class were effectively disenfranchised again by New Labour, in less than 100 years from gaining the vote. They could now vote but had no one to vote for.

    The Conservatives of the Tory shires were also disenfranchised by these New Liberals, the metropolitan chattering class.

    This is where most of the Brexit vote came from and it can clearly be seen that they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, things will take a while to settle down.

    How did we get here?

    Neo-Liberal ideas had appeared to work since the 1980s, though no one noticed credit was being used to paper over all the cracks.

    In 2008 it all blew up and politics had concentrated on a new centre.

    The political landscape was slow to respond to the new post 2008 world.

    With three main parties only millimetres apart there was plenty of room for new parties to cater for the new concerns.

    Along came UKIP to voice those concerns.

    They posed a threat to both the Labour and Conservative parties.

    To deal with the threat the Conservatives offered a referendum.

    UKIP has served its purpose.

    It is time to restore the correct order; we don’t need three Liberal (Neo-Liberal) parties now.

    Labour – traditional Labour
    Conservative – traditional Conservative
    Liberal – Liberal / Neo-Liberal

    Order restored with many fewer disenfranchised.

    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      We have seen democracy triumph over attempts to use PR to ignore the concerns of the people.

      As UKIP became more popular Nigel Farage and UKIP were crucified in the mainstream press by whatever means the PR people could dream up.

      UKIP had tremendous success in the EU elections and the PR people went back to the drawing board. They then came up with a new idea, a blanket ban on any coverage of UKIP and Nigel Farage so they would naturally disappear from the consciousness of the masses.

      The attempts of PR to deal with the threat of UKIP have been a total failure.

      We now have a very divided nation, those that believe with what they are told by the mainstream press and those that don’t.

      More balanced mainstream journalism will be necessary to close the divide.

      Instead of using the term “populists” we could start using the term “the disenfranchised”.

      1. Sound of the Suburbs

        Politics moves on, once we had the Whigs and the Tories.
        The lower classes were given the vote and the Labour party was created.
        In the new political landscape the Whigs disappeared.

        The liberals, an elitist Left descended from the Whigs, they have never been popular in the UK since everyone got the vote.

        Perhaps the US needs three party politics:

        Republicans (Conservative) – traditional right
        Democrats (Liberal) – elitist Left – Clinton
        Socialist (Labour) – traditional Left – Sanders

      2. Lambert Strether

        If public relations has failed, that means that a primary elite mechanism of control, or hegemony, or manufacturing consent or whatever, a mechanism that is almost a century old (see Adam Curtis) has failed. That’s a very big story.

        1. Sound of the Suburbs

          We’ve had just roughly 100 years of “Public Relations”.

          Really its propaganda that is used out of war time to adjust public perceptions, they decided that “Public Relations” sounded better than “Propaganda” but both are essentially the same.

          PR works until it doesn’t.

          PR is just manipulation and as any manipulator knows; once you are discovered no one will believe a single word you say.

          A controlled media and press put out all the right messages and while things were going well everyone went along with it.

          Once things started to go wrong (2008), the press and media carried on with their happy-clappy output and the recovery would be with us next year, but it was always next year.

          Eventually, the press and media told the masses the recovery was here, but they could see no sign of it.

          Manipulated inflation and unemployment figures fool no one.

          The masses have to live with reality of the true situation day in and day out.

          The lies just out the manipulator.

          Once the lie is seen, the manipulator is out-ed and the tide turns.

          1. Sound of the Suburbs

            I read a great book on PR.

            “PR! A Social History of Spin” Stuart Ewen.

            The PR trail in the US, well worth a read.

  34. Leonard C. Tekaat

    One of the primary problems with the euro zone is that the central government has no authority to redirect cash flows to balance economic activity in the different countries. The US has a tax system and social programs that can redirect cash flows to states that are economically depressed. If say, we had a state that was economically depressed as Greece is, the federal goverment’s counter cyclical economic progarms would increase cash flows to that state. The state would not need to borrow money from another country, or international organization. The increase in debt liability, and austerity programs, to repay the debt, depresses economic activity further. The interest free money from the federal government stimulates the state, with the depressed economy, which takes a drag off the national economy, which helps all the other states. The same effect would occur in the euro zone.

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