Brexit: Fear, Loathing, and Anger on Both Sides of the Channel

The UK’s and Europe’s leaders have shifted into the crisis mode of urgent, high-stakes weekend meetings. But rather than making progress, these officials have instead exposed gaping differences among the Continental powers and chaos at the top Britain’s Conservative and Labor parties.

The UK’s political class is reeling from the Brexit vote. The major players in both parties now face having to manage a process that will prove to be difficult and stressful, where numerous details that will have profound long-term implications need to be sorted out. Even in a best case scenario, the results will make a lot of citizens less well off, and it won’t be just people working in the City who can arguably afford it (for instance, a recession is pretty much a given). This is not an attractive project for a career politician.

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had a weak hold on his position even before the Brexit vote, beat back an insurrection by Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign minister and son of the Socialist icon Tony Benn. Corbyn removed Benn from the shadow cabinet. However, given that many Labor MPs want to hold Corbyn accountable for the Leave vote by virtue of making a lackluster case for Remain, he’s only fought off an immediate threat.* (In fairness, a must-read Guardian article we featured yesterday found that voters in the north and west, where Leave won, weren’t interested in what either party was telling them).

The Conservatives are also in disarray. One of the unintended side effects of Cameron’s 90 day caretaker government is that the jockeying for leadership and backstabbing may continue for longer than if he had resigned immediately. From the Telegraph story Tories at War:

The Tory civil war over the EU referendum escalated after friends of David Cameron accused Boris Johnson and Michael Gove of leading a “mendacious” campaign and “corroding” trust in politics.

The Prime Minister’s allies claimed his “project fear” warnings that Brexit would bring economic disaster were proving to be a “reality” as the bitter feuding from the referendum campaign reached new heights…

Anna Soubry, a pro-EU business minister, told Channel 4 News: “A lot of people suddenly realised that project fear is turning into project reality. We are doing everything we can as a Government but the reality is starting to dawn. Now we have got to get a plan in place, and of course we have got to get the right leader in place…

Another senior source close to Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne said: “It is painfully obvious that Boris and Gove have no plan, no idea what they are doing, and never expected to win.”

However eurosceptics said that the concerns of an economic shock were exaggerated. They pointed to the fact that the pound rallied on Friday after falling to a 30 year low and markets recovered.

As our Richard Smith observed:

Corbyn thinks politics is all about committee resolutions and not sharing platforms, and his soft-left intra party opposition just say “tut” when snarled at by working class white men who are furious about immigration and austerity. Right now, Labour has no program to tackle this immigration issue *at all*, neither socialist, or social-democratic. Non-austerity economics has no traction either.

Not only is there no immediate plan, but as the Financial Times stressed on yesterday, in Brexiters’ very different visions of post-EU Britain, the Leave side is not united. For instance, while the Brexit camp wanted to implement an Australian-type scoring system for immigrations, various factions disagree markedly on how many in total should come in every year. Similarly:

New trade arrangements need to be drawn up with all countries. As well as changing its trading relationship with other EU members, leaving the bloc means the UK loses access to the EU’s trade treaties with about 50 other countries…

Trade agreements will be needed for services as well as goods. A key question is whether the UK retains passporting rights into the EU for financial services. At present only members of the European Economic Area have such rights, which allows them to market products throughout the region. Without such rights, providers of financial services based in the UK may be forced to move some of their operations to another European centre.

Some proponents of Brexit, such as Daniel Hannan MEP and the Adam Smith Institute, a think-tank, have advocated joining the EEA or agreeing bilateral trade deals similar to the one Switzerland has struck with the EU. However, the prominence in the campaign of pledges to “take back control of our borders” seems to rule out such options: continued membership of the single market would mean accepting free movement of people..

Mr Johnson has favoured a Canadian approach. Canada has agreed a trade deal with the EU that removes virtually all tariffs on goods but crucially excludes most services. Since services make up 80 per cent of the UK’s economy, and two-thirds of the UK’s exports to the EU, any agreement reached on services will be particularly important..

But Mr Johnson’s position contrasts with the suggestion from some Leave supporters, such as Lord Lawson, the former chancellor, and Patrick Minford, the economist, that all tariffs should be removed unilaterally, even if the EU and other countries do not reciprocate.

A unilateral approach poses two difficulties. By removing all tariffs without requiring similar concessions from other countries, the UK would reduce its bargaining power in future negotiations. Even if politicians are happy to give this up, “no [World Trade Organisation] member can unilaterally decide what its rights and obligations are”, said Robert Azevêdo, the WTO’s director-general. In other words, unilaterally falling back on WTO rules is not as quick and simple as some have suggested and would still require agreement from the other 161 member countries.

The Tory and Labor party have no enthusiasm for the enormous task that lies before them. And the wiser rats are jumping ship. For instance, Jonathan Hill, the UK’s man at the European Commission, announced he was resigning. His explanation? “I don’t believe it is right that I should carry on as the British commissioner as though nothing had happened.” Yet the post can’t go vacant, particularly since negotiations will begin at some point. So Cameron now has to find a replacement.

Some hope the Brexit genie can be put back in the bottle. But that seems unlikely. Even though a petition for a do-over vote has garnered 2.6 million votes so far, which means it must be considered for debate by Parliament, my understanding is that few see this as a viable option. Despite media reports of Leave voters saying that they were lodging a protest vote they now regret, the plural of anecdote is not data. Given the profound effects a Brext will have on the financial services industry, its employees and their family members who presumably voted Remain in the first place would easily provide millions of keen supporters of another go.

While other failed EU measures have been turned into wins on a second ballot, in every other case, the EU gave concessions to appease voters. That is not happening this time. And while there are clearly voters who would reverse themselves given the chance, the idea that the Government was trying to bulldoze a well-publicized initiative that won by a respectable margin would also generate a backlash. It would also drain more legitimacy from a ruling class that has suddenly discovered simmering anger in large swathes of the country it thought it could safely neglect.

Another complicating factor is that the Scots have jumped on the opportunity to seek independence and strike their own deal with the EU. It’s not clear how that can work, since the entry process is lengthy, and a Scotland outside the UK but not in the EU would be a terrible outcome.** But if Scottish voters believe, correctly or not, that they can stay in the EU if they vote for independence, they could see a second referendum as intended at least in part to throw a spanner in their independence vote.

Thus the level of internal political disorder alone prevents the British leaders from engaging with the complex practicalities of figuring out what sort of post-Brexit regime they want, and how to conduct exit negotiations and put new trade pacts in place. And another wrinkle is that divorce is faster than a second marriage. EU president Donald Tusk has said that a British departure is not all that hard and could be completed in the two years stipulated in Article 50. But entering new trade agreements routinely takes at least five years, and trade deals don’t always get done.

The Brits thus have no incentive to rush to pull the Article 50 trigger. Even after the major parties sort out their considerable internal discord, they still have many choices to make and a great deal of prep work after that. And they may use some of that time to start negotiating replacement trade pacts. But Cameron is under pressure to get moving. The Telegraph points out: “The Prime Minister will tomorrow hold a Cabinet in which he will be pushed by eurosceptic ministers to appoint a team to begin preparations for a Brexit.”

Cameron and other Remain supporters may also hope that economic cost of the impending Brexit may start to bite and give them the leeway to do things that now would be explosive politically, like negotiate a half-way house where the UK has reduced rights of various sorts for continued trade access. Even if the bloody-minded EU members were to soften their stance, the problem with that is that it would almost certainly entail the UK paying into the EU coffers in full, when one of the promises of the Leave campaign was to use the EU budget for national priorities, like the NHS.

The Remain camp may also hope that the economic damage will cause enough in the way of regret that the pols will be forgiven for letting the matter slide altogether. That seems unlikely. The voters that have been hit already are asset-owners and financial institutions, few of which saw the vote coming and thus took trading losses. Bank managers and employees will continue to have uncertainty over what comes next weigh on them. By contrast, the depressed and barely-muddling-along parts of the country that voted for Brexit won’t feel the impact of the weaker sterling (which had been sliding all year) and reduced investment and spending for a while, probably months. And even then, the decay is likely to be gradual.

By contrast, the toll of uncertainty and unhappy markets will tax European leaders. They could barely contain their ire over the Brexit vote in a hastily-convened weekend summit of founding EU foreign ministers. All save the Germans are fuming for Britain to move quickly. Interestingly, since the UK is completely in control of when to invoke Article 50, once it gets its ducks in a row, it could use this anxiety to better its negotiating position. If the Europeans perceive delay as costly, as opposed to just inconvenient and offensive, they need to concede something to induce the UK to hurry up.

One role reversal is that Germany is acting as the moderating force. It’s not hard to see why: Germany loses most from a Brexit. For instance, the UK is a big market for its auto industry and the car-makers also have some operations located there. It’s not just that a leaving the EU means more border costs. The UK will also be poorer by virtue of sterling being weaker. That means Britain will wind up importing less. Cars are big-ticket discretionary purchases and are likely to suffer a lot. Consumers will keep their current cars longer and many will buy cheaper models when they do get a new vehicle.

Even though Merkel is the public face of the “don’t push the British to hurry along” campaign, her views are reportedly shared by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.***

The Financial Times account gives a clear picture of the sour mood:

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has attempted to rein in pressure from within Europe to force Britain quickly to trigger divorce proceedings with the EU, saying that while “it shouldn’t take forever”, rushing into an exit was unwarranted.

Ms Merkel’s cautious words, coming during a day-long gathering of her CDU/CSU bloc, came in stark contrast to those from other EU leaders, including European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and even some within her own government, pushing for immediate Brexit.

Mr Juncker told German media that he would like Brexit proceedings “to get started immediately”…
Similarly, foreign ministers of the founding six EU states, who held a hastily arranged meeting in Berlin on Saturday, also urged quick action…

The hardline stance from many within the EU’s Franco-German axis sets up the first of what is expected to be months, and potentially years, of contentious disputes with London over Brexit…

The diplomatic dust-up was only part of the growing reverberations over the UK’s historic Brexit vote…French president François Hollande met far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Saturday as one of a series of meetings he held with opposition leaders, a clear sign of the populist leader’s elevated stature following the Brexit vote…

The difference in tone between Ms Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, was reflective of tension within Germany…Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat and the European Parliament chief, said it was “scandalous” that British prime minister David Cameron may stay in office until October, so holding up talks. Speaking on German television late on Friday, he said Mr Cameron had “taken a whole continent hostage for the internal party considerations” of the Tories.

The German media still hopes that Britain will be able to play the game with voters that Penelope did with her suitors: stringing them along for years (in her case, decades). But the threat of the possible dissolution of the UK makes that even harder to achieve without a voter backlash. And a politician’s prime objective is his personal survival.

George Soros, who despite making successful bets against the pound, is a believer in EU, is more willing to say what is at stake than the vengeful EU leaders. His Project Syndicate piece is worth reading in full. Key sections:

Now the catastrophic scenario that many feared has materialized, making the disintegration of the EU practically irreversible. Britain eventually may or may not be relatively better off than other countries by leaving the EU, but its economy and people stand to suffer significantly in the short to medium term….

But the implications for Europe could be far worse. Tensions among member states have reached a breaking point, not only over refugees, but also as a result of exceptional strains between creditor and debtor countries within the eurozone. At the same time, weakened leaders in France and Germany are now squarely focused on domestic problems. In Italy, a 10% fall in the stock market following the Brexit vote clearly signals the country’s vulnerability to a full-blown banking crisis – which could well bring the populist Five Star Movement, which has just won the mayoralty in Rome, to power as early as next year.

None of this bodes well for a serious program of eurozone reform, which would have to include a genuine banking union, a limited fiscal union, and much stronger mechanisms of democratic accountability….

That is where we are today. All of Europe, including Britain, would suffer from the loss of the common market and the loss of common values that the EU was designed to protect. Yet the EU truly has broken down and ceased to satisfy its citizens’ needs and aspirations. It is heading for a disorderly disintegration that will leave Europe worse off than where it would have been had the EU not been brought into existence.

But we must not give up. Admittedly, the EU is a flawed construction. After Brexit, all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold must band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it. I am convinced that as the consequences of Brexit unfold in the weeks and months ahead, more and more people will join us.

It would be for the best if Soros were right, that the European leaders could recognize why and how the EU and Eurozone went off the track. But one of its underlying principles was a suspicion of democracy and a preference for rule by technocrats. Those experts have done too well from their misrule and are too remote from the victims of their blinkered vision to be able to change course. Europe’s fault lines will thus open into full-bore fractures due to their refusal to abandon the neoliberal policies that sowed the seeds of this revolt.

* What Americans may not appreciate is that Labor by its constitution is not a Parliamentary party. Its leader is elected by the base, not the MPs. So Corbyn is in a position that is analogous to Sanders winning the Presidential election but not being able to house-clean in the Democratic party.

** Some have put forward the idea that Scotland could be allowed to enter the EU as a current member via being part of the UK now. I don’t see how that works. Brussels operates in a strict by the books manner; that’s perceived to be critically important in keeping the EU together, that all the disparate members can rely on the rules. Scotland is not a signatory to any EU treaties and therefore is not a member. Moreover, there are countries who are dutifully going through the entry process who would be righty outraged by Scotland queue jumping them.

*** Schauble did make threats before the Brexit vote, but now that gambit failed, the Finance Ministry recognizes what is at stake.

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  1. William C

    I have seen a comment to the effect that EU lawyers may be capable of great creativity when it comes to deeming that the UK has invoked Article 50. If true, then the Uk may have less control of the timing than it thinks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Brugel disagrees, and I didn’t include this in the post out of space considerations. From their article:

      In a strictly legal sense the referendum of June 23 is binding neither on the UK nor on the EU. In the UK, Parliament has supreme authority, but it is highly unlikely to reverse the mandate delivered by the voters. In the EU, the procedure for separation is set out in some detail in Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (TUE), and places the responsibility for initiating the process in the hands of the relevant member state’s government: ”A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.”

      Article 50 TUE further implies that the government’s notification to the EU sets a clock ticking, which incentivizes the parties to find an agreement on the terms of separation within the following two years. If no such agreement is found after those two years, and in the absence of unanimity of all EU member states to extend the negotiation period, the EU membership of the member states is terminated automatically, which would be so disruptive for the country concerned that any sane government is expected to work hard to find mutually acceptable terms….

      … a joint statement of the heads of all relevant EU institutions on June 24 asked for the negotiation to start quickly: “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave the European Union. We stand ready to launch negotiations swiftly with the United Kingdom regarding the terms and conditions of its withdrawal from the European Union.”…

      In practice, there is little the EU can do now to force an acceleration of the notification process. Article 50, as quoted above, leaves no room for interpretation as to how the process will be triggered. So the EU will have to wait until the domestic political consequences of the vote are sorted out in the UK before the actual business of negotiation can actually start. Just as during the referendum campaign, the EU institutions and all other member states must for the moment remain the spectators of a dramatic development in which they have a huge amount at stake.

      And as indicated in the post, the Eurocrats are much more rule and procedure-bound than Anglos. Creative lawyering is not their way.

      The referendum was explicitly non-binding. Until Parliament passes the relevant legislation, the vote has no legal standing. In addition, EU citizens have rights. The UK could easily counter-sue for impermissibly (or prematurely) stripping UK citizens of their rights. This was raised as a serious issue for Grexit advocates, that Greek citizens could sue the Greek government over the loss of their EU citizenship.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats interesting, and it is consistent with my personal experience of European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions – they very much follow the German/Scandinavian model of ‘straight arrow’ interpretations – which of course puts them in conflict with the ‘creative lawyering’ model of the Common Law jurisdictions and the ‘hey whatever, its just a piece of paper’ legal model of the Mediterranean countries.

        I do think that the issue of when the UK makes its A.50 declaration is key. I think there will be an enormous temptation to keep pushing that date further and further away. The next election is in 2020. As I argued yesterday, a potential ‘let out’ for the Remain lobby is to simply put off the declaration until 2018 or later citing domestic issues, and then have Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens unite on a platform of Remain. In other words, turn the election into a new referendum. With Parliament sovereign, there would therefore be a perfectly legal way for a new government to ignore the referendum.

        Of course, if the government was to collapse in the Autumn (quite possible), then that could happen even earlier than expected. I can’t honestly see a Boris led Conservative party winning, even with the Labour party in disarray.

        1. William C

          Yes, I have now picked up suggestions the UK will follow a ‘Penelope’ strategy whereby they never invoke Article 50, say they are always preparing the ground but never actually get round to taking the irrevocable step. Tell hoi poloi its all very complicated and will take a little longer until everyone pretty much forgets the referendum took place. Time will tell. I am not sure how well such an approach would play with the other member states, though.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I think that will only work up until the next election, where every party will have little choice but to say where they stand on it.

            As I’ve said here before, if a party stands on a policy of not following through, that is a de facto mandate to scrap the referendum result.

            1. m-ga

              The trouble is with that is, I can’t see any way that the Conservatives can stand on a mandate of reversing the referendum result.

              After all, it was Johnson and Gove “what won it”. Cameron resigned as a result, and the Brexit voters will now reasonably expect either Johnson/Gove, or a Conservative following the mandate that Johnson and Gove just won, to take the helm. The new Conservative leader can’t very well include reversal of Brexit as a manifesto pledge.

              The exception to this, I suppose, is if the parliamentary Conservative party conspire to ensure that the two candidates they put forward for the members of the Conservative party to choose from, will both oppose Brexit. I think (would have to check) there are enough pro-EU Conservative MPs to do this. The problem, though, is that the Brexit voters will see the move, with some justification, as an undemocratic stitch-up. The Conservatives would basically quash the wing of their own party that supports Brexit.

              Labour could certainly stand in a general election on a platform of reversing Brexit. And they’d probably win. The difficulty is: why on Earth would the Conservatives allow an early general election in circumstances under which the Conservatives will lose?

              If the UK waits until the scheduled May 2020 general election, and the Conservatives somehow stall Article 50 until May 2020, there will have been nearly four years of uncertainty about Britain’s role in Europe before the Brexit referendum result could be democratically overturned. It’s way too long. The EU won’t stand for it. Perhaps more importantly for the UK, the lack of UK investment due to the uncertainty would be crippling.

              The Conservatives will need to find another way to kick the Brexit issue into the long grass. If, that is, kicking it into the long grass is what the Conservatives intend. They might actually go ahead and leave. We’ll have to see how bloody the leadership contest gets.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, I agree that that rare breed, the sensible Conservative is in something of a bind. Its clear from the voting patterns that a lot of Conservatives, presumably mostly the middle class comfortable ones, were very much for Remain. There is a risk for them of driving them to, say, the Lib Dems if they were to revive. But its also clear that whoever replaces Cameron is likely to be a Brexiter, unless there is a real internal revulsion over giving power to Boris or Gove or the like. So I don’t really see where they can go, except cling on to power and either go populist with a quick Article 50 move, or try to talk Brexit to the public, while quietly pushing the can down the road.

                1. m-ga

                  Johnson has just surfaced, with an outline of his vision for Brexit:


                  It retains access to the single market, but also control of UK borders via a points system. As has been discussed here and elsewhere, that crosses red lines for the rest of the EU. Johnson doesn’t outline how he will bend the will of the rest of the EU on this matter.

                  Johnson also states that, over a period of time, the UK will extract itself from EU legislation and will be able to set its own laws, presumably on everything currently determined by Brussels.

                  It sounds wonderful. I can’t imagine him having any pushback.

              2. Fiver

                This could have been stopped in its tracks by Cameron within an hour of the vote – he had a perfectly valid option available, which was to acknowledge the outcome, but direct the issue as to next steps, including whether to consider the referendum binding, to Parliament for a near-certain “Remain” victory coupled with clear language indicating intention of change, to be followed by an election without Cameron. Blaming this on Corbyn is disingenuous given something so politically blunt as a referendum was not his idea, nor could it (a referendum) afford anyone the sort of room for meaningful nuance that is essential to make anything possibly work politically. Cameron now sits in an immensely powerful position because his non-resignation ploy was not immediately crushed by elite opinion – that Cameron has not been flayed is deeply troubling.

      2. Fiver

        ‘Speaking on German television late on Friday, he said Mr Cameron had “taken a whole continent hostage for the internal party considerations” of the Tories.’

        I’m afraid I have to agree with this guy’s take given the clear path available to Cameron if he had been a genuine champion of ‘Remain’ and in any way principled. I think a reference of this to Parliament by Cameron or a successor if Cameron resigned, with language that recognized the message without accepting the verdict would pass fairly readily with the proper tone of response from leaders – it’s more than a little remarkable to me that given all the times Western Governments have moved aggressively to undo the damage of a badly fumbled political football, this would be the one time the Government, instead of quickly re-asserting authority, chose instead to honour ‘the result’ of what was known to be a non-binding referendum thus conferring legitimacy it need not have, had it been kicked to Parliament to put down the insurrection with a commitment to Leavers to be taken seriously in future on some important issues.

      3. Anonymous

        Very interesting. A question: I am an EU citizen living in the UK. My two young children are UK born, and therefore have a UK passport, which is currently an EU passport. If UK exits, can they sue their government for losing their EU status?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As I said, that was raised as a danger to the Greek government with a Grexit. But operationally I have no idea how someone would lodge a case.

        2. proximity1

          My two young children are UK born, and therefore have a UK passport, which is currently an EU passport. If UK exits, can they sue their government for losing their EU status?

          I’ll answer for no charge and if you want second opinion– a professional one–you can ask your family’s solicitors:

          Your children’s suit would go nowhere fast. That’s because what they’ve “lost”– if they really did (aren’t they dual-nationals by your nationality?) — by the referendum vote were certain privileges of their U.K. citizenship, but not rights. There’s no right to E.U. member-nation status devolving on any of its member -states’ citizens. E.U. membership is voluntary and subject to the terms and the acceptance of the organization.

    2. Paul Greenwood

      Then they should read Article 50 Section 1
      It is quite explicit. I suggest you read it too and perhaps you should reflect that English lawyers are the flexible ones, European legal practice is completely different from English practice

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      If you believe anything The Guardian writes, particularly with regards Jeremy Corbyn, you are in deep trouble – the newspaper has been gunning for him sine early July last year during the Labour leadership Election, the one where the membership rebelled against the Parliamentary Labour Party, this being the same PLP who’s core voters in many districts voted to leave the EU, for which they now blame Corbyn, who’s not the Prime Minister and who did not call for a Referendum. Alas facts and honesty mean nothing to Blairites. Shameful, absolutely shameful.

      1. m-ga

        You can get the same story from the Huffington Post if you prefer:

        Or wait until it’s in the Morning Star tomorrow (they don’t appear to publish on Sundays).

        Labour can’t position themselves on Brexit. Their support is split between young, professional metropolitan types, who voted to remain, and the working class in neglected areas of England, who voted to leave. It’s not going to be possible to satisfy both at once.

        1. Older & Wiser

          Another Brexit fault line is DEBTORS vs. SAVERS.
          This will also be a major split elsewhere (worldwide) possibly ruling the future global financial system.

        2. fosforos

          Scotlands EU membership problem can be finessed, with a little imagination. They could find a Stuart heiress, install her as the legitimate Queen of the UK, and thereby assume the UK place in the EU. England would be forced either to remain part of a UK in Europe and ruled from Edinburgh, or to secede simultaneously from the EU and UK in total unnegotiated nakedness!

      2. paul

        The guardian is pretty irredeemable now,If someone said Jeremy hadn’t brushed his teeth for the full three minutes this morning, it would be a front page splash.
        Things are certainly fucking crazy right now, and the guardian is not helping one bit.

    2. hemeantwell

      Maybe so, but I’ve concluded that when it comes to reporting on Corbyn, the Guardian deserves a vote of no confidence.

      Tariq Ali, for years a friend of Corbyn, has said that Corbyn was in favor of Brexit but had to take a position reflecting the party majority:

      Presumably he can offer a “now that we’ve voted, lets make the best of it” program that winnows out the most regressive features of the Leave case and challenges the right wing of Labor as they try attempt to wangle a reversal of both the votes that put him in office and the vote to leave the EU.

      1. m-ga

        Backing Brexit is likely to cost Corbyn a lot of his support.

        The LibDems are already trying to stage a comeback (they got wiped out in the 2015 General Election) by positioning themselves as a pro-EU party, who will reverse the Brexit process:

        I can’t really see anywhere for Labour to go. However they position themselves over the next few months, their voter base is likely to dwindle. I think that will be the case regardless of how the coup against Corbyn works out.

        The Conservatives appear equally divided. But the difference is that the Conservatives have a commons majority until 2020, and (from their previous form) are likely to cohere quickly in the interest of retaining power.

        I think that Brexit will be played out entirely as a Conservative party issue, with all other UK political parties irrelevant. The one exception is the SNP. But even here, I don’t think Sturgeon can actually force anything.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The Remain group within Labour is not just the right wing. As the voting patterns show, it is the under 45’s who were overwhelmingly for Remain, and this includes a huge chunk of Corbyn’s personal support, the people who brought him into power. For Labour to embrace Brexit it would jettison a very large chunk of youthful supporters, it would be very damaging. The only bright spot for them would be that those voters don’t have many options unless they are in one of the few constituencies with a strong Green party.

        1. m-ga

          You’re right. It’s very precarious for Labour right now.

          Any party in the UK which can represent the 49% who voted Remain is likely to be swept into power. They’d also get the Brexiters with buyer’s remorse. Power is lying in the street.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Exactly so. The civil war in Labour now is completely insane. This is a huge opportunity for them to sweep up that 48% and split the Conservatives by standing on a ‘negotiated return in exchange for a reformed Europe’ stand.

            1. m-ga

              That would be great, but I’m not sure it’s on the cards.

              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 reasons 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, invoking Article 50 would be a disaster. It would be foolhardy even if the desire is to leave as soon as possible. The moment Article 50 is triggered, what basically follows is the break-up of the UK under EU direction.

              Corbyn looks out of touch with the entire issue.

              1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

                I don’t think Corbyn could handle being assistant manager at McDonald’s.

          2. Kulantan

            Except that it would have to be a single issue party. Remain and Leave have support across the political spectrum. Going full remain for Labour would loose them a lot of life long Labour voters. It also raises the spectre of the Tories, Labour and the Lib dems going for the Remain vote leaving UKIP with the other 50% of the UK’s voters.

            1. m-ga

              I think that once the implications of Brexit become apparent, support will plummet.

              There are already indications of this. The Leave campaign was so mendacious that the vote was not an accurate gauge of public opinion on the question (leaving the EU) presented. Once the 51% who voted Leave realise that they’ve put in motion a major recession, and the break-up of the UK, they will want a change of direction. This particularly applies to those who voted Leave as a protest.

              There is only one way that support for Brexit can go, and that is down. This might even be far along by the time the Conservatives pick a leader in October.

              The remaining Brexiters would comprise just a couple of groups:

              • Those who have taken a principled (i.e. anti-neoliberal) anti-EU stance.
              • UKIP supporters and their Tory party equivalents.

              Neither of these groups is very big. To observers from outside the UK, it might seem that the first group should be big. But (I can’t speak for the whole country), many on the left who might be inclined to dislike the EU in fact favour it as a brake on Tory ambitions.

              1. Kulantan

                I think you may be underestimating the possibilities. Even if support dropped by 20% Leave will still be the issue for 30% of the Population. If the other 70% is split three or more ways then UKIP has a serious chance. If Remain is the position of all the major parties then UKIP looms like an iceberg.

                1. m-ga

                  UKIP would still have to cope with the first past the post system, which disadvantages them.

                  Furthermore, UKIP are unlikely to peel off too many pro-Leave Conservative voters. It might be possible for them to do so if there was a high level Conservative defection to UKIP. But such a defection is basically impossible – e.g. there is zero chance of Johnson or Gove switching sides.

                  And UKIP won’t do as well at winning over the working class Labour supporters in England, as the SNP have done in Scotland. Although UKIP and the SNP are both nationalist parties, UKIP has a lot of racist baggage that is appalling to a large chunk of the working class Labour electorate. Those people are more likely to stay home, or to hold their noses and vote for whoever Labour fields in their constituency, than they are to vote for UKIP.

                  A final problem for UKIP is that they don’t look like a protest vote anymore. As a result of this, their support must (ceteris parabus) to some degree decline – people who used to think a UKIP vote was a bit of jape won’t be so amused as the UK falls to pieces around them.

                  So, I don’t think UKIP is really a problem.

                  A larger danger is the Conservatives veering even further to the right. It would basically be UKIP policies, but under the Conservative banner. That thought is truly frightening.

                  1. William C

                    I agree in general about the first past the post argument. The problem is of course that it can suddenly cease to be a problem when you reach a critical point when it starts to play in your favour.

                    On the details of the vote, if you adjust for the turnout differences between the age groups, it suggests the true majority of the adult opinion in the UK was in fact to stay but this was masked by the higher turnout among the old. So if the Government does invoke Article 50 it will probably be going against the true majority opinion.

                    From a practical policy making perspective, this must be one of the most disastrous acts of misgovernment in world history and certainly the biggest cock-up in the UK since the Second World War.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      The election had high turnout, which was widely considered to favor Remain. so I doubt you’d get different proportions of age representation on a do-over. Older people generally do vote in higher proportions than the young. Working people and people with families have busy schedules. Even if they intend to vote, shit happens during their day and some wind up not getting to the polls.

                      The buyer’s regret factor is another matter….

                  2. Kulantan

                    The question is if any party other than UKIP is going to try for the Leave vote. There is a decent chance that the Tories are going to give it a go. If that ends up the case I’m not as worried about the Leavers having nowhere else to go.

                    As for the idea that because UKIP doesn’t look like a joke anymore that their support must decline, yeah good luck with that. It hasn’t happened with Trump, I see no particular reason why it should happen with UKIP.

            2. PlutoniumKun

              I haven’t seen the full breakdown, but according to Paul Mason in the Guardian and a few other commentators I’ve seen, the exit polls suggest that in fact Labour did firmly deliver a Remain vote – something like 80% of Labour voters went that way. Its only by assuming that ‘working class’ voters are Labour voters (which is certainly not the case), that it looks like Labour didn’t deliver.

              If those figures are right, then there is very little to lose for Labour to take on a firm policy of reversing the decision as soon as they are elected. There is no evidence of an appetite among Labour voters for Brexit.

              1. Paul Greenwood

                Exit Polls are stupid. Polls should be banned altogether, they are interference in electoral process

  2. digi_owl

    In the end this was basically a big payback from the industrial workers and their descendants for the Thatcher era devastation of UK industry.

    As long as the nation remains current account deficient, it is the internal industry and service workers that suffer the most.

    EU has, perhaps since its founding, become about disciplining the industry workers.

    It just so happens that the xenophobic right can score points on this by framing it as “they are stealing your jobs”.

    And this in turn makes it an impossible topic to discuss, as it automatically puts the social left into “victim” mode.

    1. juliania

      “. . .framing it as “they are stealing your jobs”. . .

      That is not a frame. It is written in the EU guidelines – free movement of capital, free movement of citizenry. And Britain was sending the EU more billions than it was getting back for its own programs, substantially more. They gain by being out.

      I find it fascinating that the Labour Party doesn’t represent labourers. Food for thought.

    2. Pookah Harvey

      According to investigative journalist Greg Palast; Nobel winnng economist Robert Mundell, who is thought to be the father of the Euro, designed the EU to take macroeconomics away from elected politicians and forcing deregulation were part of the plan .

      The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government’s control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.

      “It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians,” he said. “[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”

      He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace

      Mundell was also the driving force for Reagan’s supply side economics.

  3. Brick

    I guess I need to apologise for my vote because you see I was really quite selfish in the way I voted. I am unhappy that the commissioner system in the EU can over rule all democratic process, look on with sadness as some industries in the UK are destroyed by arbitrary rules from the EU, and wayward countries like Greece are trashed, while elites in the EU appeal to lose complete touch with everyday people.

    In the run up to the election we saw disgraceful behaviour from both sides of the argument while others were too afraid to enter the fray. Money and investment was promised ten times over while nobody could really explain how trade deals really benefit everyday people or how arts science and sport get a lot of support from the EU. Some politicians just wanted extra power for their own agendas like curbing unions while it appeared that every politician was still back in the 1980s trying to re open the issues from back then rather than dealing with today’s issues of globalisation, automation and ageing populations (Perhaps John Hempton at bronte capital is right and its all about delayed consumption).Much of the tabloid media cheer leaded anything that would sell rather than informing. Obama visited and was too subtle in explaining that if you have less negotiating power then things like your governments right to set drug prices might be negotiated away (bye bye NHS)

    Looking at the vote then there are some noticeable trends and implications some of which Yves has touched upon.
    1 Rust cities and towns largely voted to exit.
    2 Cosmopolitan cities were more favourable to remaining.
    3 Scotland and Northern Ireland see English Politics as completely irrelevant to them.
    4 London is afraid of what Boris Johnson might do if given more power.
    5 The political left does not have a consistent message.
    6 Rural areas who by and large have not seen much immigration want investment rather than austerity.
    7 A lot of people voted on gut instinct in the end.
    8 The older generation want a return to the 1960s regardless of whether the world has changed and it is achievable.

    The most striking difference in voting was between young people and older people. The opening of the Glastonbury festival by all accounts was sombre as the result was perceive as a blow to the war on intolerance. They see a world where if companies globalise then they should be able to pick and choose which country to live in so that they can have the best lifestyle. Their answer to globalisation might be rapid global movement of workers where companies have a work force one day and it is gone the next to another country. Not all the younger generation perceive this the same and not everybody can afford the time or money to go to Glastonbury. There are those who are trapped in a spiral, enslaved by work for whom even the smallest promise of respite or change is a glimmer of hope.

    I voted to remain but largely to align myself with what I perceive to be the young generations choice. I am selfish and want the younger generation to look favourably on my generation when I move into retirement. The younger generation given a chance will decide the fate of the NHS , pensions and how older people are treated. My conscience is deeply troubled that I may be tainted by neo liberalism and although I know those on the edges of mainstream society I may not fully understand. My instinct is that local decisions work best while being balanced by the need for a large voice and concentrated power is bad. I think i have failed miserably to understand how it should work like many others and have somehow ducked my responsibility. So my respects go out to all those who voted on a very hard choice however they voted.

    What have we done except stir up generational discontent, suspicion of our neighbours, distrust of those with a different creed or colour. The peoples voice has become fragmented which I guess plays right into the hands of the elites. Will we now rebuild Hadrian s wall to stop the English leaving (Many professionals are discussing leaving). Britain seems to be a lonely voice (Soon to be followed by Holland and Germany if my guess is right) struggling with a global issue (do we need a global central bank which can print sterilised money for infrastructure?) while tearing itself apart. Since over one million people have signed a petition for a re vote I guess this must now be discussed in parliament and we get to tear ourselves apart even more.

    Apologies to all for not being concise or focused, but I hope it gives a flavour of the torment the British people have faced.

    1. Mark J. Lovas

      Your comments are worth more than a dozen official pieces of so-called reporting……

    2. nothing but the truth

      Britain’s problem is not the EU.

      Britain now has an economy that is mostly asset based (cough… laundering). This has shut out almost everyone who is not connected to the crony/London money circuit. You want to say the right things to remain in that circuit. (Tony Blair, after all, works finally for Goldman Sachs – the sinecure that Faust sells his soul for).

      The “other” then is not really color or creed or languange based – it is based on access to the money circuit.

      The “other” is now mad with anger and has used its MAD weapon to vote for destruction of the system. Same might happen in the US.

      The root of all this is eventually a corrupt and back-scratching financial system that has corrupted the political system.

      It got that way thanks to the paper money system that gives eventually almost infinite power to the financial institutions, who pay protection money to the politicians and keep them in their pocket. How else do you think Killary makes 200 million a year by “speaking”?

      1. Lambert Strether

        There’s the “real economy” and then there’s the “unreal economy.”

        What is that sound high in the air
        Murmur of maternal lamentation
        Who are those hooded hordes swarming
        Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
        Ringed by the flat horizon only
        What is the city over the mountains
        Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
        Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
        Vienna London

        — T.S. Eliot, “What the Thunder Said,” The Wasteland

        I don’t think the reactionary Eliot meant anything at all like what I have just projected onto his words — “reforms,” especially — but then again, that’s what art is for so who cares? :-)

        1. ekstase

          Hooray for saying that! And in his repentant afterlife, (here, I’m guessing), perhaps the author even thanks you for re-purposing his work to a better end. If you’re gonna create things for posterity, you take your chances.

    3. abynormal

      Beautiful Example of the Mind & Heart dueling issues! Thank You Brick for sharing what ALL global citizens will or are facing…may our Minds & Hearts strengthen as they grow into it.

    4. Carla

      I really do not understand why no one brings up the elephant on the planet: the jobs lost to globalization are never coming back, due to automation. Never, ever. In a world that defines human purpose as work, only a small technocratic elite will have a purpose. This is not some matter for the distant future; it is NOW.

      Do I believe that we could conceivably transition to a much better world? Yes, I want to believe it. But how on earth can we do that if we can’t even admit the reality of what is happening?

      Robert McChesney and John Nichols recently wrote a decent book about this: “People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.” As far as I can tell, it sank like a stone.

      1. Benedict@Large

        The idea that we are running out of job is popular among today’s orthodox economists, but they are looking for excuses for the failure of their belief systems. The idea is actually absurd. We will not run out of jobs until everyone has everything they desire. Before that time, there will always be jobs providing for our unmet desires.

        1. Carla

          That’s pretty neat, B@L. I feel better now. It’s great to know that the unmet desires of the approximately 6.5 billion people on this planet who struggle to meet their families’ daily needs for food, shelter and clothing are going to provide good jobs for all. What a relief!

    5. Paul Greenwood

      6 Rural areas who by and large have not seen much immigration want investment rather than austerity.

      rural areas WHICH………. you mean Boston in Lincolnshire not rural ? Where do you think agriculture exists, in Hyde Park ?

      What do you think the areas surrounding Bradford are ? It is surrounded by farmland stretching from Baildon to the Dales with enormous amounts of sheep-rustling. Bradford is Polish or Russian or Urdu speaking – try move in Leeds Market and imagine English as a language – go to Hull and look at the street of Polski Sklep…….go look at Polish registration plates on cars avoiding UK insurance and road tax – go look at the Balti Restaurant in Manchester running vans on Polish plates

      It is lovely to know London is “cosmopolitan” but not as “cosmopolitan” as Beirut. It is simply very rich from Finance or Law or Media in Notting Hill, Primrose Hill, West End, Hampstead, middle class in Hackney and Islington; and downright poor in Lambeth and in the ghettoes around Canary Wharf and parts of Harrow.

      “Cosmpolitan” means rich and fine dining with private schools with nice uniforms and Range Rovers with ski-racks

  4. Ven

    It is worth reading Tony Benn on the 1975 referendum:

    An extract:

    “Parliamentary Democracy because it entrenches the rights of the people to elect and dismiss Members of Parliament, also secures the continuing accountability of Members of Parliament to the electorate, obliging Members of .Parliament to listen to the expression of the British people’s views at all times, between, as well as during, general elections, and thus offers a continuing possibility of peaceful change through Parliament to meet the people’s needs. British Membership of the Community by permanently transferring sovereign legislative and financial powers to Community authorities, who are not directly elected by the British people, also permanently insulates those authorities from direct control by the British electors who cannot dismiss them and whose views, therefore, need carry no weight with them and whose grievances they cannot be compelled to remedy.”

    The Brexit vote and the proximate cause of immigration needs to be seen through to the disenfranchisement of much of the population, by its own political representatives – as even Labour, under successive leaders, have courted the rich. If Labour does not quickly address this, and instead moves to undemocratically remove Corbyn, they will face the same electoral defeat in England that they suffered in Scotland (where the SNP was more socialist that Labour). And such a vacuum can only suck us to the populist far right.

  5. Skippy

    “US presidential candidate Donald Trump has played down market turmoil in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on a visit to his Trump International golf course in Scotland.
    Key points:

    Donald Trump meets with Rupert Murdoch on a visit to his golf course in Scotland
    Mr Trump has dismissed fears of global economic instability after the Brexit vote
    Key Republican figures have announced they will not be voting for Mr Trump

    Wearing an open-necked shirt, a suit and a white baseball cap with his slogan “Make America great again”, Mr Trump was asked if he was worried about the volatility in financial markets following Britain’s vote to leave the EU on Thursday.

    “There’s always turmoil no matter where you go, no matter what you do,” he said.

    He also met with News Corporation media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife Jerry Hall, giving them a tour of the Aberdeen course in a golf cart.

    Disheveled Marsupial…. file under cognitive bias and a weird scene of entitlement…. might have been all the coke they all did… Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up – – like lead in gasoline – petrol…..

    1. craazyman

      200 Peanut Gallery bonus points for Rick Astley reference! :-)

      I remember when that song first came out. haha. all the girls were screaming.

      It’s an awesome song.

      1. Skippy

        Ohhh…. craazyman what would NC do without you…

        This might require the powers of another glass of Honeycomb Margret River Chard…. how will we meet the inevitable… shall I ware my old green Paulo Solari athletic fit suit or the Oscar de la Renta yacht club blue blazer w/ off setting trousers and Façonnable classique shirt… or still my beating heart some vintage Ben Sherman scrounged from aardvarks in Hermosa beach…. not to forget my old camel hair jacket with suede elbow patches and jeans w/ docksiders… will it clash with my Khuri knife… sha la la la la…. has me a bottle Mister Jones….

        Disheveled Marsupial…. Sancta Susanna op.21 (1921) ‘signifies a desecration of our cultural institutions’ such was the advent of WII for some … eh…. –

        1. craazyman

          it’s gonna be 1985 all over again — shopping wise that is — when the pound hits $1.00 parity

          Brexit is the best thing that could ever happen to a discerning gentleman with an eye for classical British tailoring

          I wore my Joseph A Bank green raincoat down so threadbare I looked like Peter Falk from Colombo. That plus my Camel Hair Paul Stuart sportcoat from the 1980s, were, I think, an impediment to ‘getting laid’.

          No more. I’m about to buy a very very cool black Burberry raincoat — nearly $2000. That’s gonna be a lot cheaper now! John Lobb Cheslea boots were about $1800 two weeks ago. In a month or two they might be $1200. Edward Green Invernesses below $1000! Whoa! Church’s, the manly shoe of my youth, under $500! I’ll take the Chetwynds for sure.

          This is gonna be awesome, Drakes ties and sweaters! On FX sale!

          Incredible. Maybe even a Saville Row suit or two.

          Never gonna give them up
          They’re never gonna let me down
          gonna get a Drakes tie
          and shirt too!

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Just a slight qualification on the issue of Corbyn and the Labour party (which, even as I write, seems about to tear itself apart).

    Corbyn was always I think a particular outlier in the Labour Party in his past anti-EU stance. He was part of a small group of left wingers who always argued that membership of the EU would constrain the chances of a Socialist government taking full control of the economy. But this was always something of a minority view, even among the so called Hard Left of the party.

    My reading of the Labour Party membership (strictly anecdotal on the basis of having several friends over the years who were grassroots activists), is that the majority were moderately pro-EU, and that includes the left wing section. Crucially, all the evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of new members who swept Crobyn to power were younger, pro-EU members. For most younger left of centre activists, the EU represents free movement, better environmental policies, reducing roaming charges on their smartphones when they travel, access to good European healthcare, etc. They just don’t associated with Capitalism. Corbyn recognised this, in turning more lukewarm pro-European.

    But I think its wrong to suggest that it was the ‘grassroots’ of the Labour party which lead to a poor Labour Remain campaign. I think the Labour grassroots were very much in favour, although many felt that they should let the Tory’s stew in their discomfort over it. It was not labour grassroots activists who voted Brexit, it was Labour voters who voted Brexit – precisely the same Labour voters who would frequently switch vote to UKIP or other far right parties. This was the fundamental problem for Corbyn and the Labour Party, and something which the former Blairites still refuse to understand.

    1. Skippy

      So the faux left has a tanty and throws its toys out of the playpen whilst leaving everyone else to clean up the mess…. they helped to create…. special….

    2. m-ga

      That’s pretty much how I’d read it.

      Corbyn is in danger of losing the grassroots support which got him elected in the first place. If that happens, he’s toast. He needs a plan, and quickly, to preserve those aspects of EU membership which his grassroots support enjoyed, whilst also placating the disenfranchised former Labour electorate which just voted Leave. This is a hard row to hoe!

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Agreed – if anything, Labours challenge is much harder than the Conservatives. There is a real split between younger Labour supporters who see no contradiction between being anti-globalisation and yet also cosmopolitan and internationalist. They love free movement in Europe and love being part of something that isn’t a corrupt post Imperialist island. It is the older, more fearful element of Labours working class support that fears immigration and is deeply resentful (rightfully) of London elites. Trying to find a way between those perspectives will be very difficult indeed.

        1. polecat

          b at Moon of Alabama states that the young remain voters are a small (5%+/-) cohort of the vote to stay….. is this true?… and what are the implications if so?

          what say the board??

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I don’t see where Moon of Alabama says that? Every exit poll I’ve seen indicates that there was an overwhelming Remain vote among the under 35’s, it was almost entirely older voters who created the Brexit majority.

    3. John k

      Sounds a lot like Bernie bros… They can’t vote for Ukip, but they can vote for trump.
      Many will.
      Imagine in the swing states a third go shill, a third go green or stay home, and a third go trump. This means that as a group they totally disappear from the dem party.
      Shill thinks she can make up for this with reps… But she mainly appeals to the neo-con neo-lib rep elites, and most of these are in NY or VA, not swing states. Most reps hate the clintons, so even those that don’t much like trump will vote for him.

      Plus, the swing states swing in part because there is great discontent there with status quo… And shill is exactly that except more confrontation. Think of her as bush II third term.

    4. Darthbobber

      Among the parliamentary party and its water-carriers at the Guardian, there was scant attention to what Corbyn was actually doing and saying, which was to make a nuanced remain case that did something other than rely entirely on shaming all leavers as either racists or dinosaurs (which was the preferred tactic of many remainers, and which was never going to work.)

      Labor did indeed return an overwhelming remain vote among its constituents. (By the most conservative estimates over two thirds.) More than that was not likely to be forthcoming, and if it was, it could only have been by methods more like Corbyn’s, rather than the utterly ham-handed “remain because Farage is a bad guy”, and “remain because otherwise the sky will fall and the world will end” campaign that the lisping oxbridge wonks went with.

      The leave margin in the “labor heartlands” was predictable under these circumstances. They are “labor heartlands” largely because of first-past-the-post in parliamentary elections (which does not apply in a single-issue referendum, obviously). In many of those reporting areas half or nearly half of the electorate is some combination of Tory, libdem or UKIP. With Cameron failing to hold even 40% of Tories for remain (and doing worse at it the farther from London you got), with the UKIPers obviously being nearly 100% leave, and the libdems being for the moment of no particular numerical influence, that sea of blue was predictable.

      The present coup is being launched by people who never did, from the beginning, accept that their constituents had installed Corbyn, and it was always clear that they would try something like this the second they thought their chances were half-decent. For them, the worst-case scenario is that in this chaos labor might actually win a snap election with them not in charge. And THAT is what they see as the direst of all possible outcomes.

      1. Fiver

        Now there’s a useful comment in that it very much helps to explain why Cameron hasn’t been absolutely crucified for throwing everything into an immediate state of flux by accepting the referendum as if it was binding, instead of immediately calling an election or seeking a ‘remain’ vote in Parliament – a vote which today would be handily won by ‘remain’ as the real weight of responsibility cleared some heads. That he has been allowed not only to escape oblivion, but position himself as point man to chart an exit or remain course going forward on his own timetable beggars the imagination – as with Sanders in the US, the UK elite (which includes many from Labour) would rather see Cameron fix things even if very messily, than entertain the thought of Corbyn as a PM who could far more forcefully defend a ‘remain’ that takes full cognizance of the drivers of ‘exit’ but addresses them from a social democratic perspective both within the UK and vis a vis the UK’s position that the EU simply must change.

  7. SeanL

    The Scotland issue is tricky for Europe. Accepting Scotland would set a precedent for other secessionist states such as Spain’s Basque region. Brussels will want to ensure that Scotland doesn’t have easy entry into the EU and will probably try and make it as difficult as possible.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think you can read the Scottish issue two ways – The EU was very anti-independence when the UK was in the EU – mostly because of course countries like Spain were determined not to let the precedent be set that secessionist nations could just stay within the EU. Secessionist movements in places like Catalonia and Corsica always argued that they could thrive as small nations within the EU.

      But now the UK is leaving, the calculation changes. If Europe would accept Scotland taking over the UK’s role (there is a sort of precedent with this with Greenland leaving the EU), then it sends the message ‘leave the EU and face a break up of your country as small regions seek to stay in’. This could have powerful resonance in Italy in particular, which could also face a break-up if it was to leave the EU.

      So in reality, I think there would be genuine enthusiasm for doing a deal with Scotland. Certainly small countries like Ireland would strongly support them (the more small nations in the EU the better as far as they are concerned), and letting them in would be a very effective revenge on the Tory elite (bearing in mind the full name of the Tory’s is the Conservative and Unionist Party). It would be seen as a strong counter to the forces threatening to tear the EU apart.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Diageo have history on this – they include Guinness, and when Ireland became independent, they shifted to London to take advantage of more favourable tax rates (the brewery stayed in Dublin, too big to move).

          1. Art Vanderlay

            Diageo was founded in 1997.

            Ireland became independent in 1922.

            Guinness was founded – in Dublin – in 1759. St James’ Gate in Dublin has been its home ever since.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Diageo was founded as a merger by Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997. Guinness is brewed in Dublin but was registered on the London Stock Exchange since 1922, not the Dublin Stock Exchange as it was prior to independence.

      1. johnnygl

        Suddenly, brussels has a new weapon to threaten its member states with! Easy membership access for breakaway states!

        Just like bail ins and crushing payments systems, it’s an incredibly dangerous weapon that may help maintain discipline for a time but will soon bring unintended consequences. Sounds perfect for them!!!!

        1. Barmitt O'Bamney

          Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the original stated objective of the EU was to prevent wars in Europe, not to foment them?

    2. visitor

      Some have put forward the idea that Scotland could be allowed to enter the EU as a current member via being part of the UK now. I don’t see how that works.

      What I remember from a course on public international law (long, long ago), there is a principle that in case of a country split, every newly created country automatically “inherits” the treaties and conventions (and obligations) between the original, undivided state, and other states or entities — except if those treaties contain explicit contrary provisions. I believe there was a specific technical legal term describing this procedure, but I cannot remember it.

      Which makes perfect sense. Nobody wants a country completely devoid of any legal bounds with other states.

      So the real question is: are there any provisions in the EU treaties (Rome, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, Lisbon, etc) that prevent a seceding part of a country party to these conventions from “inheriting” them?

  8. moneta

    Cars are a depreciating asset. Importing expensive cars makes you poorer over the long term.

    Cars can only make you rich if they increase your productivity and I’m not sure expensive cars are doing this today for countries importing them… typically, car dependency defines infra spending which ends up being done with no concern for sustainability.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    There seems a huge cognitive dissonance going on with the Brexit grouping. They somehow think that they can ‘choose’ their post EU role. In reality, they have no cards to play whatever. The EU (or more specifically Germany and France) will choose their role for them. Now it is entirely possible that they may adopt a pragmatic ‘slowly slowly’ approach, with the hope of luring a future government back in. But I think this is unlikely because:

    1. The UK is, and has been for years, universally loathed within the corridors of the EU. The failure of UK governments, in particular Conservative governments, to accept that the EU existed for any other purpose than extracting money or blaming for domestic problems has long irritated them. But much worse, the complete refusal of the UK to ‘be part of the team’ for years has been highly damaging. The UK has long sent second raters and no-hopers to Brussels, has long been obstructive for the sake of being obstructive, and most crucially, has not built up allies within the European parliament (the fact that the Tory party aligns itself with crankish East European parties instead of the mainstream European centre-right speaks volumes). Quite simply, they have no friends there.

    2. There will be strong voices calling for punishment of the UK ‘pour encourage les autres’. Short term chaos and a collapsing Sterling would be a very good way of pointing out the folly of leaving for those thinking of voting Le Pen or Five Star, etc.

    3. While there are undoubtedly sectors in the EU who will want to preserve access to UK markets, many strong sectors, such as the German car industry, might see this as a very good opportunity to put a knife into the heart of some of their competitors, especially as so many Japanese and Indian car makers are based in the UK. Frankfurt and Paris will see this as an opportunity to severely damage the City of London in their favour. They will be whispering in various ears in Berlin and Brussels.

    4. Some countries, such as Ireland and Poland and France, might well see this as an opportunity to attract inward investment – Ireland has already put together a committee of agencies specifically aimed at persuading UK manufacturers and financial service operators to switch to Ireland as an EU base. A little bit of short term scaremonging would be ideal for them.

    5. Plenty of bureaucrats in Brussels might well be thinking ‘we are tired of everyone blaming the Euro for our problems – if sterling goes down, suddenly the Euro doesn’t seem so bad after all…’

    So I see there as being a lot of potential reasons why Brussels and powerful EU countries may well have a vested interest in creating a short term crisis. In particular, Sterling must be very shaky – a rapid fall could provoke panic in London and would allow the EU to ‘not let a good crisis go to waste’. This may seem cynical, but seeing what happened to Greece, it would be a mistake to underestimate the cynicism of EU leaders. And old mercantilist habits die hard – the Europeans never bought into English liberal ideas that trade was not a zero sum game.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I disagree a bit. Germany has both economic and political considerations that argue for wanting to have the UK at least have an OK trade deal, and they’d rather not have them out. Both the EU and the Eurozone look way too much like the Greater German Co-Prosperity Sphere. Having some big states in that can help buffer the appearance of German dominance (which means also having to put up with them pushing back upon occasion) is worth a lot to Germany. And although NATO is a separate matter, having the UK as the US’s uber poodle makes Germany look like less of a stooge.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think you could interpret that two ways. Yes, Germany definitely would prefer the UK to stay for many reasons (although I think those reasons are not as relevant now as they might have been a few years ago). But they might gamble that taking a very hard line initially would make it more, not less likely that the next UK government decides to change course. The problem as they might see it for a ‘pragmatic’ approach is that it might actually encourage voters in France, Italy and the Netherlands to see ‘Leave’ as a reasonable option.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Remember that one of the biggest cudgels Merkel the EU could threaten to wield against Greece was their control over the payments system through the Euro, as Yves remorselessly showed during the Grexit? crisis.

          The UK retained the pound, and so retains control over its payment system. But that is not the case for France, Italy, and the Netherlands, who are on (or in) the Euro. All the difficulties the Greeks would have had moving to a new currency, showed again remorselessly at NC, apply to these countries as well. Not to say that these countries are not more healthy as political economies than Greece; they are. But it’s still a big issue in the game. Go long currency printers?

          1. John k

            Spain will probably follow French lead. And Podemos might win today, in which case a French Spain alliance to leave might form, far too powerful to ignore or bully.
            Now imagine recession…

          2. washunate

            Lambert, I feel like that’s in the weeds a bit missing the big picture. Economic and Monetary Union is more a French idea than a German one, from the Latin Monetary Union before contemporary Europe to the pushing for fixed exchange rates (snake in a tunnel and all that) in the post-war period pegging national currencies to the then West German mark. More recently, France used German unification as a point of leverage to push continued German commitment to monetary union. Describing it as the Germans leveling monetary threats makes no sense; it’s the other Europeans that didn’t want an independent, freely floating German currency. And it’s especially curious bringing up Greece since the Germans were willing to help Greece leave, and the leaders of the ECB were Italian and Portuguese. The Greeks didn’t want to leave – and more to the point, the Americans didn’t want that, either. The problem in Greece wasn’t the payments systems. The problem was domestic political paralysis in how to deal with insolvent banks and a corrupt oligarchy in the larger global order of the Pax Americana.

            Of course it would take some time to reintroduce national currency units. It would take ‘work’ and ‘effort’ and all that jazz. That in no way means the barriers are insurmountable. France especially is a major nation that could reclaim monetary sovereignty anytime it wanted to. EMU is a policy choice, a foreign partnership, not something forced by technical structures. It’s something France participates in willingly, not something Germany has foist upon its neighbors.

            I think this notion of confusing payments systems with national currency units has created rather more confusion than clarity. A nation doesn’t have to have a national currency unit at all. It can be completely dependent upon a foreign issued currency unit, say, the USD or the euro, and maintain functional domestic systems processing payments. The tradeoffs are political, not technical.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      I think you meant, ‘pour décourager les autres’, but regardless, the gist is clear.

      Wouldn’t this be a rather slippery slope? It’s one thing to savage Greece by putting it on the rack. Greece is a weak state and ironically weaklings often get pounded by those who would be wise to step back and reflect on their own weaknesses. Thus, group-pound. But the UK is hardly a minor player financially or politically. Giving it the same inhumanly brutal treatment is just as likely if not more so to backfire as it is to keep others of similar size/importance in line. Mutinies on the high seas were often caused by unfair treatment to a kindly officer whereas the same treatment to a lowly crew member was overlooked – by the crew.

      Perhaps the sentiment of the moment in the EU higher ups is exasperation, but that will probably give way to more cautious thoughts of self interest?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        So far as I know, the original was ‘pour encourager...’ I think that it changed over the years as tolerance to irony reduced (I could stand corrected on that).

        I agree that taking a hard line on the UK is a different matter than with Greece, but my argument is that in the context, the Germans may feel that a ‘pragmatic’ approach is actually more dangerous. The Germans have always had a tolerance for short term pain if it is seen as achieving long term goals, and the EU is a very long term project for them. I think they will gamble that they can get the UK back in if they play it right – but that if they go too softly, it will lead to an inevitable divorce.

        I would also note that while the UK is no Greece, it is also, in this issue, almost entirely friendless. The only foreign leader of any note who seems happy is Putin, and they can hardly approach Russia for support. I’m sure there must be enormous pressure behind the scenes from the White House and other traditional non-EU allies such as Australia to ‘sort this nonsense out’. The UK has no leverage whatever within Europe, even its traditional Brussels ally Poland is very angry with this (and will be more so if there is a mass movement of Poles back home). Maybe a Pres. Trump will support them, but even that doesn’t seem likely.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Candide and admiral John Byng? Then you’re right, encourager les autres. I can’t keep up with you folks. :-)

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Not to overwork this, your point about German perception (that pragmatism is dangerous) given the context is very well put and consistent with previous behavior, but on your other point, it may have less to do with considering the UK a friend and more with identification. The French can easily identify with the UK, or more precisely England (the sibling they love to criticize – and stronger expressions in the past), even without an easily recognizeable sense of friendship. Moreover, the French people can be exceptionally stubborn as their current struggles over labor rights illustrates. Watching Germany (with whom they do not have a sibling relationship at all) savage England would be strong medicine indeed; tricky stuff.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thats a good point about the French. Its also worth noting that the French have very big investments in the UK, including water and transport operations to even the proposed new nuclear plants. I don’t speak enough French to read their media, however I get the impression from various things I’ve read that there is a real anger by the French against the English, a sense that they’ve been betrayed. There is, however, a long historic link between France and Scotland….

          2. Uahsenaa

            Not to pile on too much, but the other affinity between England and France is that France too is sitting on top of a powder keg of popular discontent, again over a bill that is seen by many as being imposed from without. Yes, England has few friends in the EU, but a fracture between France and Germany would be devastating. If the Germans want to play the long game, they need to realize that the politics of all this in France are very similar to the UK, and the French have a tradition of being loud and vocal about that which the British grumble over in low tones.

            They may be able to afford to take a hard line with the UK, but that won’t be an option if the political situation in France gets even more heated.

        3. John k

          Europe has 100b/yr reasons to be friendly, last thing they want are tariffs. To maintain merchandise trade they will be flexible on services.
          Britain is in the drivers seat, not Eu, as markets instantly recognize. Continent fell much harder than London… But arrogant politicians are slowest to notice when the moving finger writes something new.
          I expect trump to win, and this will occur before negotiations have got very far. He will provide support.

          Eu is on its way to the dustbin, but not quietly or quickly. Will need much popcorn.

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          That is not correct. Germany is a big exporter to England. Merkel is trying hard to moderate the debate in the EU. It’s all over the press. Schauble is in a pickle because his tough talk pre Brexit was posturing (and Schauble doesn’t often posture), and he’s not the sort who likes walking back. We’ll see how he finesses this.

          The UK has one very big friend but that may not be enough.

  10. Pavel

    Let’s not forget it was the Tory party and most specifically Cameron and Johnson who wrought this havoc on England, the UK, the EU, and the world itself. Cameron attempted to placate his eurosceptic party members before the last general election and called an unnecessary referendum. Then Boris, trying to become PM, thought he should lead the Leave camp, probably assuming it wouldn’t win. These two crass and deceitful politicians thus have caused the partial breakup of the EU and the potential breakup of the UK.

    Good riddance to all of them, I say, but there will be some pain along the way.

    And as noted, now the knives are out for Jeremy Corbyn — the one politician with honesty and integrity… the Blairites are trying to blame him (of all people!) for the Brexit vote. How about blaming their own Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, who sold out (very literally) to the wealthy and also blew up the Mideast, causing the massive refugee problem?

      1. John k

        But maybe he wouldn’t quote himself here, the neo-lib and refugee crises as an opportunity to blow up the Eu.

  11. der

    The UK’s and Europe’s leaders have shifted into the crisis mode of urgent, high-stakes weekend meetings. But rather than making progress, these officials have instead exposed gaping differences among the Continental powers and chaos at the top Britain’s Conservative and Labor parties.

    Obviously the Best and Brightest of our English cousin’s in the word’s of our former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “didn’t see it coming.” On the other hand the candidates for the “most powerful position in the world” are more statesperson like. Former Secretary of State Clinton after the Orlando massacre screams hair on fire “terrorist, terrorist, terrorist” before any evidence has been gathered, and successful business entrepreneur Donald Trump steps on Scottish soil and praises the leave vote, clueless to the Scots true wishes to stay.

    It’s argued our Best & Brightest are doing nothing while the planet slowly roasts it’s flora and fauna, I’m of the view that chaos and collapse will come from the Derivative/CDS junkies bets. The slowly rising tide of deflation, just now covering our shoe tops will not be “seen coming” until we are standing chest deep in it. I doubt even then the geniuses who are in charge would lower the lifeboats on the USS Titanic, if they even knew how.

    Stupid or Evil? I think we need a 3rd choice.

  12. econoclasm

    As our Richard Smith observed:
    Corbyn thinks politics is all about committee resolutions and not sharing platforms, and his soft-left intra party opposition just say “tut” when snarled at by working class white men who are furious about immigration and austerity. Right now, Labour has no program to tackle this immigration issue *at all*….

    Now NC is playing into the media scapegoating of Corbyn? And judging his politics by the standards of the xenophobic right, to boot?

    1. Clive

      Richard is right. And I speak as a member of the Labour party and Corbyn supporting to the core (if there is a leadership election, I will be voting for Corbyn again). But Corbyn is suffering as much as anyone from rabbit-in-the-headlights syndrome and Richard identified precisely the lack of ANY policy response to the Leave vote from Corbyn’s faction (or the bunch of class-traitor Blair-ite MPs who are attempting to grab the leadership). And the description of the metropolitan so-called left and how they view the working class is spot-on. That is entirely what they think of them so don’t blame the media for what is a reality of a lot of the Blair-ite party elements.

      I do of course have some sympathy for Corbyn and, even, all in the political class in the UK; literally every single plate has been thrown into the air. Some will need to be caught. Some will unavoidably, end up broken on the floor. They have, of course, brought it entirely on themselves.

      1. m-ga

        There was a policy response from Corbyn. And it was dreadful.

        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 reasons 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.

        I’m not sure if Corbyn was merely politicking. If so, it’s surprising, since that really isn’t his style.

        If Corbyn wasn’t politicking, then either he (a) wants a rapid Brexit with negotiations which are under EU control; or (b) hasn’t got a grasp of how his grassroots support views Brexit.

        I’m hoping for a revised policy response from Corbyn which will make more sense. If he can hold on, that is.

        1. Waldenpond

          Who is going to invoke article 50? If someone does, that starts the clock and negotiations. If no one invokes, there are drawn out party power plays. I agree with others that no one wants to go article 50.

      2. Jabawocky

        The main issue with Corbyn, notwithstanding his popularity with left-leaning voters, is that he appears unable to lead the Labour Party. A leader with no followers is no leader, as any second rate business course will tell you. Unless he can get the Labour Party to follow him he’s a lame duck whatever his mandate.

        1. Darthbobber

          This is because his support is from the constituency, not among the parliamentary office holders. Deselection is the weapon that changes that, if the parliamentarians are sufficiently intractable. Blair actually used that quite freely, and this coup, UNLESS IT SUCCEEDS, will most probably be the signal for that to start.

          (And if it succeeds, under these circumstances, there will most likely be two claimants to be tha labor party for a while. These people have picked a precarious point at which to play va banque.)

  13. Mark John

    “Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat and the European Parliament chief, said it was “scandalous” that British prime minister David Cameron may stay in office until October, so holding up talks. Speaking on German television late on Friday, he said Mr Cameron had “taken a whole continent hostage for the internal party considerations” of the Tories.”

    Perhaps Herr Schulz should read his own words carefully. Within them, one finds one of the reasons why the European experiment will not work. To state that a party in a sovereign nation making internal political decisions is “scandalous” is anti-democratic, and by implication, tags the entirety of the EU, as a bloc, as an undemocratic institution.

    1. Paul Eckstein

      Forgive me, but what ‘sovereignty’ are we talking about? UK sovereignty? Scottish sovereignty? English sovereignty? Irish sovereignty? ‘Sovereignty’ isn’t democratic; in this sense it is antediluvian! It remains true, and is today more true, that “the workingmen have no country.” Real democracy would be representing people’s interests on an international level. We sorely need a New International to represent people’s real interests on an international level, not a retreat to neofascist nationalism. Or is this destined to be a ‘Weimar’ moment? History repeats itself….

      1. Lambert Strether

        Hopefully we are in second-time-as-farce mode, now. And UK politics does rather remind one of a bedroom farce, with all the pairings and re-pairings, slamming doors, players popping their heads out from under beds and behind closet doors, politicians en travesti, “purposes mistook / Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads…”

      2. Mark John

        What I am saying is that the EU is a neoliberal experiment dressed up as a European peace project. We have fallen for the old lipstick on the pig scam. To my mind, the EU is an institution that is creating increasing instability and the project should be halted.

        1. fajensen

          Maybe the EU is getting the blame for the misadventures and stupidity of a diverse brood of cronies and misfits, known as the Democratically Elected National Governments:

          Note Headline: “Is the EU Preparing for Another Stealth Coup? Taking its anti-democratic approach to a whole new level.”

          Text Body:

          … last week a letter from the Italian minister for economic development, Carlo Calenda, to the EU commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, was obtained by the Italian “Stop TTIP Campaign,” and posted on its site. In the letter, the two discuss the possibility of Italy’s government coming to the Commission’s rescue and effectively blocking the parliaments of all the other countries from having their say on CETA. ….

          Hmm – We actually have: Neo-liberal- and subservient to US-interests- Sweden secretly colluding with an Italy in need of bailouts, for Italy “sabotage” making CETA available to the EU-parliament. This is not Exactly the fault of the EU, me think. Stupid rules, sure, but the gaming of them!?

          But the EU first, Italy to a lesser degree will take the blame for it, very conveniently for a local neo-liberal regime – who can be replaced over that sort of thing – currently dragged up as Social Democrat!

          In the case of Britain, it was not the EU who let all those Africans and Pakistanis they whine about, into the country – that was England’s own idea!

          The alleged “no go sharia zones” in London is not enforced or mandated by EU; If this kind of thing exists as described (never been there myself), then it is the British authorities doing a perfect shit job of enforcing their own laws.

          Polish Plumber taking our joabs – well, Britain fought tooth & nail to have no minimum wage and working conditions imposed by the EU … The EU allowed the Poles to travel. Lets call that 50:50 blame?

          It seems to me that the possibility and prospect of improving the EU is far greater than what can be had from returning power to the national governments – especially now, after they stoked up the fear and loathing, won Brexit and then have no idea what-so-ever what to do with it.

      3. Kulantan

        At its heart the notion of democratic sovereignty is much like a union. You band together and vote for representatives who should act in your best interests. The idea that you must represent everyone everywhere or can represent no one makes no sense. The interests of the steelworkers aren’t necessarily the same as the dock workers. The interests of the workers of China aren’t necessarily the same as the workers of the UK. Both can exist in solidarity with each other but attempting to stand for the totality of both misses the granularity of reality.

        It is the same scam that the Democrats in America have been running for years, unify and conquer. Convince people that they need to band together against some great threat and that to do so they must compromise all that they are and all that they want. Band together, yes; but in the mould of multiculturalism. Each movement with a voice and on every idea a choice.

        Sovereignty here means a refusal to let people claim they stand for both German interests and Greek interests and that there is no conflict between the two.

        I’d much rather have a (democratic) country than not. The other option at the moment seems to be to have an owner.

        1. Waldenpond

          When I hear talk of internationalism, it’s always multi-national corporate rule. I don’t know if the tipping point is related to size or complexity (both), but the excuse keeps getting trotted out that democracy is no longer applicable (and that the rubes that won’t go along are ignorant, uneducated and racist).

  14. Carolinian

    Moon of Alabama is more of a military and foreign affairs analyst but worth linking what he has to say.

    The EU exit mechanism is build in a way that allows for an endless postponement of the actual procedure. This is the way the British politicians will likely take. The Jack of Kent Blog explains how this works:

    The UK did not [immediately] send to the EU the notification under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union which would have commenced the withdrawal process.
    The Article 50 process is the only practical means by which the UK can leave the EU.

    And so unless and until the Article 50 process is commenced and completed, the UK will stay as a member of the EU.

    In short: no Article 50, no Brexit.

    And it is entirely a matter for the Member State to choose whether to make the notification and, if so, when.

    And more

    But the EU has no reason, or legal basis, to negotiate at all before the UK files. Why should it make concessions to a divorce letter that was not filed and may not ever arrive?

    It is a stalemate situation. The powers that are against Brexit will use this to blockade any move.

    The six founding EU members claim to push Britain to file the Article 50 application immediately. But that is just playing to the gallery. In reality they want the never ending stalemate:

    There is no desperate rush for Britain to trigger the process for it to leave the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, leaving London some space to work out its next move after a referendum vote to leave the bloc


    As for the petition, it’s an online petition that anyone can sign up for including “B” the German who runs Moon. Media claims that over 2 million “Britons” have signed the petition are the usual sloppy or propagandistic reporting.

    1. fajensen

      Cameron is up to something. Some kind of wheels-within-wheels game of his with the 90 days stay he “imposed on himself”.

      If Cameron had resigned immediately, there would be a general election.

      Then we would basically have another “go at it” with the election campaign, probably ending up with the election of a new parliament who may then say that “This parliament is not legally bound by the decisions of the former parliament” and basically cancelling the Brexit vote.

      By staying on, he is making Brexit stick, what is he up to, given the fact that he was Remain?

  15. BruceK

    It is a mistake to assume that working class voters are all Labour. There have always been working class Tories. It was a stereotype in the 1970’s:

    Mrs Thatcher turned a lot of these away from the Tory party, especially outside SE England, but that didn’t make them vote Labour. I think that in the referendum this demographic turned out in unprecedented and unexpected numbers.

    Lord Ashcroft conducted exit polls:

    From these it seems working class voters overwhelmingly voted to Leave. However, apparently 63% of Labour voters voted to Remain, as opposed to 64% of the SNP’s.

    Whichever way Labour goes now it looks likely to lose a large part of its coalition. A more Alf Garnett party will repel its young urban voters and a large part of the party itself, but not moving there will shed votes to UKIP.

    I can’t see any way through that, least of all for the Blairites behind the current coup attempt who will repel both sectors.

    Finally a link from the New Statesman a week before the poll:

    Maybe it should not have been such a shock.

    1. Darthbobber

      This is only the case if the key issue is framed on what SHOULD have happened with the referendum rather than what did happen. It becomes a labor crisis purely because of the self-fulfilling prophecy that is the Blairite coup.

  16. edmondo

    The Brits thus have no incentive to rush to pull the Article 50 trigger.

    the idea that the Government was trying to bulldoze a well-publicized initiative that won by a respectable margin would also generate a backlash. It would also drain more legitimacy from a ruling class that has suddenly discovered simmering anger in large swathes of the country it thought it could safely neglect.

    My money is on Parliament doing nothing. If they do not trigger Article 50, they remain part of the EU.

    The politicians could care less about the referendum and 52/48 is easy to finesse. Does anyone remember how the banks got bailed out by Congress in 2008 even though 80 percent of Americans were opposed to it? This is child’s play in comparison.

    1. m-ga

      “Do nothing” is often the path of least resistance. However, there are downsides.

      The domestic policy issues can be managed. The tabloids are already rowing back on the Brexit banter, and managing expectations. Cameron has kicked the issue three months down the road by resigning. As long as there are gestures towards Brexit, civil unrest can most likely be avoided for now.

      Foreign policy is trickier. The US-UK relationship is already imperiled. The UK can still attend EU meetings, but it now does so without any authority. As a result of this, the US can no longer rely on the UK to present the US case within Brussels. This is a big demotion for the UK on the world stage, and it is already in motion. The damage can be limited, but both the US and the Germans might reasonably expect that the UK will actually have to exit the EU (although, not the EEA) following the referendum result. So, they’ll make their alternative arrangements regardless. Even if they’re able to, it will take British politicians many months or years to make a convincing case to their electorate that the UK should stay in the EU after all. The British may find their seat at the table is permanently gone once they’ve got the ship back in order.

      There’s also the impact on UK investment, and the future of London’s financial services. I’m expecting that the Tories will make Herculean efforts to maintain the status quo. But, whatever they do, there’s only one way for trade to go, and that’s down. Some of this damage is likely to be irreparable.

      The best play for the Tories is perhaps an offensive strategy. Britain had one of the best EU relationships, in that it had near complete membership but didn’t have the euro. Other countries (notably France) are tempted to leave as a result of the Brexit vote. However, eurozone countries will be hampered by having to change their currency. Their electorates may not realise this. A Brexit-type vote in a eurozone country would lead to an even worse situation for that country that the one currently developing for the UK.

      So, the British may play for the break-up of the eurozone. It is now in their interest to do so. If the eurozone enters a crisis – as it undoubtedly must – then the British position (still in the EU, but with a voter mandate to be out of the EU any time it likes) looks quite attractive.

      1. fajensen

        Denmar, Sweden and Finland are EU members without the EUR. This worked very well*, except the mini-Merkel PM Helle Thorning just had to go and sign Denmark up to the EFSF so we can be in the shite too on the next EUR crisis.

        *) Nobody reported that Denmark had the second biggest bailout package in Europe back in 2008 (Between the UK and Germany).

  17. ScottW

    From the Soros comment: “All of Europe, including Britain, would suffer from the loss of the common market and the loss of common values that the EU was designed to protect. Yet the EU truly has broken down and ceased to satisfy its citizens’ needs and aspirations. It is heading for a disorderly disintegration that will leave Europe worse off than where it would have been had the EU not been brought into existence.”

    The EU “has broken down and ceased to satisfy its citizens’ needs and aspirations,” yet, Europe will be worse off than had the EU not been brought into existence. So the plight of the masses is to live with their “needs and aspirations” unfulfilled because the alternative is so much worse? Is Europe a different entity than the sum of its People?

    Spoken like an elite. The same logic is seen with the pro-Hillary crowd. The status quo may be leaving many behind, but the alternative (in this case Trump) is so much worse. But if you are in the out crowd, how much worse?

    Does the power elite have any solutions to the problems that ail the many? Do they even care? Other than “Hope & Change,” and “We are in it together,” what are the specific policies we need to pursue?

    No one in power ever offers any possible solutions that are really aimed at helping everyone.

    1. hunkerdown

      Is Europe a different entity than the sum of its People?

      Inequality and mass delusion are what states are for.

    2. Enzica

      Yes. George Soros is talking book. Not his financial book, but his foreign policy book. He wants Europe to counter Russia, and maybe make a buck on the side. That’s why he is a “believer in the EU”. He in no way should be put forward as a problem solver, leader, or cheerleader for any solution. Yes, some of things he says are universally agreed on by sane people, but no construct that he would advocate would succeed because too many resources would still be put into confrontation with Russia, taking them away from democracy, openness and the needs aspirations of the domestic populations and everything would wind up back to square one.

    1. Clive

      I wish. I bitterly regretted only having a T-shirt this afternoon and my tea got lukewarm before I’d finished my cream scone.

  18. Sam Adams

    When the financial and recessionary issues hit, there will be a move to devalue. That will accelerate the disintegration.

  19. Pelham

    Is it just possible that the EU could fix itself with, basically, ONE reform: Democracy?

    In other words, by making the European Parliament by far the most powerful institution within the EU. This way, ordinary people would be enfranchised and their misgivings and frustrations could be expressed gradually, over time through real, credible representation in Brussels.

    After this shock, it’s odd that none of the discussion — at least that I’ve seen — seems to contemplate this obvious option. Instead, I get the idea that the shadowy and profoundly undemocratic forces that shape the EU and the dominant parties in most member countries are looking now for ways to further confuse and alternately frighten and appear to appease their restive electorates rather than substantively surrender any of their dark and nefarious powers.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suppose… if one was to be very optimistic – you could argue that if there is any faction within the EU left that recognises the problems and wants to force through reform, this is exactly the opportunity for it. Sadly, with Merkel and Holland fading to shadows and no-one left of any real stature, I just don’t see it happening.

    2. hunkerdown

      That’s not democracy, unless you’re a liberal who believes in the supremacy and indispensability of a permanent, credentialled management class.

      You’re right, though. Democracy, as in binding plebiscites and referenda, fixes just about any state.

  20. casino implosion

    “… Those experts have done too well from their misrule and are too remote from the victims of their blinkered vision to be able to change course….”

    It’s happening already. By the time the polls had closed and the fireflies were out on the village greens of Albion, the wise men of Europe had withdrawn to their well-defended mountain fortress of Davos and slammed shut the mighty doors of stone, there to slumber for 1,000 years while the nations burn. “Some day they’ll look up from eating raw roasted rats over the campfire and truly understand the depths of their folly”, say the wise men of Europe, as the mystic sleep overcomes them….

    1. Peter Pan

      What about the British Caribbean Islands? Will they lose their ability to move freely (money & citizens) throughout the EU?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yes, and even more to the point: what of Gibraltar, which votes in euro parliament elections as part of the southwest England constituency?

        Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted Remain, but England is leaving. Gibraltar could Remain by joining Spain, but Gibraltarians loathe that idea.

        Why do bad things happen to good colonies? :-(

      2. flora

        “What about the British Caribbean Islands? ” and Jersey and Guernsey. What will happen to their status as tax havens? Britain still rules the world in tax havens.
        I double that will change, at least, not in the near future.

        1. bob

          ” Britain still rules the world in tax havens”

          the queen rules the tax haven world, she’s most displeased at the moment.

    2. Lambert Strether

      This diagram is great, and gosh, is it complicated!*

      We see the aggregation of the UK’s colonial and imperial power, and its potential disaggretion, too.

      * For example, Northern Island isn’t really an island, except perhaps metaphorically, but if it had its own circle, the complexity of the diagram might blow up….

    3. ekstase

      Funny. This reminds me oddly of the boroughs of Manhattan, with Staten Island sticking out to the side, for no really clear reason. Perhaps temperaments have as much to do with politics as anything else.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Brexit, comrades: 118 years after its shotgun marriage with Manhattan, Brooklynites still refer to it as “the Great Mistake of 1898.”

        Brexit II: Brooklyn unbound!

    4. Vatch

      Thanks for the lesson! I never realized that the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey are not considered part of the United Kingdom. I even looked them up, and you are quite correct! They are Crown dependencies (not that I really understand what that is). :-)

    5. ahimsa

      Notes on the Euler diagram of the British Isles* :
      Green indicates geographical feature.
      Blue indicates political/legal distinction.
      * Whereby the term British Isles is disputed as a geographical term including Ireland/Repuplic of Ireland (British Isles naming dispute from Wiki)
      **To avoid ambiguity, with Ireland (geographical term referring to the whole island), Repupblic of Ireland is additionally used to distinguish the nation state excluding Northern Ireland.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    This is purely anecdotal, but I just heard from a friend in a small town in the South of England that for the first time in her life she was subject to racist abuse in a public place – on a train some young guy said to her, words to the effect ‘now that we have Leave, you lot can go home’.

    The thing is, this woman is, as far as I always considered, 100% English. But because of (I think), a mediterranean grandparent, she’s black haired and brown eyed, slightly darker complexion than the average English girl, but still, very average English looks. I can easily see why some black and asian English are very worried indeed, this seems to have opened up a big can of worms.

    1. BruceK

      There are loads of reports of this kind of thing on Twitter at the moment – defacing the Polish centre in Hammersmith etc, etc.

      Breaking neoliberal walls with your head is more fun to watch than to do.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for the report!

      Is this racism or bigotry? I would like very much to get these terms straight in my mind, because it seems to me that the Democratic nomenklatura incessantly conflates them, along with sexism, fascism, etc.

      Adding… My guess, which is a guess, because I don’t know the history, is that racism is more dangerous than bigotry, because racism is ideological, and hence can be weaponized in a way that simple bigotry cannot. I mean, “End assh*olery!” isn’t really a political project, except for the fringe of the micro-aggression crowd….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I suspect its just old fashioned bigotry. In my experience, there is very little racism of the type you define, its mostly just a general underlying bigotry (no more or less I think than most countries I’ve been in.

        Its ironic, but in fact the bigotry in the UK which comes most under your definition of racism is anti-catholicism. Its the only form of bigotry which is backed up by specific laws (at least until 2015). Since Elizabethan times, catholics have always been the ‘other’ in England, taking up the space anti-semitism took in most of the rest of Europe.

      2. Anonymous

        I have been talking to some of my neighbours in London and am astonished how many are talking about leaving the country. The atmosphere is more febrile by miles than at any time since I arrived here half a century ago.

        Johnson, once a favourite of the crowds in London, is being booed very aggressively by large crowds when he appears outside his house and clearly requires police protection. He may have to be moved to other accommodation for his safety.

        And yes there are people now talking openly in the streets that they are going to throw the foreigners out.

        The mood is very ugly. Remainers are saying that the country have been lied into voting to leave the EU and are openly challenging the vaiidity of the referendum result.

        This could get very nasty.

  22. Robert Dudek

    Both Kaczynski (Poland) and Sarkozy (France) have called for a new EU treaty. If they and other like-minded people have their way, the new treaty will reverse much of the “Brussels creep” that has been happening for a few decades and reconstitute the E.U. as a collaborative entity of nation-states.

    That is what I would personally like to see, as I reject a Soros/Varoufakis-style European integration project. That project would inevitably lead to the destruction of what is left of democracy in the EU, and/or the dissolution of the entire project as nationalist forces push back harder and harder against increasing Brussels control.

    The rebellion against technocrats, started in Hungary and continuing in Poland, may be on the upswing everywhere in the EU, and Brexit may have lit a match underneath it.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The problem is that the likes of Kaczynski and Sarkozy would want the strip off all the good things about the EU (workers protection, equality, environmental directives) in the name of ‘democracy and freedom’, while leaving the dangerous stuff in place.

      1. gordon

        “…the good things about the EU…”

        Mmmm…imposing good things from outside is a chancy business. The French Revolution, Bolshevism, Fascism (not to mention globalisation) have all been imposed on various people at various times from without. Their popularity and the success of the transplants isn’t high. I’m not saying the things you mentioned aren’t good, but if they have to be imposed…

        What are the “dangerous things”?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Maybe there would be ‘catch-up’, but the reality is that, to take one example, equality legislation all over Europe was pushed by the UK. As another example, the network of protected wildlife habitats (SAC’s and SPA’s) would simply not have been put in place by the majority of governments.

          The ‘dangerous things’ can be summarised in one paper object – the Euro.

  23. Take the Fork

    None of this is new. The EU is hubris, and the lack of situational awareness this always entails. Only now this tragic, eternal quality of humanity is being played out on a far greater scale than ever before.

    Enlightenment epistemology about the nature of Man has always been more prescriptive than descriptive. Thomas Jefferson never actually believed all were equal – he only set that down to appeal to French intellectual conceits, conceits contained in heads that would shortly be separated from their shoulders, in the pursuit of Equality.

    Biology trumps ideology. Homo economicus is a fairy tale. Scarcity is conflict. And, absent Leviathan, proximity plus diversity is conflict – an easy notion to dismiss when one flies first class.

    And to attempt the simultaneous imposition of scarcity and diversity on a people, as the EU has done to the peoples of Europe?

    This, in my view, is truly a “crime against humanity” – that is, an offense against the most vital and ineluctable sense of all we know about who we are, not who we pretend to be. Backdoor genocide, if you prefer.

    Nigel Farage once said, “If you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of their democracy, then all they’ re left with is nationalism and violence.”

    For the time being, democratically-expressed nationalism has put off a recourse to violence. I hope for all our sakes that this has improved the awareness of those who sit in Brussels as to the true nature of the situation.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’m reading a biography of Talleyrand. In the first attempt at a new Constitution, the National Assembly actually made the King stronger. Then, well, things began to iterate….

      My point is that when we enter into changes in the constitutional order, which Brexit seems to be, in the UK, in the EU, and hence for every member of the EU, heightened political risk* is the order of the day for quite some time. One week, you join a boring committee handling matters of administrative detail. And then in a month or so, you’re compiling little lists….

      * This risk is what we have diplomats (like Talleyrand) for, at the nation-state level. Can anybody think of any good ones? Merkel didn’t do so hot on Greece. And on this side of the Atlantic, the State Department seems to think it’s the Pentagon.

      UPDATE Adding… It’s an amazing effect, I’m guessing, of Europe’s subaltern status as a military protectorate, that nobody’s screaming that the refugees were created via blowback from the U.S.’s off-the-charts insane militarism and creation of failed states, plural.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “nobody’s screaming that the refugees were created via blowback from the U.S.’s off-the-charts insane militarism”

        Probably chaotic scenes of the refugee influx into Europe helped provide the winning margin for Leave.

        When the EC was formed, it complacently assumed it could remain a U.S. military protectorate.

        Bad assumption. NATO’s failed states and refugee hordes are ripping the EC apart.

        NATO is a 70-year-old Cold War dinosaur that has long since outlived its usefulness. Lacking the courage to dismantle NATO, the EC itself will be dismantled.

        Pax Americana — a dish best served cold.

      2. bob

        There is no constitituion in the UK.

        The city of london is often cited as the reason it would be impossible to do.

        All of this electing and voting is, and always has been, at the pleasure of the queen.

        The royal option at power- let the proles run the day to day, week to week and year to year, and then take responsibility for it. Meanwhile the queen is “a figurehead”.

        Except that she can veto anything she wants. As the old saying goes- How many divisions of troops does the pope have? Well- the queen has ALL OF THEM.

          1. bob

            My working model of the mess that is the uk- britain- tax shelter islands and/or england-

            The city on top

            The queen

            The rabble(upper descending level, the city, bankers, lords, parliamentarians )

            The city, through it’s ability to influence the queen is always on top. But they also run and manage the lower levels through lobby, “business”, etc. The lower levels make sure that the queen never sees anything that she, or the city, don’t like.

            Protect the queen! From having to show her real power, and, at the same time, her puppet master- the city.

            But, if anything ever sneaks through, the queen can always exercise a veto. Que horror!

      3. John k

        State would be a more aggressive military than our actual one, which knows breaking eggs means losing lives and endless suffering.
        Was this true before shill got there? Did they reinforce each other in their dreams of being the toughest Sob on the block?
        I see her not as big O’s third term but bush II’s.

    2. Waldenpond

      [For the time being, democratically-expressed nationalism has put off a recourse to violence. I hope for all our sakes that this has improved the awareness of those who sit in Brussels as to the true nature of the situation.]

      I don’t imagine those in Brussels expect to be the victims of the resulting violence. They can just helicopter out of any disturbance. When there are millions of excess laborers to feed and a bottom line to think of….?

  24. Robert Dudek

    Best possible resolution in the long run: Scotland; independent and in the EU; Ireland unified; England/Wales with an association agreement with the EU; EU reconstituted as a collaboration of nation-states.

    1. Lambert Strether

      With some semblance of democratic control at the European level. The technocrats have legitimacy insofar as they can impose it (e.g. with control of the payments system in Greece). That works until it doesn’t.

    2. paul

      Ireland unified??? The Norns would have to face a pretty stiff drop in living standards, and even political ones as well.

      1. makedoanmend

        Living standards in Ireland are on a par with the UK and Northern Europe in general. UK austerity is beginning to erode the very fabric of the six counties – especially West of the Bann. When the policies begin to bite the middlestat, as they are doing in the UK, I expect those East of the Bann will also begin to rethink pax britania.

        “Even political ones as well.” What does that mean? Tory spin, perpetual PR, tax dodging politicians, Labour party disintegration, and the latest Cameron whopper that he’d trigger article 50 immediately after the referendum if Brexit won all set pretty low standards. Irish political standards aren’t high (is any country’s these days?), but the brits can’t throw stones at anyone in that regard.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The stupidity of the DUP in supporting Brexit is astonishing. The North has been sinking slowly in recent years as the peace process has gone into ‘normal’ mode – which means the subsidy boat is slowly sailing away. I was shocked on my last visit to see how even basic things like the road surface have been visibly deteriorating relative to those in the South. The unspoken thing about the Troubles is that it meant the North received a very high indirect subvention from London – mostly in the form of a very large public payroll. They either accept their role as a very impoverished and politically irrelevant backwater, or try to come to some other constitutional arrangement. Perhaps even some sort of joint deal between a newly independent Scotland and the Republic? Who knows. But whatever happens, if Scotland goes, then NI becomes an unsustainable entity in nearly every way.

        1. makedoanmend

          Yep, the “subs” are basically a thing of the past. They will/are become an irrelevant backwater, and a very poor one.

          Imo, the Irish Republic doesn’t want Rabid Irish nationalists nor Rabid Unionists queering their neoliberal patch. You don’t throw your poor and sick under the bus in order to placate international capital only to have a bunch of interlopers intrude in business as usual. The Republic pays a pretty decent lap-dog game with both the US and EU, and the politicians only have to play politics during elections. The rest of the time they’re just figuring out ways to enrich themselves and their local neoliberal millionaire buddies – or score big time with offshore neoliberal billionaires. They just make sure that enough middlestat jobs are created to keep the ship on even keel – and a few auld EU subsidies don’t hurt either.


  25. Brick

    Some interesting thoughts by Steve Randy Waldman on Interfluidity.

    “It turns out that there are lots of explanations consistent with increased susceptibility to racist appeals that also suggest remedies less vague and more constructive than, say, “fighting racism” or censoring the right-wing press.”

    I also liked his link to the daniel davies piece

    “It’s understandable that people react to what’s in front of their faces. But as well as being a somewhat mean way to deal with the world, reacting to economic decline by limiting immigration is horribly counterproductive. The problem for places like Grimsby or Merthyr Tydfil isn’t that they’re full of immigrants – it’s that so many of the young people have left.”

    Both have the ring of truth yet both are missing something. Its around the lack of integration caused by the volumes of immigration ,positive bias by a few bosses for immigrants they can take advantage of , perceived political correctness bias against the indigenous culture mixed in with failure of services due to bad planning and austerity.

    It is a lot more complicated and most exit voters (not me) I have spoken to (including family members and colleagues) would not be considered racist. The vote has stoked up a whole lot of intolerance and problems. Politicians in the UK have mostly failed to even spot the issues let alone suggest solutions. There are many ways to economically deter immigrants which politicians have studiously avoided.

    The key point for me is that the people of the UK know there is something very wrong with the stratification and wealth spread in the economy and there has been no recovery for whole swathes of people. There is also something very wrong with democracy when voted for representatives follow their own agendas rather than what they have been asked to do or even to stop and listen. Moving the uk parliament up to Grimsby might help.

  26. Bea Braun

    It is not just Poland and Sarkozy calling for a reformed EU apparently also Hollande has called for a referendum by ALL
    Given the increasing pressure of the Front National , the French government wants to reinvent the EU anew and allow all EU citizens to vote on it . In several countries, right-wing parties have intensified their activities in order to allow voters to vote on the EU membership of their country .

    1. Jabawocky

      This appears to be quite significant so thanks for posting. Hollande knows France will vote Frexit at the next election if nothing is done. I am however highly sceptical that the eu can significantly re-invent itself in such a short time, to really be worth an eu-wide referendum on.

    2. fajensen

      Hollande is an even bigger retard than I thought.

      On the other hand, I just, finally, after 30 years of doubts, have arrived at the conclusion that the people at the top are NOT necessarily smarter, better informed, more rational, more effective than anyone else; they have the potential to be due to the resources available to them – but – most of them simply arrive there by pure luck and connections and then cannot transcend themselves.

      Boris Johnson’s speech in The Telegraph nailed it. Britain in the EU has always been about “Give us something Extra or we leave”, now Britain is going: “Give us something Extra because we Brits belong in Europe 4-eva”.

      Well, Boris, darling, Once your bluff is called, it loses its value! So, what *else* do you have? Nothing!? That’s what we suspected all along!

  27. bob

    The most interesting bit of the brexit *vote* is that it may lead to the queen having to show how much power she really has.

    All of it, in a few words. Most disconcerting. “We can’t let them know that!”

    1. bob

      may lead to-

      The royalists have quite a long standing wall around them. Several dozen layers.

      “Britain’s Brexit vote does not require the government to pull the trigger immediately because the referendum is not legally binding.”

      …at the pleasure of the queen…

      “Article 50 says: “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” ”

      No Constitution…loop hole number two…..

      Failing those two to protect the queen you also have-

      “On the European side, the agreement needs a qualified majority of member states and consent of the European parliament.”

      All of Europe must agree. Sure. Right.

      At the pleasure of the queen. Always.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Condensed from the former four:

            US-UK (pronounced ‘you suck’)

            A faithful poodle is hard to find.

      1. gordon

        I don’t see what the monarch has to do with it. She/he does what Parliament (via the majority party or coalition) wants. I suspect what you are alluding to is the omnicompetence of the UK Parliament. It can literally do anything. I can understand that to an American used to a lot of checks and balances, that might appear a bit scary.

        1. bob

          I’m american?

          She *IS* the sovereign. It’s a very basic straight line, Some may have trouble following that.

          Who’s face is on the money? To make it a bit simpler.

          1. Kulantan

            Yeah, but that glosses over the realpolitik of the thing. Sure in theory the Queen could declare that Britain is not going to leave the EU or alcohol is now illegal, but its more likely to end up with her loosing that authority than those decisions standing.

            Maybe I’m wrong in Britain. But here in Oz we’re only a hop, skip and a jump from republic.

  28. BruceK

    If the EU was a collaboration of nation states I am convinced the UK would not have voted to leave. In fact I doubt there would even have been a referendum.

    However, that involves a lot of backtracking from the current situation, and I don’t see any appetite for that, other than amongst the voters, of course.

    1. Robert Dudek

      When faced with a possible breakup, you will suddenly find plenty of European politicians willing to go back to the collaborative nation-states model.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      The US has a collaboration of states; fat lot-0-good it does us with corrupt politicians and bat-sh*t crazy MBA’s running the place.

      You need more than just the structure because you can always game it. Not to say building a structure that makes gaming it difficult isn’t a splendid idea, but without good faith agreement all round that the point is for the structure and the pols and the msm and the corporations and the courts and so on, the point of all this complexity is to serve the people and not the other way around, without that it will always fail.

  29. That Which Sees

    No official “50” notice until succession trade deals fully negotiated.

    Schauble threatened UK citizens with destruction if they voted “Leave”. Whether his retraction is sincere (marking him as a flip-flopper) or deception (marking him as a neo-fascist), he has effective blocked the start of negotiations until after the 2017 German elections which should get rid of both Merkel and Schauble.

    The UK will use this time to:
    . 1) Demonstrate EU powerlessness by unilaterally imposing changes. For example: Limiting non-tourist arrivals, imposing work permits, and reducing/eliminating benefits to non-UK citizens.
    . 2) Help other nations lay the groundwork for their succession referendums. More countries leaving gain strength vs. a weakening EU by negotiating in a loose affiliation.

    As a side note, this is almost certain to be the final death blow to the “Merkel Refugee Plan”. There will not be visa free travel from Turkey to the UK.

  30. Sound of the Suburbs

    If Soros hadn’t knocked the pound out of the ERM, the UK would have been in the Euro and made it almost impossible for the UK to leave the EU.

    Soros paved the way for UK departure.

  31. Plenue

    So why exactly has Labour decided the EU is ‘progressive’? Other parts of the left have taken that stance as well; Common Dreams has defaulted to ‘staying in the EU is the leftist position’ (their commentators very much disagree though). The EU is a repressive technocracy that ignores national sovereignty and has been self-cannibalizing itself for years. It doesn’t deserve to live. Corbyn is on the wrong side of this issue, full stop. Would be a damn shame if his revolution were destroyed because of this.

    1. m-ga

      Corbyn is personally anti-EU.

      Corbyn’s grassroots support is pro-EU. Not because of any fondness for its neoliberal aspects. But because it:

      • enables freedom of movement and the right to work across the entire continent
      • provides free healthcare across Europe (via EHIC)
      • provides better worker and human rights than would otherwise be available in the UK
      • provides better environmental regulation that would othewise be available in the UK

      There are probably other advantages as well.

      1. Jabawocky

        In general the uk government is far to the right of the EU. Tories would introduce TTIP without a second thought but the EU will likely oppose it. The Tories also want out of the eu human rights legislation. Tories are all out for fracking, but this is banned in many EU states. Tories opted out of the social chapter. I could go on.

    2. Mark John

      Agreed. And it is not inconsistent to favor Scottish sovereignty and the dismantling of the EU.

      False mutual exclusives are a favorite ruse of the neoliberal establishment.

  32. VietnamVet

    Great posts. The political and economic struggles across Europe and North America are similar. Globalists won and the resulting austerity and endless wars are their thing. The Brexit vote is a result of purposeful disenfranchisement of the working class since they were no longer needed to fight wars or to manufacture things. Mixed together with the waves of refugees due to wars, climate change and overpopulation; a revolt was ignited in England. To address these grievances, the global elite will have limit their financial plundering. Donald Trump will have to be elected President to break some china and to bring back the rule of law for all. The European Union would have to gain empathy. Not likely.

  33. Waldenpond

    Looks like Brexit is already over…..

    Boris Johnson says the UK will continue to “intensify” cooperation with the EU following the country’s vote to leave.

    The leading pro-Leave campaigner said exit supporters must accept the 52-48 result was “not entirely overwhelming”.

    Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson dismissed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum saying there was little “appetite” for one.

      1. vlade

        Johnson is a liar who says thing that he believes will put him ahead, regrdless of any reality. if you say this is a definition of a politician, Johnson takes it all the way. With hm, claiming that white is black is no exaggeration at all.

  34. Alex morfesis

    The events of thursday june 23, will end up on the cutting room floor…there will be no article 50 notice…a lawsuit will be filed and injunction issued to prevent the loss of eu rights by some concerned “remain” voter…turkey will invade syria and depose fearless leader, carving up syria and returning the refugees, thus removing the immigrant invasion issue…nullitsa will have to accident her friends in Ukraine and russia will turn a blind eye to syria in return for formal recognition of crime-yeah and an itsy bitsy piece of ukraine and georgia too…

    The real grand bargain…the little people will come to understand…

    We have always been at war with….

  35. RBHoughton

    That made me laugh – “corroding trust in politics’ – only a politician could dream up an ‘honor amongst thieves’ quote like that. Thanks Yves, every little helps.

    I disagree with Richard Smith’s view that Labor has no plan to tackle the mess. Labor’s plan is not something they can talk about in the present global climate because it goes to the root of all our problems.

    Labor cannot publicly say “our financial system cannot be continued without doing grievous damage to the planet” but someone has got to publish the truth again and again until we all ask ourselves if its really true.

    We have poverty, untreated disease, extreme weather, shortened lives and growing insecurity leading to a great war which neocons suppose can be won. Do we really want to go that route?

  36. Matthew Saroff

    The problem with the EU is not that it is an undemocratic institution, but that it is an antidemocratic institution.

    It was founded on the idea that “Technocrats” had to lead it in order to prevent it being made unstable by democratic influences.

    The problem here is that those “Technocrats” have been foisting a Neoliberal agenda that has been actively attacking the social safety net in member states since before the creation of the Euro, and that these policies have not, and will never, benefit the bottom 80% of the population.

    Now, we have seen this problem magnified by German hegemony with its associated anti-debt fetish.

    In a democracy, the policy makers would have been voted out by now.

    In the EU, they remain in place, convinced that their policies are correct.

    I hope that the Brexit fiasco results in a meaningful democratic reforms to the institution.

    If not, it is likely that the EU will not exist in a decade and that some sort of war (hopefully a cold war) will return to Europe.

  37. Fiver

    As always, it’s imperative to look at all the angles, and an angle I’ve been waiting to have explored is the one Simon Johnson has raised, i.e., what might Brexit mean economically and politically for the US? While much of Johnson’s piece is the usual blather, he is absolutely correct vis a vis the big picture, i.e., the US effectively takes out its only existing competition in the developed world.

    While the EU was a US project to begin with the US has been extremely frustrated by EU independence over the years in a number of areas. I’ve thought for years the US and a (German/French) EU were on a collision course. Cameron could be the instrument of US resurgence.

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