Mathew D. Rose: Brexit – The End of the Universe

By Mathew D. Rose, a freelance journalist living in Berlin

The other morning I was astounded by an interview I heard in German state radio. It was in Deutschlandfunk, which specialises in news and current affairs. It is considered by many to be the most serious and objective radio station in Germany.

In this case the moderator was querying the EU parliamentarian Sven Giegold of the Greens concerning the upcoming referendum, also known as Brexit, in Britain to leave the European Union. Giegold is a clever chap, in fact one of the few talents in Brussels. One of the moderator’s first questions was if it would not be better if Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council went to Britain to make the case for Remain in the upcoming referendum.

This question reflects some very basic problems that are plaguing Europe’s elite and its obsequious media. The first is a specifically German one: Authority should not be questioned. In other words when such powerful figures as the German Finance Minister and the presidents of the European Commission and Council tell you to vote Remain, then there can be no doubt what you should do.

Everyone is supposed to forget the recent records of these three politicians. Schäuble has pretty much single-handedly transformed Europe’s recession into a depression as well as reducing Greece to a perpetual humanitarian crisis. Juncker, as prime minister in Luxemburg, created a tax system there, which permitted large corporations to pay hardly any taxes on their European profits, to the detriment of the member states’ taxpayers. Instead of being jailed, he was made head of the EU Commission. Tusk rammed a neo-liberal EU policy down the throats of the Poles, resulting in them recently electing an anti-EU, ultra-conservative party with an absolute majority into government. That is the first time since the post-communist era that any party has obtained such a mandate. These are some rather impressive accomplishments.

To make matters worse, Schäuble has employed his usual tactic of bullying to influence the British, making it perfectly clear that in the case of Brexit “In is in and out is out”. There will be no good will, no compromises. Do not think this is simply polemic. It is the same sort of thing he told the Greeks before he crushed them. Britain may not have the Euro, but a nation defying German hegemony by leaving the EU is a dangerous precedent and must be made an example of – see Greece. There is a large arsenal of economic weapons available to the Germans and they have no scruples about using them.

Be it as it may, the radio moderator was gobsmacked when Giegold explained that such menacing rhetoric from Germany; be it from Mr. Schäuble or former German leaders has never impressed the British in the past. In his opinion such comments simply add fuel to the Brexit fire and are not in the least helpful in.

Following Schäuble’s threat, Tusk demonstrated the typical political acumen of the EU elite with his matter of fact analysis of Brexit, claiming that it could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety. Oh well, we may have some exciting times ahead of us.

Should Britain prosper after Brexit, the EU elite will have some serious problems. Even worse would be the case that Britain prospers and the EU does not. One should also not forget that following Brexit the UK will be governed by a neo-liberal conservative government, whose political agenda is similar to the EU’s. What happens when they are eventually voted out of office and a more social labour government (should the Blairites not regain control of the party) introduces a different programme?

What the German radio moderator seems not to comprehend is that Schäuble, Juncker and Tusk, like the rest of the EU elite, have become anathema for most Europeans, especially for those with any sense of democracy, justice or solidarity. There is in reality nothing democratic or transparent about the EU. Where else, except in a dictatorship, do you have a parliament that does not have the right to create laws, this being done instead by bodies that have not been elected by the people.

If one looks at the EU today, nothing has changed for years. It is doing its best to push through the trade agreements TTIP and CETA, although there is little popular support for either. Corporate lobbyists still dictate policy. What is illegal concerning nitrogen oxide emissions of diesel cars in the US is permitted in the European Union thanks to loopholes built into the law. Volkswagen will probably not even be punished for its use of a defeat device in its diesel cars. It came as no surprise that this fraud was exposed in the United States and not in the EU. The EU’s new emission law concerning petrol powered cars, WLTP, is being made just as ineffective. Despite a raft of tax scandals, including that involving Juncker, no effective legislation to stop this has been created. The list goes on and on.

The EU spends millions every year maintaining the illusion that it is one of the great European achievements. The problem is that it has not been the case for a long time. It has become the enforcer of a now-liberal agenda, converting the particular interests of big business into European law. So we have an anti-democratic EU under German hegemony furthering the interests of large corporations – I doubt this is what the people of Europe want or deserve. The words of the British playwright Dennis Potter apply to the current situation in the EU: “They are not interested in our development or emancipation. That is the quality of an occupying force.” This is a conclusion the Greeks reached years ago.

It has been interesting to follow the stages of the Brexit campaign. Initially it seemed to be a referendum concerning David Cameron’s government. Then the role of immigration took centre stage. Now the question of national sovereignty and the lack of democracy in the EU has become an important debating point. There is even a nascent debate among the British left if the EU can be re-democratised, which is rather odd, seeing that it never was a democratic organisation.

There seems to be little hope of the EU being reformed. The EU elite feel too secure and have too much to lose. A democratic EU is completely useless for them, especially for the Germans. Schäuble has recently joined those calling for a stop to further EU integration. Germany no longer needs integration, which implies compromise, when it is already calling the shots. As I was recently in Brussels a member of an NGO explained that Germany is very content with the current EU situation. They dictate policy. There may be resistance here and there, but these cases are never existential for Germany and its clients.

Brexit however offers Britain a unique opportunity. Once out of the EU, who are the Tories going to blame when it becomes clear that it is mainly they who are ruining Britain, not the EU or the immigrants?




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  1. fajensen

    Brexit however offers Britain a unique opportunity. Once out of the EU, who are the Tories going to blame when it becomes clear that it is mainly they who are ruining Britain, not the EU or the immigrants?

    Germany first, France second. Maybe some small quips at The Dutch on issues regarding “moral decay”.

    The idea of Europe will be restored to what it always was, just officially, not only on the “shop floor”.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Eurozone bond yield convergence was bubble rocket fuel for the periphery in the 1990s.

      Post-bubble, the ECB — having already bought all the sovereign debt it can stand — is now desperately gobbling up corporate debt as well.

      It’s a kind of financial cargo cult: if we keep the eurozone bond markets staged like they were in the good old says, surely prosperity will return!

      Of course, with EU membership transformed from an economic booster rocket to a crushing millstone, some disgruntled members will try to escape leave.

  2. TheCatSaid

    Great analysis. The EU has never been a democratic institution, in either its conception or its reality. There don’t exist any effective means by which it could be meaningfully reformed because of how cleverly it was structured to avoid democratic accountability or agency.

    The sooner it falls apart the sooner everyone in each country can pick up the pieces and create something that reflects the values of engaged citizens rather than of isolated elites.

    Engaged citizenry is the key ingredient.

  3. Brooklin Bridge

    Listening to the BBC on the radio yesterday while driving to work, I heard a bla-bla-bla, UK version or sound alike, on the topic of Brexit. Ha. The moderator guided / allowed himself to be guided through an itemized list of why Remain was the obvious choice for anyone with so much as a single brain cell still functioning and then asked his interlocutor – to be fair and objective, no doubt – if he could summarize the reasons for a Brexit. It didn’t take long. Paraphrasing from memory,

    “Well, apart from a rather nebulous and not very important movement regarding some issue of governance, the principal complaint of the public is immigration. Some people are under the illusion that immigration policy takes away their jobs or has a tendency to depress wages.

    What followed was a five minute discussion about why immigration actually added jobs and improved wages and so on. Had there been a little more time, he would have explained why immigration also cured cancer and reversed global warming.

    The British citizenry seem to be more cagey than their US counterparts who ignore every manner of corruption and sordidness and assume someone as seemingly important and powerful as Hillary must be the right choice. Of course, the British, like the Greeks, perhaps haven’t yet realized that they will be “voting” in these affairs until this little “failure to communicate” is cleared up and they get it right in in their minds: Huis Clos.

    1. TheCatSaid

      The UK’s making the conversation all about immigration was confirmed at a recent social event with 2 British couples, one a business owner and the other a retired high-level civil servant who described himself as a socialist. They both said it’s the immigration issue that the “leave” side is focusing on, and they fear the closed borders they expect would occur in the event of a Brexit success. They also feared it would harm British businesses that rely heavily on Irish customers.

      Personally I don’t think these fears are justified, but it’s clear the UK government is coming on hot and heavy to spread FUD like they did with the Scottish referendum.

  4. Sally

    Today Merkel Warns U.K. They Wouldn’t Have Full Market Access If It Leaves, says the U.K. would be relegated to a “third party” state.

    I say bring it on Mrs Merkell. But you may want to check in with the executives of BMW and VW and Bosch and all your other manufacturing Giants. The UK imports more German stuff than any other EU nation. We import huge amounts of French Cheese and wine. So you really want to start a trade war? We export much more outside the EU.

    The Germans are panicking because if the we leave we are one of the biggest finacial contributors to the EU budget. It is mostly the northern states that prop up the southern states, With us gone the Germans and the Dutch and French and the Danes will have to pay more to make up the difference. That is only going to foster more anger in the EU states.

    If the UK votes to leave you will see referendums in Holland, and Denmark within 2 years, and maybe also Sweeden. If the far right win France’s general election next year you will have one in France too.

    The Euro is a disaster except for Germany who have manipulated it for the benefit of their exporters. It’s terrible for the Greeks and the Italians and Spanish. At least if we get a remain vote we are out of the Euro, but for how long? I still think the British people may succumb to the fear factor that is being rampped up daily here in the UK. I hope not, becuae I want out of the anti democratic institution. And I’m not of the far right. The great politicians of the left in the 1950s were all euro sceptics who warned of the dangers to democracy if we went in. It is the Blairs, and the new labour lot who have become so pro European. It’s a gravy train for the elites and failed politicains. You don’t need open boarders to have free trade agreements. If the UK votes to stay, the Labour Party will lose another million votes at the next general election because the govt will be powerless to stop mass immigration into the poorer parts of the UK. Taking jobs and driving down wages.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The UK is nominally a big contributor to the EU budget but in fact Osborne has phonied up the numbers. The UK makes hardly any cash contributions.

    2. Kat

      Cameron also said that the UK would have to leave the single market.

      This is not a threat. The problem is that access to the single market is unconditionally tied to free movement of workers; free movement of workers has been one of the four freedoms since the Treaty of Rome and no country gets around it, not even Switzerland. This is a line in the sand for the EU.

      But freedom of movement is anathema for the Leave campaign. There’s simply no way for the British government to interpret a “Leave” other than as a refusal of freedom of movement, and with freedom of movement goes access to the single market. (I note that the referendum is not binding and if the economy were to be shaken up badly enough as a result, I expect that things could change regardless.)

      Neither are the Germans panicking because of UK contributions to the EU budget; the EU budget is set as a (small) percentage of the EU’s GDP, and if the UK were to withdraw, the budget would be reduced accordingly. It isn’t clear if German net contributions would even change significantly, and it is doubtful that they would go up by more than a billion Euro or so (which is pocket change for a country with a GDP of about €3 trillion).

  5. voteforno6

    Maybe keeping Germany divided and weak isn’t such a bad idea after all. They haven’t behaved very responsibly when they’ve been powerful.

    1. Alex morfesis

      Germany the country and its people are wonderful, but schaeuble and the daughter of a german spy are now running the show…those two are the problem…not “germany”…you are as powerful as the rights you are willing to surrender…didnt ben franklin say something about giving up your liberties for security…and getting neither…resilience…people are not resilient anymore in most places…that is how the incompetent, impotent and incontinent can get and stay in power…

  6. fresno dan

    “This question reflects some very basic problems that are plaguing Europe’s elite and its obsequious media”

    This question reflects some very basic problems that are plaguing Europe’s AND America’s elite and its obsequious media
    There, fixed it for ya….

    1. tegnost

      Buttinski dredged this up from guccifer yasterday. It’s the “Reporter Outreach ” program syllabus, and although it’s about DNC v. GOP I think we can safely assume it’s basically a boilerplate for the propagada tag team, oops, I mean advocacy
      June 15, 2016 at 8:31 pm
      This is my favorite part so far, in the paper on the GOP candidates and the DNC’s tactics. Under “Reporter Outreach” you can see that the press has played their part perfectly:


      Working with the DNC and allied groups, we will use several different methods to land these attacks, including:

      • Reporter Outreach: Working through the DNC and others, we should use background briefings, prep with reporters for interviews with GOP candidates, off-the-record conversations and oppo pitches to help pitch stories with no fingerprints and utilize reporters to drive a message.
      • Releases and Social Media: Where appropriate these attacks can be leveraged for more public release, particularly the attacks around specific issues where a public release can point out that Republicans are outside of the mainstream.
      • Bracketing Events: Both the DNC and outside groups are looking to do events and press surrounding Republican events to insert our messaging into their press and to force them to answer questions around key issues.

  7. Barry Fay

    What is the most disappointing aspect for me is that the German people have absolutely no idea of what is going on. They are as bad as the Americans in that regard. (I´ve lived in Berlin for the last 20 years.) When I first moved here I was amazed at the political sophistication and have now watched the “American Way” simply take over the place bit by bit. There are small enclaves of aware people but they play no real role in national discussions. Just looking at the acquiescence of the Germans in treating “terrorism” as an existential threat when it is nothing of the kind is a perfect example. Militarism is sure to follow.

    1. animalogic

      It’s worth remembering that a Brexit could have important international ramifications. As is now well known, the EU plays a vital role in US/ Western imperialism. The examples are legion: the EU’s willingness, AGAINST it’s own interests to further US anti-Russian policy (re: Crimea/Ukraine) is merely an egregious example of EU submissiveness to US policy.
      The fact that evidence continues to mount that the whole “European Project” was initiated and driven by the CIA and other US institutions only emphasises the anti-democratic DNA of the EU.
      The hope is that a Brexit might subvert imperialism. God knows, a domino affect of nations withdrawing from the Union is devoutly to be wished for.
      It’s disappointing that certain political parties call for the referendum to be boycotted on the basis of the nationalistic motivation of many Brexit supporters. No, a Brexit doesn’t guarantee a splintering EU and a knock to imperialism. However, a Brexit defeat probably leaves us with the status quo: more neoliberalism; more imperialism and more Russian provocations. Provocations against the world’s 2ND largest nuclear power. In short, the insanity of gambling with world annihilation.

  8. Barry Fay

    BTW – Mr. Rose is the most astute observer of German politics that I have found! Thanks.

  9. ChrisAtRU

    Spot on with respect to Schäuble, Junker & Tusk. As someone who has been waiting for “the first domino” to fall in the EU/EZ, it’s interesting to look at both sides of the coin as you’ve exposed here:

    “Should Britain prosper after Brexit, the EU elite will have some serious problems. Even worse would be the case that Britain prospers and the EU does not.”

    I’ve always been of the belief that the greatest fear Eurocrats have of any country leaving is exactly this. This is why Schäuble would rather turn Greece into a HIPC within the EZ.

    “Brexit however offers Britain a unique opportunity. Once out of the EU, who are the Tories going to blame when it becomes clear that it is mainly they who are ruining Britain, not the EU or the immigrants?”

    This flip side is kind of funny. If BrExit were driven by a sane realization that the EU/EZ is a broken construct in which (as the author points out) }”[t]here is in reality nothing democratic or transparent” (see also Bill Mitchell), there’d ostensibly be less xenophobic undertones and economic hand-wringing. By reducing the referendum to a mindless blame-game, neither of the major players here – Tories, Eurocrats – elicit much sympathy.

    If #BrExit turns out to be the opening salvo in upending the European neoliberal flank, then I can forget about the flawed participants and cheer for the EU/EZ’s demise from the sidelines.

  10. falak pema

    The irony of this failed experiment called EU; now a de-facto extension of Pax Americana’s lobbyist neo-con neoliberal oligarchy; is that Schroeder proposed another deal to France in 2000.

    When, newly elected, he came hat in hand to remodel the Franco-German Euro alliance into a more federal core structure, based on aligning France and Germany along the lines of his own project–which he subsequently executed on his own– making the new German behemoth a powerhouse based on good labor-capital relations (unlike France) and based on a mercantile economy that has “outgunned” both Japan and USA, making it a rival to current global exporters China and India.

    In 2000 Nice conference the French hosts Chirac and Jospin “pooh-poohed” Schroeder. Chirac was only interested in agricultural subsidies from EU and Jospin had just gone the other way by making French industrial productivity crash via the laxist 35 hour/week legislation. They weren’t interested in making the core EU economy more integrated by fiscal and economic alignment to a then anaemic Germany; still suffering from Kohl’s “one DM= one RM” unification dictat that had bled dry the German machine in the 90s.

    With the massive increase of EU adherents (now 28) in 2000-2004 period Germany became uber alles in this internal market, now the biggest consumer patchwork of balkanised nation states.

    And Mutti Merkel has got all the benefit for Schroeder’s past and very politically unpopular legwork. France has regressed into a wintery discontent of socially polarised and stagflated economy since then.

    And what is worse, it did not coagulate the Latin countries into a more responsible economic outlook by being so short sighted in 2000. France’s hybrid role has been bad both for North as for South in Europe.

    On a more geopolitical front, what the Eu has sown by letting the US dictate European military dismemberment under Nato, as aftermath of Dayton accords in ex-Yugoslavia (which is the writing on the wall about its own impotency), by dictating its own neo-con inspired options in Ukraine, Libya and now Syria, is now compounded by the Anglo-german rift in how to manage the global monetary construct under the EU/US neo-liberal integrated economic banner.

    Yes, the fall out of this twin Pax Americana led global scam called “neooligarchy 1% takes all” dictat, will be something awesome, as financialized capitalism meets its Nemesis.

  11. beene

    What is missing in this article is what is really controlling Euro and the USA which are the central banks which enforce austerity threw setting policy from an unelected group of bankers.

    This is always the Fed’s policy or central bank in Europe. The best example is during FDR’s terms in office the Fed in 1937 insisted on austerity which restarted the depression.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So? Why should “serious and objective” have anything to do with popularity? I’d expect sports and music focused stations to be vastly more popular than a wonky talky radio station.

  12. washunate

    Schäuble has pretty much single-handedly transformed Europe’s recession into a depression as well as reducing Greece to a perpetual humanitarian crisis.

    I appreciate getting a variety of perspectives, but this author had pretty much lost me by here. Attempts in English language communication to make the Germans out to be unique bad guys in world affairs strike me as so far removed from the actual global order of things that they simply have no informational value.

    First, Greece is a NATO member, an institution dominated by the Americans primarily.

    Second, foreign banks helped Greece hide sovereign debt, especially the Americans like Goldman Sachs.

    Third, Greek politicians had the chance to renounce fraudulent debt and tax the oligarchs. Instead they chose to embrace debt and support the oligarchs. Only Greece can decide whether Greece wants to be a sovereign nation or participate in a supranational organizing philosophy.

    Fourth, while we never know the actual terms of things behind the scenes, from what we can gather publicly, the Germans were one of the least belligerent toward Greece (relative to USUK, IMF, ECB, and so forth). They were quite willing (or at least, they positioned themselves as being willing) to provide assistance to help Greece leave EMU. Again, it was the Americans who didn’t want exit to be an option. This notion of German hegemony is a projection onto them by us Anglo-Americans. The whole idea of EMU is one designed to tie Germany to other nations (particularly Paris and Rome), not an aggression of Berlin (and Frankfurt) to take influence over European countries involuntarily. The Euro is the West German Mark; that’s what the other nations originally pegged the currency to as it developed before the official euro could be released for general public usage.

    Have the Germans participated in and enabled American imperialism? Of course. Are they ‘single handedly’ transforming Europe and causing humanitarian crises? Nope.

    1. James Levy

      The complexity of the situation is truly mind-boggling. A lot of it seems to be ideology run amok. Part of it is Germany’s fault (largely cultural hubris and ignorance of outsiders, not imperialism). Part of it is Germany doing America’s bidding. Part of it was the Greek failure to enforce a viable taxation system. And the weirdest thing to me is that the long-term benefits to Germany will be eradicated by a policy that impoverishes her customers.

      1. geoff

        Agreed the Greek crisis is very complex (I followed it pretty closely here, and still my eyes often glazed over), but I recall reading here just yesterday a brief recollection from (then) Greek FM Varoufakis of a conversation with German FM Schauble. Varoufakis, still new on the job, asked longtime FM Schauble, person to person, “if you were me, would you take this deal?” (meaning the crushing austerity Germany/ the EU/ the IMF demanded for a bailout). Per Varoufakis, Schauble admitted that he would not.

        1. TRV

          It’s “complex” because no one will acknowledge Washington’s central role in blowing and maintaining the finance bubble. Everyone is trying to explain the movement of the rubble without reference to the wrecking ball. It’s like Kafka’s “Observations of a Dog” where dog civilization has an absolute taboo against acknowledging that humans exist and dogs have to speak in bizarre circumlocutions like “food appeared on the ground”.

          Brussels was in no position at all to refuse the U.S.’s junk paper at the time. The U.S. was dependent on selling that junk to keep its own economy afloat in the wake of the dot-com crash and in the midst of colossal war spending. It was still in a post-9/11 frenzy, and had Brussels said no to the fraud, it’s not hard to imagine who the U.S. public would have fingered for the resulting crash. Half the talking heads were already railing about “Eurabia” as it was.

          1. washunate

            This adds some interesting context to claims of German bullying.

            “Anyone who thinks you can increase security in the alliance with symbolic parades of tanks near the eastern borders, is mistaken,” Germany’s top diplomat added.

            It appears what is really going on is that USUK is agitating for war, and the Germans are the ones hesitating.

        2. Quantum Future

          Geoff – Let me make it simple. Consider the Roman empire. Formal states that refused to pay tribute to Rome where increasing megalomaniac behavior of supporting them or you didn’t came to become called ‘barbarians’.

          I know that sociopaths form groups and loot people with various schemes and war. What I don’t get is why so many are still confused because of this. That sounds mean doesn’t it?

          People can exchange value in trade with both parties being happy. But increasing individuals form a group to dictate ‘fair value’ at the point of a gun. And the second layer of that are sociopaths who understand but subscribe to increase wealth. The answer to this isn’t simple policies, they are to understand first why a person becomes a sociopath (digestive disorder 90% of the time) and then how they form groups. Then money and raw energy (currency) policies can be better discussed. 100 years ago this was not possible. Now it is.

          Former discussions centuries ago just simply called people wolves and sheep. That still works but best to understand why you are a wolf when we do not want neither wolves nor sheep in our human existence.

          Why is it so hard for some to figure out why politicians sell out to wolves that do not offer equal value in trade.

            1. Quantum Future

              Here Lambert and audience, start with this ABC article:

              Now go further for those that want help. Just Google ‘Mental illness and digestive disorders’. There is more information on this than all of Naked Capitalism combined. Hope you were being nice Lambert, trying to educate here have no vested interests other than been through a mill and had to educate myself to get better.

      2. washunate

        …long-term benefits to Germany will be eradicated by a policy that impoverishes her customers…

        Yep, that’s the saddest part to me as well. We are squandering the potential resources of decades’ worth of peacetime capital accumulation for what are effectively peanuts in the scheme of things.

  13. Synoia

    The British have a history, and an education system which encourages challenging authority.

    Coupled with a dislike of being told by outsiders what’s good for them.

    Where “them” is the outsiders. I cannot conceive of a better way to changes minds in the UK for outsiders to come, Obama, The Germans, The French, etc, and instruct them.

    I suggest listening to question time in The UK’s Parliament to get some sense of the mechanisms at play.

  14. Die Wende

    There are two possibilities for ending this period of retrograde development: collapse à la the Soviet Bloc, or war. Both are maturing. War is further along. But these signs of salutary collapse are grounds for hope. If collapse overtakes mobilization and confrontation, we may get out of this alive.

  15. Ignacio

    As I was recently in Brussels a member of an NGO explained that Germany is very content with the current EU situation

    I wouldn’t use the word Germany in this case as if every german in particular is content with the situation. Even if a majority of germans are content with the situation, and i doubt it, it is a false statement.

  16. Jim Haygood


    Jo Cox, a British member of parliament, has died after being shot while meeting constituents, the police announced.

    Cox, a Labour MP, was shot by a man who an eyewitness said yelled “Britain first.”

    Cox was a supporter of the campaign to remain in the European Union. Both the Remain and Leave campaigns were suspended after the shooting.

    Terribly sad day for Jo Cox and for Britain.

    Was this a “lone nut” … or a last, desperate bid by the europhile establishment?

    Where does a Brit get a gun anymore, anyhow?

    1. William C

      Reportedly, the murderer has a history of mental illness and shouted ‘Britain First’.

      If Jo Cox was murdered for supporting Remain, then I think that the Leave campaign is finished

    2. James Levy

      The speculation about Europhiles is about as convincing as saying that because some psycho Muslim shot up a nightclub in Orlando Donald Trump must be behind it because he’s been the one making hay on the “keep the Muslims out” bandwagon. If I insinuated that I’d be pilloried, and for damned good reason: it’s a ridiculous slander and based on nothing but the crudest of cui bono imagining.

      People are not going to run to the polls and vote “Stay” because of this murder.

  17. dk

    … it could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety.

    Ha. Politics 101: when things start going sideways, blame your enemies. All the better if it’s actually your fault.

  18. majormajor

    Yves, the UK does contribute £350m per week to the EU budget. It then receives a significant rebate but the gross amount is accurate and paid. Osborne, if he were lying, would be seeking to play down the amount. Finally, the EU keeps the customs duties on all members’ external imports and as the UK runs a huge trade deficit, that is a big tax on the UK every year….

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      What he fudges are items related to defense spending. He counts items that the UK has already committed for independent reasons.

  19. Plenue

    “The first is a specifically German one: Authority should not be questioned.”

    I’m curious, can Rose or someone else tell me what, if any, fundamental changes the crushing defeat in WW2, the Nuremberg Trials, etc brought about in German society and culture? If after all that the general attitude is still “ve must follow ze orders!” then there’s really no hope for it.

    1. Reality's Stooge

      Rose does himself no favors by marring his otherwise reasonable piece with that cringeworthy cliché. It is slightly ironic that in 2016 there are still plenty of reasonably intelligent people in the English speaking world, notably the UK, who honestly believe that “authority should not be questioned” is a uniquely German attitude. The implication is that Germans are predisposed to mindlessly obeying authority and when Hitler 2.0 inevitably crawls out of the woodwork it will 1939 all over again.

      This is, of course, absolute nonsense.

      Or have scientists discovered a latent Teutonic Milgram gene that can be activated Manchurian Candidate style instantly transforming Germany into a nation of goose-stepping automatons who exist only to “follow ze neue Führer’s orders”? If so, a link to the relevant research would be much appreciated. It’s curious how often this trope is offered up as an “explanation” for nefarious and authoritarian actions taken by various players in Germany’s political hierarchy. So, for example, Wolfgang Schüauble being an asshole can be traced back to 1939-1945 because, well, what do you expect? The guy’s German so if he’s not kowtowing to authority he is authority. Simples!

      Look, WW2 is over. The Nazis were defeated and Germany was pounded into submission. That was over 70 years ago and the country has since rebuilt and reinvented itself. It is not the same place it was in the first half of the 20th century. If you are going to criticize Germany’s neoliberal elites and take Germans to task for deluding themselves on certain issues and practicing selective ignorance to avoid facing uncomfortable truths about their nation…by all means do so (assuming you are familiar with the country and its inhabitants). But don’t reduce the actions of Germans to a stale and outdated cliché – it’s insulting to Germans and it makes you look stupid.

  20. Erwin Thomas

    Thank you Mathew for clearly elucidating what others refuse to see. It’s amazing to see how the remain camp deludes itself into thinking that being progressive is equated with being part of the EU when in fact it is the equivalent of being a serf. You have no control over anything important that affects your life. All the power remains with the European Commission.

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