Tories Double Down on Brexit Fantasies as EU Again Says “Nein”

The Tories are taking delusion to a new level.

The Cabinet met for 8 hours yesterday to hammer out a unified position on Brexit. The official version is that everyone emerged thinking they had gotten what they wanted.

That simply means the bickering will be on hold for a bit. There is no way for the hard and soft Brexit factions of the Tories to reconcile their positions. And more generally, in negotiations when the two sides have meaningful differences in their position, a good deal is one where both parties come out feeling a bit bruised. They had to make meaningful concessions. So unless there was some blood on the floor and one side emerged a significant loser, differences were merely papered over.

The Tories are unwilling to deal with Brexit in a serious manner because if and when they do, the two camps will have to duke it out. As Richard North put it:

Rebellious Tory backbenchers can be full of fire and fury when their government has a big majority but, when the margin is slender and the opposition looks poised to win the next election, the MPs invariably rediscover the advantages of obedience, and put the party first.

Right before the ministerial meeting started at Chequers, the EU put out a document that had been reviewed by member state diplomats, that reaffirmed the EU’s position on key issues. It is remarkable how many times the EU keeps repeating the same basic points about what the UK can and cannot expect to achieve, and the UK keeps acting as if it can demand something not on offer and have it delivered.

One of the UK’s pet demands has been that it shouldn’t have to conform with EU rules all that tightly, yet should still have the benefits of streamlined (or per the UK pipe dream, frictionless) trade. The EU has said no to this and sadly saw the need to say no again.

From the Guardian:

Under what is understood to be Mays [sic] preferred model, the UK would be in regulatory alignment with the EU in some areas while finding different ways to achieve the same outcomes in other sectors. In the so-called third basket of sectors, the UK would in time diverge from the EU and go its own way under the model.

Yet, with something close to incendiary timing, the European commission, hours abefore the cabinet get-together, has published a document ruling out the model.

It is claimed by Brussels that such an approach would breach an agreement among EU27 leaders to prevent cherry-picking by the UK that it is said would pose a risk to the integrity of the single market.

The document says: “UK views on regulatory issues in the future relationship including ‘three basket approach’ are not compatible with the principles in the [European council] guidelines.”

The paper, discussed and agreed among member state diplomats, claims the model proposed by the UK would also appear to give the UK a say in EU decision-making. The paper responds that “no EU-UK co-decision” is possible and that the UK is either “in or out”.

The document adds that the approach proposed by the UK would also have to involve a central role for the European court of justice. Even if the UK weakened its stance to allow this, the paper claims, there would be a problem in enforcing the court’s decisions without the rest of EU law being applicable.

So what came out of the Cabinet confab? It’s almost painful to read. From the Financial Times:

The 11-member Brexit cabinet committee was said by those at the Chequers meeting to have endorsed a proposal dubbed “Canada plus plus plus” by David Davis, the Brexit secretary.

Under the plan, Britain would seek to negotiate a free-trade agreement similar to the EU-Canada deal, but then try to embellish it by securing better access to the single market for goods and services through close regulatory co-operation.

Brexiters seized on the broad agreement at Chequers that Britain should be able to set its own rules and regulations, allowing an “ambitious managed divergence” with the EU over time.

But Remainers, led by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, insisted that the starting point should be that Britain and the EU would have high levels of alignment…

The EU and UK would agree common regulatory goals, known in London as an “equivalence of outcomes”, but would be free to achieve those goals in different ways.

The “right to diverge” would be overseen by a dispute resolution mechanism, imposing market access sanctions if either side tried to disrupt the level playing field. There would be a mutual recognition of each other’s rules and regulators.

The EU had rejected all of this even before the meeting. Barnier even developed a cute graphic that showed that the only type of deal the UK could have given its red lines was a Canada-type arrangement. You could call it “Canada plus” to allow for the idea that a deal with the UK would require an extensive section on services, which was not part of the Canada treaty. But “plus plus plus” is old “deep and special” wine in new bottles. And that wine turned to vinegar quite a while back.

Similarly, the EU had told the UK no “equivalence” for financial services. It has said if the UK is going to have single-market type access, as it will during the transition period, it needs to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ. And “mutual recognition of each other’s rules and regulators” has never been on offer. The EU will conform to UK requirements when exporting goods and services to its market as it does with all other third countries as a matter of course.

I wish I could come up with a suitable Monty Python clip to illustrate this bizarre dynamic. But that’s not a fit, because the characters in Monty Python, no matter how daft, are still adults. Despite the OxBridge veneer, the UK is acting like a child who thinks if he makes enough of a ruckus, the adults will give in. The EU has already shown it isn’t of that school of parenting.

This episode generated many pithy comments from Financial Times readers, such as:

Hi – I’d like to discuss driving my LH drive car on your UK motorways. I’d like to follow my own local laws but I’m going to make sure that I follow the principle of “equivalence of outcomes” so I will always drive with the aim of not crashing. I recognise that continuing to drive on the right as I do at home would create difficulties given the flow of traffic in the UK, but obviously on a motorway I will be able to drive in the outside lane and treat it as the equivalent of the slow lane at home – I believe this will be an acceptable compromise that recognises my sovereignty while creating a deep and special road-based relationship.

I find roundabouts confusing but traffic lights are ok, so I’d like to diverge when I get to a roundabout, always subject to the overriding “equivalence of outcomes” principle, so I promise to not actually crash. Your police may be concerned by the screeching tyres and evasive action of other road users as I exercise my very limited and reasonable “right to diverge” but I hope you will regard this as evidence of the vibrant and dynamic nature of our new deep and special relationship.

If an accident does happen I don’t want to be subject to UK courts since that would infringe my sovereignty. Instead I propose that we set up an independent tribunal to adjudicate.

Over time there my be other aspects of your motorway laws that I find difficult to comply with or just hard to understand so I reserve the right to follow a programme of “ambitious managed divergence” – we can discuss the details as we go along (just call me on my mobile – it’s not hands-free but I can usually reach it in the passenger footwell – I can always stop if I think it’s unsafe to continue driving – people hoot as they swerve to avoid me parked in the fast lane but reaching the hard shoulder is such a pain and I find driving without the music of the horns is distracting).

I look forward to forging a deep and special partnership of motorway users. But let us be creative as well as practical in designing an ambitious partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the UK, and the wishes of the foreign drivers like me. A partnership of interests, a partnership of values; a partnership of ambition for a shared future: UK drivers and me side by side delivering prosperity and opportunity for all.

This is the future within our grasp – so, together, let us seize it.

As Richard North put it:

In many ways, Mrs May is now confronted with an unsolvable dilemma. The practical, political and legal hurdles, separately and combined, have conspired to create a perfect storm of unsolvability (if that is actually a word) which would defeat a constitutional or political genius and surely prove beyond the ken of our current prime minister, who is self-evidently neither.

The question then must not be what manner of deeds are required to cut a Gordian knot of such dimensions as to make the original look little more than a snag in a running line. If Brexit means Brexit, as a newly-appointed prime minister was keen to assure us, then unsolvable means unsolvable.

We are way past anything that will get Mrs May’s “war cabinet” off the hook on which it is impaled. The task now is to put the creature out of its misery as fast and humanely as possible, and to minimise the damage and mess as it thrashes around in its ungainly and violent death-throes.

Politically, this is the embodiment of the age-old joke, occasioned when certain tourists asked for directions to Dublin, only to be told, “I wouldn’t start from here”. There is no way, from her current political location, that Mrs May can make it to her destination – whatever that might be.

May is set to give a speech on Brexit next week. So expect the usual infighting to resume then.

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    1. Anonymous2

      Thank you Yves

      Yes. It is all utterly depressing as well as absurd.

      I think this is going to be studied by schools of public administration and politics departments for decades to come as an example of how not to run a country. For me, part of the problem stems from the design of the referendum and the deplorable quality of the debate in the run-up to the vote.

      If, before the referendum debate was started, the Leave campaign had been required to specify what sort of Brexit it would pursue, the UK would not now be having these internal discussions when it is supposed to be negotiating with the EU. It is more than likely IMO that Leave would have lost the vote, as they would not have been able to promise all things to all men as they were able to in 2016. Indeed, if the requirement had been that they needed to reach agreement among themselves before the vote took place, we might still be waiting for the referendum.

      I suspect the UK is heading either for a prolonged ‘vassal state’ condition, because at current rate of progress it is not going to be ready by end 2020, or, alternatively, have an ‘over the cliff’ experience in early 2019. Either would be sufficiently humiliating to discourage any other EU member state from being foolish enough to think it would be better off outside the EU, though the EU would probably prefer the former as less disruptive for them. I guess domestic UK politics will decide, though I cannot for the life of me be sure which way those are going to pan out.

      Worrying times.

      1. Strategist

        I think people are going to take a look at vassal state Brexit and say “what a load of crap”. They will be behind Rees-Mogg & co on that. But when they take a serious look at cliff edge Brexit they are going to go crazy and bury the Brexiteers under their own ordure.

        People need to be made more aware that there is a third alternative to the cliff-edge and vassal state Brexit options: stop Brexit. Before 29 March 2019 it’s very straightforward: withdraw the Article 50 notification. Whether or not Britain has the legal right to do this unilaterally is not currently relevant – Juncker, Macron, Verhofstadt, Tusk are all offering the olive branch.

        The domestic political ask is a completely democratic one – a ratification referendum on the final Brexit deal, with Remain as an option. No-one is arguing that the previous referendum should be ignored by MPs or anyone. We have obeyed the instruction of the previous referendum to load the gun and hold it to our own heads; the ratification referendum is just a double-check on whether we want to pull the trigger.

        Withdrawing Article 50 is such an extraordinary option. Yes there’ll be a mild hangover, but overall it will be like waking up from a bad dream. But it’s only available till 29 March 2019, so we need to get a move on and work to make it happen.

  1. PlutoniumKun

    The Guardian is reporting that while the government are (apparently) saying that the issue of exiting the Customs Union is now ‘closed’ (i.e. no reversal), but Tory rebels may well vote with Labour to vote this down in Parliament. I think this really would be the crunch if the government lost a vote on it, although I suspect there won’t be enough Tory rebels to make a difference – for the Tories tribalism usually wins out.

    Either way, it does seem now that some sort of collapse is inevitable, whether it is the government, the negotiations with the EU, or the whole country.

    1. hemeantwell

      The Guardian reports a possible Labour/Tory rebel alignment in a Corbyn speech on the 26th.

      “With Theresa May expected to unveil her vision for departure from the EU next week, following eight hours of talks with key ministers at the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat, she now faces the prospect of Labour sabotaging the carefully choreographed process.

      In what will be a closely watched speech, Corbyn is expected to signal that Labour is prepared to back the UK staying in a customs union with the EU.”

      1. vlade

        CU is not a solution – definitely not to Northern Ireland problem. TBH, CU only solution is only marginally better than a WTO one, as it has no effect on most of the Non-tarrif-barriers (NTB) I believe (happy to be corrected – but look at Turkey).

        What I’d like to know is whether Labour understand this, and maybe puts in CU as the step one to acknowledging single-market participation, or is as clueless as Tories are on trade matters. Given the lack of real experts on this, and the lack of them being given any sort of ear, I’d not be surprised by the latter.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I doubt if it would fly with the EU anyway, or at least not without a very high cost (i.e. joining fee).

          I suspect this is more of a political move than anything else by Labour, they don’t seem to bothered about getting to grips with the details. It helps to ease internal tensions between Corbyn and his activists (who seem to be strongly pro-Remain) and the Blairites, while also ratcheting up the pressure on the Tories.

    2. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Large swathes of the UK have been in economic collapse since the ascent of Thatcher in 1979, with, or without, membership of the EEC/EU, and it was these very regions, that on the whole, voted for the UK to remove itself from the EU.

      With regards this Tory Government, and indeed with regards the UK Civil Service, I can only say that Thatcherism/neoliberalism has been an utter disaster. It would seem greed got the better of many a publicly minded servant, never mind the politicisation of the service itself, hence the dilapidated quality of both governance and administration at a senior level – looks like too many went into finance, the skill set of which is inappropriate for the present high level negotiations. There are no Metternich’s or Talleyrand’s within the UK elite that’s for sure, which is a shame, for the qualities these two diplomats had are required in spades presently.

      My own feelings, given the pigs ear the Tories are making of the negotiations, and their inability to confront the facts, is that this administration will, unlike John Major’s administration, fail on the alter of the EU. And, that this failure will result in the much feared hard Brexit, which in turn, may result in the dissolution of the UK polity itself – a matter the SNP may well be pleased with.

      The alternative, is, we have a fudge, which ensures the UK never actually leaves the EU. It is this fear of a fudge that worries the actual Left.

      1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

        The question for me is, with a hard Brexit effectively being decided, how will the blame be assigned. Unlike in the 1930:s all parties are in NATO and cannot go to war with each other.

  2. Strategist

    Meanwhile, the Stop Brexit Bus is on the road and rolling.

    Grassroots action will successfully build on the change of mood that is already occurring in the country to get Corbyn Labour to flip their position and back a ratification referendum. (That change can & will come as a response to grassroots pressure, as opposed to from the Blair Labour people who were trying to assassinate him only 8 months ago – and still are).

    Of that I have no doubt. We even have friends from across the pond helping out with their US panache and knowhow.

    “To stop Brexit is the only patriotic option” – look at that crowd – victory is surely just round the corner!!

      1. Strategist

        Larry, you’re dead right. I don’t what I did wrong, but if you want to see the pics then go to and search for Natalie Bennett’s tweets at @natalieben

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      In response to your last sentence: ““To stop Brexit is the only patriotic option” – look at that crowd – victory is surely just round the corner!!”, may I remind you of this fact, as per Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

      1. Strategist

        The Stop Brexit Bus rolls into Liverpool, home of those lovable moptops.

        Snowballs start small, but this thing is unstoppable now.

        Sam. Johnson was a good old quipster but was as staunch an English patriot as any. There are no absolutes around this. The urgent need now is to reclaim the flag and the label ‘patriot’ from the crazies, like that slimeball Dan Hannan with his plan to forcefeed us & our kids chlorine-washed chickens That issue really resonates and I think on its own could actually kill Brexit.

  3. Anke

    Dear Yves,

    Thank you for your continued coverage of the Brexit debacle. I have to admit that I tune into NC primarily for your reporting of the latest events, as I do not get to read every piece of news, because, quite frankly, I do not have the patience for the continuos political back-and-forth.

    Firstly, I wish to say that I regard the nature of the negotiations on the UK side as predictable. It is clear that the local elites have gone from bad to worse in terms of economic mismanagement and now they are trying to divert blame from themselves and portray everything as if it were the foreigners’ fault. One should understand that living on an island does not only come with advantages (e.g. you are relatively cut off from migration), but also disadvantages: there is no place to hide. And although the Caribbeans are sunny and warm, nothing really compares to Kensington or a countryside mansion – in all earnest (!). Political (and economic) stakes are high and a loss of face would be unbearable, as such we should not expect moderation in either public dialogue or negotiations. Coupled with the Western aversion to compromise (which is regarded as weakness) and an aggressive mentality (“the best defence is offence”), you get what we have today.

    Second, I would like to express the opinion that, in my view, regardless of Brexit, the economic prospects of this country are not that great, particularly those for the working class. After years of debt-fuelled LBOs targeting more or (increasingly) less suitable companies and industries, “cost optimisation” measures, lack of training in the workforce (at a time when billions of ambitious Indians and Chinese are joining the global competition), increasing debt levels, short-term focused mentality, unsuccessful PPPs and other factors, this economy’s performance is destined to be “average” at best and the burden will fall on the taxpayer! A falling pound and high dependency on imports (especially for energy and food) will decrease life quality considerably.

    Finally, I have to say that I myself am now looking to relocate to the Continent. As much as I greatly appreciate and admire some aspects of this country (which for better or worse remains one of the world’s leading nations), I think my experience in the UK will end this year. In spite of the negative reports on the EU in the Anglo-American press, I believe the EU is very much aware of the urgency with which it needs to reform and prepare for new economics paradigms. Even in terms of energy independence and implementation of EVs, the EU is diligently (albeit quietly) ploughing effectively ahead.


    1. vlade

      Western? Maybe Anglo-Saxon. Or, I’d say, countries with different than proportional representation system. The continent is built on compromises for the last half a century at least, in some places much longer. Proportional system w/o compromises is totally unworkable. And that’s why most established parties in a non-proportional (UK, US, Aussie) say is “bad”. Because they are not used to do compromises, they like it “my way or highway”.

      1. Anke

        By “the West” I do mean what you refer to as the Anglo-Saxons. In my view, the term “the West” is a political one and its geographic boundaries are quite blurry. I prefer not to use the term Anglo-Saxon because I think there are many other peoples whose ideas have contributed to the modus operandi of what I refer to as “the West”. It might be related to their political institutions, as you well point out, but my knowledge of this topic is very limited, so I will refrain from delving into this matter.

      2. Chris

        vlade, what makes you think Australia’s voting system is non-proportional?

        We have compulsory preferential voting, with hand marked paper ballots counted in public.

        1. vlade

          Apologies, for some reason I thought you had some very weak version of proportional – weaker than NZ’s MMP (which I find the weakest practical system still having some proportionality), but was wrong.

        2. Celery

          Preferential voting is not proportional voting, and while fairer in many senses than FPTP, it has a tendency to reinforce two-party systems rather than support a diversity of minor parties that need to compromise with each other. The single transferable vote system used in the Australian Senate is essentially a proportional-with-preferences system though and tends to produce mostly proportional outcomes.

    2. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Would you please elucidate on the EU reforms you mention, specifically those related to monetary union, which, has blessed the Euro Zone members with perpetual austerity, which obviously has major economic implications for the not so well heeled across the EU.

      The Uk’s problems are systemic, but basically boil down to a lack of meaningful long term planning, a lack of meaningful training for many of the nations inhabitants and a focus on short term lip balms that continue the downwards trajectory.

      Our NHS is in crisis because of a lack of funding, combined with a lack of skilled personnel across all fields. Recruiting skilled persons from emerging economies and EU nations themselves suffering as a result of neoliberalism on steroids only ever offered a short-term fix. Essentially, as in the USA, our Elite as been averse to investing in its own people, this despite a rising population and increased demands on public services.

      I care little for financial services, which seems to have swallowed some of our brightest, most well educated nations, as the expense of science and academia. Our government talks of training, but offers no training. Our government talks of expanding educational opportunities, whilst imposing costs that are prohibitive. Our government has sold off all our public utilities for scant financial reward.

      In the 70s we were able to send over 10% of 18 year olds to University, others had apprenticeships and excellent training via the NHS itself – nursing being a classic example, or the state owned utilities, be it engineering, electric and mechanical or no end of other vocations like law or accountancy, both of which could be accessed without a University Degree – not so today.

      I do not share the opinion that the UK is doomed, in or without the EU. I do share the opinion that the nation is screwed if we continue to enact neoliberal economic prescriptions that are most unsuited for tomorrow, which means change must come from Westminster, or newly independent states that have thrown off the yoke of Westminster and English misrule and economic mismanagement on an enormous scale.

      The UK is blessed, it can actually embrace renewable forms of energy, it can grow a far bit of its own food and it can actually make great manufactured goods – that no plans are in place to actually husband the potential of our youth, direct a longterm economic strategy or even consider our ills by the Elite is damnation enough – Globalisation as it exists ain’t working and only benefits an Elite, which then parades itself in Davos and elsewhere.

      We need a new direction under a leadership that cares, which points in the direction of a revitalised Labour movement that does not dance to a neoliberal tune. And this ain’t going to be easy, but that does not mean its impossible.

      With regards EU Reforms, specifically on Monetary Union Bill Mitchell’s analysis is great, together with the Lexit Network.

      1. Anke


        I do struggle to find a point of disagreement between what you have described as systemic problems of the UK and the issues I have listed, as we have written about more or less the same things. And yes, I do agree that it boils down to short-termism, which I have mentioned as a core issue myself. However, I did not exalt the importance of financial services, nor (more importantly) did I use the word “doomed”. I also do not think the UK will empty out (at the very least, I am convinced the British will stay), but I do think there will be an outflow of skills and money which will be difficult to replace in the short- to mid-term.

        I agree that with every change comes opportunity, but it is exactly the capacity to seize this opportunity that I cannot put my faith in. Most importantly, the lack of clarity on the format of this transition period, as well as the nature/quality of the negotiations, make me think that waiting to see how things will turn out in the end might be a bet with some upside but tremendous downside. I am not saying this with malicious glee, I am merely saying that I personally am not willing to take this leap of faith.


        1. Christopher Dale Rogers


          My issue is quite simple, you mentioned that the EU is reforming itself, and my point is quite simple, its not reforming itself, specifically with regards European Monetary Union and fiscal constraints that are etched into all Treaties from Maastricht onwards – which is why, it pays dividends to not only read Varoufakis on the EU structures itself, but also the likes of Mitchell & Fazi. I only wish the EU as its presently constituted was capable of meaningful change, but the evidence suggests, particularly after the Euro Crisis, that it would take a catastrophe for the EU to change its spots. And one of the main reasons for this is the fact that despite notions of a fully fledged Federal entity being popular within the EU Elite, said Federalism and its concurrent & necessary fiscal transfers is a non-runner as far as the Federal German Elite are concerned – hence, my insistence that EMU equates to perpetual austerity for the bulk of EU members, which is detrimental to the bulk of the EU’s population.

          From a UK perspective, its far easier to abandon neoliberalism free of Treaty constraints imposed by EU membership, than it is to try and battle for Reform and ending of neoliberalism at the Brussels Institutions from within. Of course, this means a massive mind change within Westminster and adoption of policies that put the UK on a solid footing in the long term, which is anathema to our Elite and many large business concerns run by these elites.

          My own economic reasoning is that things for the UK would be tough in the short to medium term, namely a 10 year horizon, but its not as if the nation has not faced these challenges previously, particularly in the ten years after WWII.

          So, let me be blunt, one large global economy at least has to break with the prevailing neoliberal/neoconservative order if we are to turn the tide, and Brexit offers the UK this opportunity, one I think certain figures within the Labour Party understand. This cannot be said for the Conservatives, or those so addicted to the EU that they are unable to see the Institutional problems that afflict it.

          Again, and despite 46 years membership of the EEC/EU, many areas of the UK are economically devastated. Now, of course I cannot blame this fact on the EU, quite the reverse, I blame it on Westminster and the neoliberal policies followed since the late 70s – economic prescriptions the EU itself is now addicted too, and has been since the early 80s as far as monetary union is concerned.

          So, I’m all for a People’s Europe, which is a far cry from the Europe we have presently, but this is not to say that one day such an entity won’t be possible.

  4. Jack

    Reading this article brings to mind the episode of Victoria we watched last night. Sir Robert Peel, PM went against his own party and with the help of the opposition repealed the corn laws in England. The corn laws, particularly in the wake of the Irish potato famine, were causing people to starve all over the country. Peel put himself above politics and did the right thing for his people. He subsequently had to quit as PM. What a shock it would be if a politician came forward today and did what was right and best for the citizenry, instead of focusing what was in their personal best interest. (It would be nice if that were to happen in the good ‘ol USA as well).

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Not sure which historians and economic historians you are referring too with regards Robert Peel and the Corn Laws in particular, given it was the merchant class that desired lower food prices, namely bread, so they could pay their workers less money – the plight of the Irish had little to do with this fact, whilst the 1832 Great Reform Act played a massive part, namely, an extended franchise mean’t the Whigs and Tories had to gain votes from the emerging Middle Class, that is, merchants and manufacturers. I’m not of the opinion the National Interest played a part in this, unless you mean increasing business profits at the expense of the workers – a sort of ‘whats good for General Motors is good for the USA’ shall we say.

      If, you desire to focus on someone who put what was morally right above political interest, then its Peel’s disciple Gladstone you need look at, who moved heaven and earth to try and resolve the Irish Question, and in doing so, split the Liberal Party, which was the spawn of Robert Peel, namely it had an adherence to free trade and liberal economic fiscal and monetary policy.

      Let us not forget, the UK in the timeline from 1846 to 1900 had massive inequality, huge social unrest and shameful living conditions for the bulk of the population – matters only began to improve with the birth of Trades Unionism and a recognition by the Elite that in times of strife the UK would have to field a large standing army, if it was to confront either France or Germany post 1871, and this did not occur until Campbell-Bannerman’s first Liberal administration in 1905, that essentially gifted us the beginnings of a welfare state.

      Indeed, the only time the UK’s working class has closed the wealth gap is in time of war, the Napoleonic Wars, First World War or Second World war being classic examples, or when the ideas of Keynes were put to work from 1945-1975. The post Keynes economic order came in 1975 with the IMF Loan to the UK, which had monetarist strings attached, hence the UK’s Winter of Discontent in 1978, which ushered in the Thatcher neoliberal order, that we have yet to break from.

      I’m of the opinion that both Corbyn & McDonnell will put the condition of England first, namely, adopt some radical policies that assist the bulk of our nation, rather than the top 5%. Of course, they need to command a majority in Parliament first, which, as stated, ain’t no easy task.

  5. Synoia

    Brexit appears to me to be trial, or first try, of how to unwind neo-liberalism. Looks hard without a war.

    As for May not reaching her goal, she has it, being Prime Minister; and that comes under the heading of “be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

    1. Mark P.

      Brexit appears to me to be trial, or first try, of how to unwind neo-liberalism.

      Yes. It’s run longest in the UK, of course.

      Sadly, neoliberalism won’t be replaced as quietly and in as relatively non-savage a way as forty years ago the Keynesian Bretton-Woods order was supplanted by Thatcher-Reagan-ism, and that itself took almost a decade to be realized and had its confrontations like the Winter of Discontent.

      In 2010 I had a loft in Oakland, California, within twenty blocks of Occupy Oakland’s encampment. Every night while that lasted, I witnessed the helicopters the authorities kept flying above Occupy with the lights turned on, and day and night the SWAT teams, state troopers and extra police forces brought in from around the state. This suppression was part of a nationwide crackdown coordinated by the Obama administration at the federal level.

      Similarly, in 2011 there were the London riots; in 2014, the Ferguson riots. The logical prognosis is a decade or two of blood and increasingly brutal repression by the TPTB, alongside constant denial and suppression in all media of the truth, that the status quo is hated and collapsing (with, forex, this site coming under increasing attack as ‘fake news.’) There’ll also the growth of fascist, right-wing groups, in part because they’ll be deliberately promoted by the TPTB because they find such groups preferable to the leftist alternatives.

      Interesting times.

      1. Synoia

        Hopefully different when a state tries to address the neo-liberal order. Although Left Wing Governments are not popular in the Bowels of DC.

  6. George Phillies

    There continues to be a likelihood that the negotiations will, in the end, fail and the UK will simply exit. The outcome may be trying, though probably less so than the German strategic and submarine warfare campaigns of Herr Schickelgruber.

    1. Synoia

      Herr Schickelgruber was certainly a remedy for Obesity, both in the UK and certain areas surrounded by barbed wire in Europe.

      I suspect that was never his objective, reducing obesity.


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