Brexit and the oral culture of journalism

by John Quiggin on August 2, 2018

For anyone following the trainwreck of Brexit, Richard North’s eureferendum.com is an indispensable source. North was (and, at least in principle, still is) a Leave supporter, proposing a model called Flexcit (roughly, the Norway/EFTA/EEA option), but has long since broken with May, Johnson and the rest of the Brexiteers.

North is scathing about the low level of analysis of just about everyone involved in the debate, the only consistent exceptions being Pete North (not sure if or how they are related) and his former employer Christopher Booker who, despite being on the denialist fringe of the climate debate, seems to make sense on Brexit.

I’ll ask a question about Brexit over the fold, but I mainly wanted to cite this important observation. Attacking a recent report, he writes that the author

proudly announces that his piece “is based on conversations” with certain prestigious persons, rather than to reference to primary sources. This so typifies the “oral culture” approach of what passes for journalism, with not even a passing reference to the Commission’s Notices to Stakeholders.

It is probably this superficial, prestige-driven approach which defines the popular Efta/EEA narrative. The average journalist would have a nose-bleed if they ever had to look at a copy of the EEA Agreement. In-depth “research” means looking up back copies of the Financial Times. As for the politicians, they seem to make it up as they go along.

The point about the oral culture is spot-on, I think. I remember observing long ago that journalists, unlike bloggers, assume that they can ring anyone up about anything and expect an answer. That has a huge influence on the way the media work.

Now a question. A “No Deal” outcome looks increasingly likely, and at least some Brexiteers welcome the idea. But a literal “No Deal” would mean that planes would stop flying, trade between Britain and the EU would slow to a crawl, food shortages and so on. So, just about everyone assumes that “No Deal” actually means an emergency deal of some kind. Until today, though, I hadn’t seen any discussion of what such an emergency deal might be like.

Today, the Guardian reports the prospect, quickly denounced and denied, of a “blind Brexit”, described as “a face-saving deal in which many of the major issues were deferred for negotiation during the transition after the UK has legally left the bloc”.

It seems implausible to me that, at a time of maximum leverage, the EU would be primarily concerned with saving face for Theresa May. But I’d be interested to know what others think about it, and if anyone else is discussing the shape of a “No Deal” deal.

{ 168 comments }

1

Murali 08.02.18 at 7:49 am

I would wish that any further negative consequences from Brexit would wait for another year until after I move back to Singapore.

I can’t comprehend the idiocy of the hard brexiteers who think that the UK could just leave the EU and everything will be hunky dory.

2

Tabasco 08.02.18 at 8:14 am

In the game show Deal or No Deal most contestants choose No Deal. It seems to part of human psychology to think you can do better by continuing to play the game, if that is an option.

This is particularly relevant for Britain since early in her show biz career Meghan Markle was a briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal. Perhaps she should advise Mrs May on what happened to contestants who refused the deal. Much more often than not, they ended up with next to nothing.

3

casmilus 08.02.18 at 8:40 am

Eureferendum.com and crookedtimber.org are 2 sites I check every morning. Nice to see a crossover between them, like a crossover episode with 2 different “CSI” franchises.

Previously Pete North (Richard’s son, and angrier blogger/tweeter) was mentioned by Dipper, and I’ve linked to the Norths as well.

4

P O'Neill 08.02.18 at 9:09 am

It’s a very uninformed debate. Key parameters for the withdrawal and subsequent framework for EU UK relations were barely discussed during the campaign (eg role of the European Court of justice). But on your specific question, whatever leverage the EU has now, it would have more with an already withdrawn UK negotiating for similar status that Ukraine and Morocco already have. And chaotic Brexit would be bad for Ireland, northern France and Belgium too, simply from logistics perspective, so the EU has some incentive to respond to prospect of chaos.

But let’s see what comes out of the May Macron meeting today.

5

ph 08.02.18 at 10:14 am

‘There will be no real negotiations.’

Yanis Varoufakis.

6

RichieRich 08.02.18 at 10:22 am

Pete North is Richard North’s son.

Flexit proposed that the UK join EEA/Efta as the first stage in disengaging from the EU.

Interestingly, in a Jan 2018 blogpost, Richard North noted that, despite his very significant research on the subject, he’d mischaracterized the process of joining the EEA. Such honesty is rather refreshing.

The biggest problem, if not entirely of my own making, is one to which I have certainly added: the characterisation of the EEA Agreement as an off-the-shelf solution, making it that much simpler to fit into an exit plan within the limitations imposed by the Article 50 process.

If I had my time over again, from the very start of my writing about this issue, I would have made two crucial changes. Firstly, I would never have used the term “Norway option” and would have instead called it the Efta/EEA option.

Secondly, I would have stressed that, for Efta states, the EEA Agreement is very much a bespoke option. The settlement for Norway is different from that of Iceland which is different in material aspects from the way the treaty applies to Liechtenstein.

It took me a long time to realise this and to begin to understand its unique structure, with the core agreement, the 49 Protocols, the 22 Annexes and the 39 Declarations, the combination of which made for a remarkably flexible instrument.

This great advantage, however, is also an important handicap. To tailor the Agreement to UK requirements – and thus to make it suitable as a short- to medium-term interim solution – would take an amount of time, and almost certainly more than we have left at the moment.

North’s thoughts on using Article 112 of the EEA Agreement to control immigration from the EU are interesting.

7

J-D 08.02.18 at 11:17 am

The observation about the oral culture reminded me of something I read roughly a year ago, after seeing a film called Free State Of Jones, which was based on historical events. After seeing it, I was curious about the historical background and the relationship of the film to it, so I did a little browsing online. Apparently the film-maker wanted the film to be historically literate (if not factual in every respect), and approached a distinguished history professor known as one of the leading living experts on the relevant historical topic (the American Civil War). The professor sent him away with a reading list for homework. The film-maker read all the books on the list and then came back to the professor. The professor sent him away with a second reading list. Only after the film-maker had demonstrated his seriousness by reading all the books on both lists did the professor agree to discuss the topic with him.

8

bianca steele 08.02.18 at 11:30 am

I have assumed that journalists in the 21st century have been trained in distrusting their own abilities to read and interpret texts (at least those not written by fellow journalists), so they have to talk to people and get the info in conversation. The implications for their ability to avoid fake news, going forward, to me at least, is horrifying.

9

tomsk 08.02.18 at 11:50 am

There is a culture of anti-expertise in certain areas of journalism, in my experience. Back when I was a young reporter, some of the big cheeses around the newsroom seemed to take the view that the way to do interviews was to go in entirely unprepared and just say the first things that popped into your head.

I mean, we were dealing with some quite recondite areas of finance but higher-ups seemed to have this unspoken idea that doing any real preparation for an interview (by, say, reading technical reports from analysts) was somehow against the spirit of the thing – a real reporter just calls up four people, knowing absolutely sod all about the topic at hand, and gets them to explain it. It was as if they thought any effort to gain knowledge outside conversation with sources risked getting too enmeshed in the subject matter’s jargon and technical detail, sullying the pristine slack-jawed ignorance that’s the only sure way to ensure your copy’s accessible to the common man.

It could be a bit embarrassing on occasion; you’d be dragooned into taking one of them along to a meeting with some global head of whatever and they’d be all ‘so, tell me what a derivative is!’ It was odd because they didn’t do this in other areas – they’d never have agreed that the reporter covering BT should know nowt about the telecoms industry.

10

Inert_Bert 08.02.18 at 11:56 am

Great point on the journalistic v bloggers’ approach to research wrt North’s remarks on oral culture. As to your question:

The notion that the withdrawal agreement (WA) won’t be very detailed in regard to the future relationship is neither new nor detrimental to the EU’s primary concerns. The fact that it was picked up as a story at all seems to stem from the UK press still not understanding the art 50 process. Perhaps someone was riffing on a report from Tuesday in the guardian that cited an EU-source as saying the WA’s declaration on the future could be as short as four to five pages? Such regurgitation would be in keeping with your observation on journalistic practices.

Legally the WA merely has to “…[take] account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”, which is as vague as it sounds. Practically and politically speaking, the WA does not need to go into detail because the UK government’s red lines point straight towards hard Brexit, with room for at most some security cooperation, a standard FTA and perhaps some form of association with some of the EU’s regulatory systems (though the red line on the ECJ makes that last one very hard).

As far as the EU’s concerns go, with a hard Brexit priced in, the goal is to get the WA operational (particularly the Irish backstop, which is precisely the sore spot for the Tories’ internal conflict). If the EU can get May to bend on Ireland by omitting unneeded detail on political declarations that have no legal force, the path is clear and the future is Brit-proofed.

And with solutions to the most acute separation issues in the bank through the WA, the EU retains some of its leverage. 21 months is no way no how enough time for the UK get its infrastructure and regulatory systems online for life outside the EU’s structures, especially since the UK hasn’t started work (17 months after the art 50 notification). So the UK will need an extension. Incidentally, such an extension would require unanimous consent from the member states IF the final WA does not explicitly set out a procedure for it (the current concept WA does not, which is interesting/weird).

The British (political) interests are a bit more muddled. May also really wants the WA because it is the basis for the 21-month transition, which it would give her breathing-room and she operates on a one-week horizon anyway. Currently, detail will only get her in trouble with the Brexiteer Ultras and it provides ammunition to the borderline fraudulent Peoples’ Vote campaign the Guardian mentions. So there is finally at least some synergy between the policy-goals of the EU and the political needs of Theresa May (until she does suddenly need a detailed declaration for domestic consumption of course).

11

Layman 08.02.18 at 11:59 am

JQ: “It seems implausible to me that, at a time of maximum leverage, the EU would be primarily concerned with saving face for Theresa May. But I’d be interested to know what others think about it, and if anyone else is discussing the shape of a “No Deal” deal.”

I read the same reports, and to be honest it just sounded like more Brexit fantasizing to me. Aside from the leverage question, and assuming the goodwill of all involved, what can ‘blind Brexit’ even mean? On the first day after blind Brexit, what happens to people at border crossings? What happens to goods at ports of entry? What is the status of EU citizens in the UK, or UK citizens in the EU? What happens to a legal case under the jurisdiction of the EU courts? How can the answer be ‘the UK is no longer in the EU but in all respects everyone continues to behave for now as if the UK is still a member of the EU?’

12

johne 08.02.18 at 2:47 pm

Not quite on topic, but for those outside the UK who have decided that it’s finally time to pay some attention to the matter, a summary of what might be expected after a “hard” Brexit (i.e., a bad divorce), is provided by English/Scots writer Charlie Stross in his blog at https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2018/07/that-sinking-feeling.html#more

13

MisterMr 08.02.18 at 3:39 pm

bianca steele @8

“I have assumed that journalists in the 21st century have been trained in distrusting their own abilities to read and interpret texts (at least those not written by fellow journalists), so they have to talk to people and get the info in conversation. The implications for their ability to avoid fake news, going forward, to me at least, is horrifying.”

I don’t understand this (same for North’s idea of “oral tradition”).
A journalist is a guy who is supposed to write daily on disparate arguments (even if these arguments are all part of the same field).
Plus, he is a writer, not a scientist.
So for example if a journalists writes of economics, he will have a general knowledge of economic theories, but not a specialized one, and certainly not a specialized one in the specific subfield X that is relevant for what he is reading today.

It’s natural that journalists will only be able to give an approximative description of what is going on, and furthermore this description will be framed through the common sense of the time.
The same goes for the logic of the he says-she says journalism: the idea that the role of a journalist is that when he interviews, say, Trump, he then writes “Trump said X and Y but X is totally BS” is simply wrong.

It seems to me that this idea stems from an idealized view of the role of mass media.

14

Chris Bertram 08.02.18 at 3:44 pm

The son is best ignored. He’s prone to unpleasant rants where he revels in the consequences of hard Brexit for people of whom he disapproves. He used to run a blog documenting his long-running dispute with the local council over a parking issue.

15

Hidari 08.02.18 at 4:30 pm

At the risk of saying something very very very stupid, which will completely blow up in my face (there’s a reason I post anonymously) I would argue the odds of a genuine ‘no deal’ Brexit are close to zero, for the reasons stated in this article here;

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/01/no-deal-brexit-mps

Assuming the OP is correct and the EU has no interest in a ‘face saving’ emergency deal, what I think will happen is a poker game of bluff, bluff, bluff, right up until the final moment at which point……

May will fold and give the EU everything it wants, with enough face saving rhetoric to deny that this is in fact what she is doing.

My reasons for believing this? Simply: this is poker and the EU has a stronger hand, objectively, than May. May is not a nice person, but, unlike ‘the loonies’ (Johnson, Rees-Mogg and the rest of that rabble), she fundamentally lives in the real world. And no I don’t believe that there are ‘nice Tories’. But again, enough of them live in the real world to, when their backs are up against the wall, either vote against the govt. or at least threaten to on a crucial vote (the Tories have almost lost one key vote already, and only managed to get it through because of quisling Labour MPs). May wasn’t stupid when she called a General Election last year. But she was stupid when she lost it (effectively). Losing it (effectively) was a disaster and has fundamentally tied her hands. If she had the numbers, she might push for ‘no deal’ or something like it, but she simply doesn’t.

So any deal that will be done will be done, fundamentally, on the EU’s terms, which means that the British economy will remain tied to Europe’s in fundamental ways.

If I had to guess, I would guess that in 10 years we will end up with something that is pretty similar to what we have now, except slightly worse in key points. In 30 or 40 years, assuming that the EU still exists (it might not!) I would guess that the UK will have to go begging back to the EU, desperate for admittance, and will be forced to adopt the Euro as penance.

16

Dipper 08.02.18 at 5:00 pm

“But a literal “No Deal” would mean that planes would stop flying, trade between Britain and the EU would slow to a crawl, food shortages and so on.”

How long have you got? Because as always with Brexit, there are many layers to the Brexit onion, and peeling each one can take quite a time.

Firstly, no-one really knows what would happen in the event of No Deal. Lots of people claim they know, but as anyone who has been through a crisis knows things you thought would be hard work easily and the things that trip you up are things you thought would be straightforward.

Take Diabetes and insulin. We are told that as nearly all our insulin comes from the EU we would have a life-threatening shortage. Consider for a moment a situation where right now EU insulin production drops dramatically for unforeseen reasons (as happened with CO2). Would the UK sit back and do nothing because the rest of the world’s supply hasn’t passed EU safety standards? Or would the UK make an arrangement and just ship the stuff in from outside the EU? Obviously, we’d ship it in. But that isn’t the situation we are discussing; what we are discussing is factories geared to producing insulin for the UK market on one side of the channel, and people with diabetes on the other side of the channel, and somehow that supply and demand which clearly is in both sides interests not being matched. Who would be stopping this? What would their reason be? What would their motivation be?

To expand this argument, we have two sets of people who want to do business, and a group of people saying they may stop that happening. Lots of “this is very complex and you wouldn’t understand” style arguments, and even despite political differences I suspect
I’m not the only person on here who thinks these arguments are disingenuous and the problems being thrown up are largely to try and stop a clean break. I’ve heard the arguments against No Deal described as similar to Domestic Abuse type arguments – “You can’t survive without me telling you what to do, you’re not capable of managing if you walk out, you are lucky to have someone who can look after you, you won’t be able to manage your own affairs, you should stay here and just do what you’re told.” I have some sympathy for that analysis. I suspect someone on here may come back and prove the point by strongly disagreeing.

EEA/EFTA. This option may have worked as an immediate response to the leave vote, but too much water has gone under the bridge now, and in particular too many people are suspicious of the motives of many politicians. Most Leavers would regard EEA/EFTA as a device for avoiding gaining any benefits from leaving and a prelude to re-entry. So this option will get a lot of push-back.

I would suggest that a referendum by its nature should give voters a choice between two viable options, so leaving the EU is implicitly something that can happen. In terms of the vagueness of the question and lack of planning it was inevitable there would be discussions, and the ability to walk away with no deal is an essential part of those discussions, so of the various paths the UK could have taken since the passing of the referendum bill leaving with no deal is a distinctly possible one. Parliament voted for the referendum 6:1, so if it is a train wreck then that’s a lot of MP’s who voted for it. To his credit, arch Remainer Ken Clarke voted against the referendum.

A personal view of where we are is that for centuries the UK has been half in Europe and half out. It seemed to suit us both. What the EU is doing (through denying Cameron the ability to opt out of Freedom of Movement) is forcing a decision on the UK that it has to be either all in or all out. I think that is a very stupid thing to do and could have very serious consequences.

Finally. It is hard to overstate the complete lack of trust that exists now across UK politics. Quite a lot of people are now very concerned about what happens from here in terms of having a peaceful civil society. Seriously, if you think this is bad, it can get much much worse.

17

TM 08.02.18 at 5:02 pm

On the question of EFTA/EEA, it’s perhaps relevant to note that Switzerland narrowly rejected EEA membership back in 1992 because the right wingers denounced it as a sell-out. Switzerland has then been following a “bilateral” strategy with the EU with similar results (though the devil is always in the detail). The bilateral agreements were signed in 1999 to enter into force in 2002, and a second set was signed in 2004. These things take time…

Despite the vital importance of EU trade for Switzerland, the future relationship is unclear. The EU is tired of spcial arrangement and the Swiss right-wingers (the same ones who prevented the EEA membership) are now pushing to renege on a central part of the EU agreements – you can guess which one: free movement. At the same time they are launching a frontal attack on the ECHR. They actually claim that Switzerland can continue to benefit from preferential access to the EU market while opting out of core EU commitments. See any parallels with Brexit? There is absolutely no question that the EU will reject any cherry-picking whether by the Swiss or the English.

18

ODM 08.02.18 at 5:06 pm

The observation you quote seemed familiar to me, and I remembered a Henry Farrell post here from several years ago making a similar point, on “Insider Knowledge”.

19

Sentinel 08.02.18 at 5:11 pm

As RichieRich highlights above, the EEA Agreement is not an off-the-shelf option; it would be tailored for the UK, and not always for our benefit. For instance, free movement of people or workers would form part of the accession negotiations with EFTA states. The risk of Art 112 EEA being triggered once we were in EFTA-EEA might well be something one or more EFTA states would wish to fetter or limit in the terms and conditions of the instrument of our accession.

20

Sumana Harihareswara 08.02.18 at 6:24 pm

What an interesting observation, about oral culture and journalism. Danny O’Brien has written about the different types of research that different kinds of journalists are used to doing, and about personal conversation with sources as somehow definitional for a certain kind of journalist:

There was a time when you could parlay a decent understanding of Google search (or any search) into a journalistic career. Journalists were, on the whole, trained to collect information through contacts and telephone calls, but at that time, they didn’t yet have a consistent grip on how to piece together stories from the Net. The majority of stories were built from legwork, not basic Internet skills. The pendulum is swinging the other way now I think…..

Separately: I’m thinking about my default assumption that journalists should not only read and analyze primary written sources, but *cite the primary sources* being discussed in their articles — a bloggish “we’re all in this together” reader expectation which a lot of journalists break. If I see journalists writing about #cockygate, I think they ought to link to the actual court docket and filings, which is a very bloggish assumption, just as it’s a very fanfic-ish expectation or desire to wish that professionally published fiction had content notes and word count in easily accessible metadata.

21

Joseph Brenner 08.02.18 at 7:39 pm

My proposed solution is for Scottland, Ireland and England to all succeed from the UK and apply for EU membership individually.

22

J-D 08.02.18 at 9:47 pm

Dipper

Firstly, no-one really knows what would happen in the event of No Deal.

I’m sure I don’t. I read people describing catastrophic projections of the outcome and I think ‘I suppose that might turn out to be right, but I don’t know’; then I read other people discussing how people will find ways to avoid disaster and I think ‘I suppose that might turn out to be right, but I don’t know’.

I know I would feel uncomfortable personally gambling on this uncertainty.

23

Nigel 08.02.18 at 10:14 pm

‘…Ireland…to all succeed from the UK’

WAS IT FOR THIS

24

John Quiggin 08.03.18 at 1:33 am

Dipper @16 You seem to be in furious agreement with the OP. A moment’s thought suggests that the true No Deal option of trying to replace most EU imports with third country sources is a nonsense, when obviously (nearly) everyone wants trade to continue much as before. As I think you agree, a literal No Deal would stop trade. That would reduce the UK to the desperate state of searching the world for insulin and everything else, as well as imposing substantial (though probably bearable) economic harm on the EU.

So, I think we agree, some sort of deal will be made. And, AFAICT, you are as much in the dark as I am concerning the nature of that deal.

Perhaps the EU will decide that the UK can have its cake (Brexit) and eat it (trade in goods and services continuing as before), and will suspend the operation of its legal and regulatory system to make this possible. Then again, perhaps not. At the other extreme, perhaps they will offer a permanent extension of the Four Freedoms and ECJ jurisdiction, in return for blue passports and freedom from the cumbersome requirement to vote in the European Council, Parliament etc. As I said, I’m interested to see what the possibilities are.

25

bad Jim 08.03.18 at 4:34 am

Here’s another apocalyptic scenario, involving the shortage of British veterinarians:
there aren’t enough vets, because they’re all from the EU.

As an American, I find the prospect of the impending Brexit catastrophe positively soothing; it’s a break from the gut clenching anger engendered by nearly any action of the Trump regime. There is some truth to the maxim that misery loves company.

26

nastywoman 08.03.18 at 4:40 am

– it’s just like children testing their limits and like always with my beloved EU – and I say this seriously – WE – Europeans won’t let our British friends down and the Europeans in GB won’t let the EU down and there will be the typical EU solution of a group of very ”civilized” and ”friendly neighbors -(compared to US) and everybody will be (superficially) very unhappy with the solutions -(like lately everybody likes too) but as the yuuuge German Philosopher THE Merkel once told?

”Die Karawane zieht weiter”!

-(and we will be all – ”with it” my friends – humming the European Hym – or… ”Him”? with actually sounds pretty pleasant – actually…)

27

Neville Morley 08.03.18 at 6:37 am

An entertaining example from this morning’s Grauniad, reporting on May’s “make or break” meeting today with Macron to try to persuade him to sign up to support the Chequers ‘agreement’: a series of unnamed “senior Whitehall sources” and “Cabinet sources” offering varying degrees of wishful thinking, followed by a named former ambassador and Macron’s spokesman saying that the whole idea is a non-starter. But I suppose any attempt at analysis would simply give you a headline of “UK Government still delusional”.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/02/may-prepares-for-talks-with-macron-that-could-make-or-break-brexit-plan?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Given the current state of British politics, Brexit continues to seem both unstoppable and impossible. The prospect of No Deal is so scary that some sort of last-minute fudge, in traditional EU kicking-the-can-down-the-road manner seems most likely, but not sure May can survive that, or even the prospect of it if it starts seeming increasingly likely in the autumn.

28

Dipper 08.03.18 at 7:13 am

@Prof Quiggin

“You seem to be in furious agreement with the OP” well yes and no. The UK doesn’t have to stop importing anything. There is an issue over logistics, but it isn’t clear how much of an issue this is.

@J-D, Hidari, and others

More importantly, and what most posters don’t seem to get, is that the issue of trade regulations and the trade deal is implicitly liked to the political agenda of the EU and the march to federalism. The EU is using the trade issue as a stick to enforce its political agenda. Hidari says we will end up re-joining and accepting the Euro, and that is where one path inevitably leads which is why so many people would prefer the “chaos” of no deal because they know where the alternative leads.

@bad Jim. Yes I’ve noticed as I take my various dogs to various vets that I rarely meet a British one. Lots of Europeans and South Africans. But this begs the question as to why there are so few British nurses, doctors, vets? I’ll leave this for another time but the failure of the state to train people as nurses, doctors, and vets, preferring to import them ready trained (because native Britons are bloody stupid”) is one of the frustrations that has resulted in voting to leave the EU.

29

Mercurius Londiniensis 08.03.18 at 7:34 am

Richard North is good on the minutiae of the European treaties (although I confess to finding his chippiness, characteristic of the autodidact, rather wearing). He is less good on the legal and parliamentary constraints on the UK side which will also help shape the eventual outcome. David Allen Green of the FT (alias ‘Jack of Kent’) is better on these.

Green had a good article the other day explaining why only a fool would predict what will happen between now and March. All the same, there are some obvious precautions worth taking, notably moving assets out of sterling.

30

Collin Street 08.03.18 at 7:53 am

Lots of “this is very complex and you wouldn’t understand” style arguments

Abuse deleted

The UK can’t buy insulin outside the EU regulatory framework because there is no UK regulatory framework, nor any time to build one, and absent a regulatory framework there’s no way to know that what’s labeled as “insulin” isn’t pig semen that’s been sitting on an unrefrigerated shelf in mongolia for three years. So the money can change hands, and a product gets delivered… but whether it’s insulin or vegemite, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s possible “for the UK to buy insulin”, in the sense that it’s possible that the boxes might contain insulin. “It is possible to win the lottery” is a true statement! “It is possible to reliably fund your future expenditure from future lottery winnings” is… not a true statement.

Clear? Ask me again if you’re having difficulty, I’m actively considering a career working with the cognitively impaired and the practice is good for me.

31

faustusnotes 08.03.18 at 8:03 am

I would like to back Hidari’s comment but I think if it actually looks like May is going to make a deal – especially a compromise to the EU – she will get rolled by Bojo and moggy and their gang of traitors. I think these wreckers have a strong need to cover up their own and their rich friends’ tax evasion and money laundering, and they need the UK to be beyond the reach of EU directives by mid-2019, lest their too-friendly dealings with the Russian mob be revealed. Even if Bojo is free of this taint – doubtful, since he’s the kind of guy who will happily organize to have journalists beaten up – Arron Banks is definitely not, and Arron Banks owns this little clique lock stock and barrel.

Dipper’s example of insulin shows how little the brexiteers know or care about how these things work. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal then EU medicines will no longer be part of the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the UK, which means that they will need to be inspected in the UK. Pharmaceutical companies are already preparing for this by stockpiling drugs. Of course the UK could open up its drug markets to unregulated drugs to allow EU drugs to come in, but that would mean Indian and Chinese drugs could come in, and these have big problems of quality and efficacy. So you could get “insulin” from India that does nothing. To have a functioning pharmaceutical market after Brexit the UK needs to set up a quality and safety monitoring system independently of the EU, but of course the Brexiters have no interest in developing an actual regulatory framework to replace the one they’re burning down.

It’s also interesting to see Dipper compare the EU/UK relationship to domestic abuse, only to finish his comment by saying that if the brexiters don’t get what they want they’ll riot. Who is threatening who, exactly?

I have just finished a 10 day trip to the UK, and it was depressing to think about how much it has improved in the past 15 years, and how quickly it will backslide. Almost every service staff I encountered was from Europe, and they will all go in the next few years with no replacements, and so many places were advertising for staff. If as Dipper (wrongly) maintains these Europeans are pushing down British salaries, then after they leave and Britons step in to take the jobs they will have to suffer lower salaries, or prices will have to go up. Britain is already stupidly expensive – I would say that a lot of the services I used were 2-3 times more expensive than in Tokyo – and very few people in Britain can afford to either have their wages go down or prices go up. But the reality is that there isn’t enough local staff for the current service industry in the UK, and a lot of these places will go out of business. Britain will return to the grim and desperate place it was in the mid-1990s, with the streets lined with homeless people and everyone grifting and grafting at every opportunity, just to stay afloat. When that happens, just remember it was the traitors and wreckers of the Tory party who made it happen – just as it was the traitors and wreckers of the Tory party who reduced the UK to such dismal conditions in the 1990s.

32

casmilus 08.03.18 at 8:04 am

A few years ago CT was making fun of the “Very Serious People” of US commentary – figures like Thomas Freidmann. At the time I thought we didn’t really have any equivalents in the UK, except maybe old Paul Johnson, whose long career as a 60s socialist and 80s Thatcherite and 90s Blairite has shown a consistent thread of wanting to be the court philosopher for whoever was most important at any time.

Instead, the UK has plenty of “Westminster correspondents” and other politics-watchers whose main skill is to carefully deploy what they hear from their anonymous sources in the Cabinet and civil service and elsewhere.

From a US perspective, would you say we have any VSP-analogues? And how do the VSPs fit in to the “oral culture” noted in the OP?

Myself, I voted Remain precisely because I knew we’d end up in this shitshow. I want JRM or Johnson to take over as PM simply so their lot can own the disaster instead of crawling away and blaming everyone else. I would have voted Leave if they were offering Flexcit, I have been a Northite since before the Referendum but I can see it was never going to happen that way.

33

casmilus 08.03.18 at 8:06 am

Do we all at least agree that Boris Johnson is a complete shit? About as convincing as a 12-year old trying to be Winston Churchill in a school play. But without the serious grip on policy.

34

bad Jim 08.03.18 at 8:23 am

My dad was an Irish drunk out of a Eugene O’Neil or Sean O’Casey play, which isn’t as bad as it sounds because I was bigger than he was, so I usually won when we fought. I think this might be why at 18 I was made the lead negotiator for our tenants’ union; I was hard to scare. It’s probably why a friend called me to deal with her daughter in a scene after her father’s death; it was just like my dad: I’d calm her down, cool, and then she’d wind herself up again, crap. (We’re still good friends.)

The point, of course, is that well-meaning people are apt to act in completely self-destructive ways and there isn’t much the rest of us can do about it.

35

infovore 08.03.18 at 9:30 am

These days borders are where two bureaucracies meet, and crossing a border is not just a physical action but also a bureaucratic endeavor. A problem with Brexit is that the paperwork will in grow in size, complexity, and time required. And with a no-deal Brexit there will be cases where the paperwork simply cannot be done, and therefore the border cannot be legally crossed.

On another note, the most flabbergasting aspect of the whole mess is that it looks like the UK government is still negotiating internally about what kind of deal it would like to make with the EU. So far the UK still hasn’t agreed on its own position, never mind proposing a deal that doesn’t require the EU to remake itself. That is the path to a no-deal outcome.

36

PeteW 08.03.18 at 9:50 am

Richard North is a heavy, indeed continual, promoter of the EEA/Efta membership for the UK.

However this is what the a seemingly well informed poster has to say about it on the Naked Capitalism website
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/07/more-brexit-grim-tidings-wto-warns-ireland-to-prepare-for-crash-out-deutsche-moves-half-of-euro-clearing-ops-to-germany-food-freakout.html

“Simply the fact that semi-informed/semi-random suits in the City think the EEA is a door in a blank wall indicates how little they understand what the European Economic Area actually is, who its members are, and how they function. The relationship of the very small states in this accord and the EU is HIGHLY symbiotic. The EEA states adopt absolutely everything that the EU decides; they can’t even opt out like some EU Member States. They never rock the boat. They never raise exceptions, other than those already negotiated prior to membership. They are highly aligned with European institutions. They have no say; they toe the line. The ECJ decides if they have done so. The EEA States cannot remotely afford to have a crew of self-dealing boat rocking malcontents outnumbering them 10-to-1 climb on board because that would completely ruin their own deal. The EEA has already politely said that they are not available in marriage.”

Which suggests it is a highly unlikely option. I don’t know who is right – any experts out there?

37

lbc 08.03.18 at 10:00 am

brexit is suicide by stupidity

38

anon 08.03.18 at 11:20 am

“A “No Deal” outcome looks increasingly likely, and at least some Brexiteers welcome the idea. But a literal “No Deal” would mean that planes would stop flying, trade between Britain and the EU would slow to a crawl, food shortages and so on.”

I just spoke to an acquaintance from England last week. He verified that he could buy bananas 23 years ago. I’m guessing that he will be able to buy bananas in two years, as well.

In fact, England has not been able to feed itself for decades. Yet, somehow, it has. Perhaps pre-Brexit, magic still existed? That is apparently the only way food could be imported without the EU: magic.

On a more serious note: why the absurd extremism? Pre-EU, there was trade in England. During the EU, there was trade in England. Post-EU, there will be trade in England-just as there is, and always has been, in every other country on the planet.

Trading one set of foreign bureaucratic apparatchiks for another set of domestic apparatchiks is not the end of the world Arguments like this make me think of fake news…

anon

39

Dipper 08.03.18 at 11:24 am

@ Collin Street, Faustusnotes

sale of goods in the UK is covered by the Sale of Goods act 1979 which states goods must be fit for purpose so there is a catch-all. British law uses common law and case law so is good at coping with such matters. I feel like charging you for this as you both are so patently in need of education.

@Faustusnotes “If as Dipper (wrongly) maintains these Europeans are pushing down British salaries, then after they leave and Britons step in to take the jobs they will have to suffer lower salaries, or prices will have to go up.”

well don’t take it from me, take it from hard-Line Europhile Remainer Anna Soubry who said “in some parts of our country a large number of people have come in, but these are invariably Polish people, Latvians and Lithuanians who do the work that, in reality, our own constituents will not do.”. So, don’t want to work at that rate? Don’t worry we will just bring in people from outside to do this. As neither you or Collin Street seem to be too quick let me explain this for you; if immigrants did not come in, either the rate for the job has to go up, possibly some automation has to take place to get more out of the employee, or the job doesn’t get done here. Given that the main problems of the UK have been until very recently negative wage growth despite increasing GDP, very expensive housing costs due to a booming population, and a failure to productivity, and you have pretty much all the UK’s problems in a single paragraph presented as a case for being in the EU.

40

Tomsk 08.03.18 at 11:37 am

Dipper@28

“But this begs the question as to why there are so few British nurses, doctors, vets? I’ll leave this for another time but the failure of the state to train people as nurses, doctors, and vets, preferring to import them ready trained (because native Britons are bloody stupid”) is one of the frustrations that has resulted in voting to leave the EU.”

As with your moaning about the state of the NHS not long ago, the refusal to assign blame for this where it very obviously lies is notable here. Why, it’s almost as if one of the major UK political parties – the one that’s been in power for most of the last bloody decade – has a basic ideological opposition to anything remotely like sufficient investment in public services!

I mean, at this point some people might start to think about reconsidering their support for the party that’s caused such catastrophic damage to the nation on so many fronts, but instead you prefer this irrelevant blather about the EU, as if they’re the ones who forbade us to train vets of our own, outlawed the building of affordable houses and forced us to starve hospitals of funding.

41

Anon. 08.03.18 at 12:16 pm

@Faustusnotes, off-topic, but I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on why services would be cheaper in Japan?

42

casmilus 08.03.18 at 12:42 pm

The cause of Britain’s productivity problems are imbecile management who don’t understand their own businesses. The ones who don’t understand how No Deal will impact them are going to get wiped out by it – which will be a good thing in the long run, along with the complete destruction of the Conservative Party.

It’s like the impact of the closure of Longbridge on the West Midlands – it was obvious for years in advance, so anyone caught out by it would have been a hopeless zombie anyway.

I’m looking forward to all those anguished Daily Telegraph features in late 2019 about families in the Thames Valley who suddenly can’t afford school fees. Serves you right.

43

Peter T 08.03.18 at 1:07 pm

On the trade issue – it’s less about customs duties and basic stuff like phytosanitary certificates, which are routine. The UK can cope fine with that. If (big if) the IT changes are in place (and these are not just changes to UK government systems, but also the systems of cargo handlers, shippers, forwarders, brokers and all the associated payment chains… a revamp of the US system took over ten years, and of the Australian one over 5 years, much of it spent testing compatibility and educating industry), then that kind of trade will flow much as before. Small changes to the IT requirements are not a problem – they are routine. But the parameters of the system are still in flux, so I expect a degree of chaos before the systems catch up. Basically, nothing moves with paper these days, and if it has to revert then that will be a major cost.

The real issue is with the things that require regulatory certificates not just to move but to be incorporated in the final product or used: aircraft parts, medical tech, anything with radioactive components (scanners, various detection gear), medicines are all examples. The last 20 years has seen an explosion in long-chain manufacture: Harley motorcycle wheels are cast in one country, machined in another, polished in a third and fitted in a fourth. The UK ceded almost all its regulatory authority and expertise in many of these areas to the EU and, again, it is a task of years to put them all back in place. Quite simply, trade, IT and regulation are all now intimately intertwined in these areas.

The open question is how much risk makers and users will be willing to bear: it may be simpler just to cut back and wait, or shift the UK parts of the chain to under-used capacity elsewhere.

44

faustusnotes 08.03.18 at 1:07 pm

Wow Dipper, your first paragraph is stunningly naive. Putting aside the fact that the Sale of Goods Act was replaced in 2015 by the Consumer Rights Act, how do you think a consumer proves that a drug is “fit for purpose” under the act? If a consumer gets insulin from India that is fake, and dies, how do they sue? You are falling back on the standard libertarian nonsense, “civil law will protect consumers.”

Your second paragraph simply repeats my point. IF your claims are true about the effect of immigration on wages, then when all the Europeans go home either wages (and prices) go up, the jobs don’t get done, or British people have to accept the salaries that the Europeans were previously suffering. Which of these do you want? And as Tomsk observes, why do you keep blaming things like housing crises and lack of nurses on foreigners, instead of on the Tory government that won’t pay for anything?

Anon., first let us consider some price comparisons from last week. Queensway to Oxford Circus return ticket on a train with no aircon or phone reception, about 1300 yen; equivalent distance in Japan with aircon and phone reception, 440 yen. Delivery of baggage from the airport to your home/hotel, about 6000 yen in London; equivalent service in Tokyo 2300 yen. Crappy hotel in inner city London, about 12000 yen; decent business hotel in central Tokyo, about 7000 yen; living in a shitty room in a filthy share house in London, at least 50,000 yen; living alone in Tokyo, 60,000 yen. Shit umbrella in London that doesn’t keep off the rain and dies in the first wind gust, 500 yen; real umbrella in Tokyo that keeps off the rain and lasts forever, 500 yen. I think the difference is that Japanese private organizations believe in investing in their business, and Japanese governments believe in investing in their infrastructure. In London your rich business owners simply fleece their customers and run away to hide the profits in tax havens. And your traitor Tory leaders help them do it.

45

Cian 08.03.18 at 1:30 pm

Quoting raw productivity figures is not a terribly useful metric, particularly if you’re doing cross country comparisons.

The open question is how much risk makers and users will be willing to bear: it may be simpler just to cut back and wait, or shift the UK parts of the chain to under-used capacity elsewhere.

We currently live in a world with surplus capacity so I would guess the later. Particularly as much of Britain’s utility in supply chains was it’s membership of the EU combined with relatively low wages and pretty decent infrastructure (relative to wages).

46

Cian 08.03.18 at 1:34 pm

The reason that there are relatively few doctors and vets in the UK are because the professional bodies for those organizations run a cartel. There is a limit on how many doctors can be trained in the UK, and the number is deliberately kept below the actual need. This is the fault of the BMA. Something similar operates in the US (at least for doctors – not sure about Vets). Other European countries don’t do this and so have a surplus of trained doctors. Vets is also complicated by the fact that people who train would (typically) rather deal with pets than farm animals.

The shortage of nurses has more to do with pay, conditions and (in recent years) the high cost of training.

47

Collin Street 08.03.18 at 2:00 pm

It’s OK, says Dipper, because Rotherham Trading Standards will look after pharmaceutical and aeronautical product standards and chains-of-accountability.

… this is just pretextural, right? We’re not actually supposed to believe he thinks that the local councils in Milton Haven and Abergevenny are going to be checking the paperwork on the paracetamol, it’s just that he needs a response of some form, and “Exeter food inspectors can write boiler tickets too!”, has the shape of a response so it’ll have to do. Please, no abusive or coarse language in my threads

48

Hidari 08.03.18 at 2:21 pm

If anyone care, here’s another article that argues that the closer we come to No Deal, the more and more pressure there will be (i.e. on the UK) to cut a deal, any kind of deal. In other words, the more time goes on, the more this benefits the EU for the obvious reason that No Deal hurts the UK far more than it hurts the EU.

https://www.politico.eu/article/5-reasons-why-no-deal-could-mean-no-brexit/

CF also this, which argues (in a dialectical, Hegelian stylee) that despite appearances, No Deal (even in the unlikely even that it happens) means Remain.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/19/no-deal-brexit-britain-eu-wto-march

The facts are these. The British Empire is gone. The ‘United’ Kingdom is a small, wet, island off the Eurasian landmass that doesn’t make anything any more, and is famous only for the dysfunctionality of its politics. The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc. This is not a battle between equals. Only a strategist of genius could have even scored a draw. The ‘United’ Kingdom has Theresa May. In any battle of wills, the EU will win.

49

Fergus 08.03.18 at 2:52 pm

Leaving the Brexit argument aside, as well should, I am a bit torn about this ‘oral culture’ thing. I used to do more blogging and now I’m more-or-less a paid journalist. There is definitely a shift to editors expecting that you’ll just ring someone up to find information rather than trawl sources for it. The reason is it’s much quicker! And speaking to somebody who is a genuine expert in the area can highlight a piece of information as important that doesn’t leap out of the report.

The whole “couldn’t even read the EEA agreement” line is frankly silly because trying to read the primary texts as your main way of understanding a legal framework, if you’re not trained and experienced in the area, is just asking for trouble. To go off JQ’s aside about climate science – it really is the equivalent of internet commenters digging through climate statistics and trying to argue on the basis of them. You can become quite well-informed, in one sense, but the chance of you missing the point entirely is incredibly high. Words in the EEA agreement don’t have their plain English meanings and talking to people who work in or study EU institutions is clearly a better way of understanding the lay of the land than trawling the primary text and blogging angrily about it.

On the other hand – I often find myself quite resistant when editors tell me to just ring someone, because I like to know what I’m talking about and look at primary texts. And in circumstances like Brexit negotiations where many of the experienced people you talk to are undoubtedly trying to spin you, having some independent basis for what you think is definitely necessary. Whether that’s doing primary research (rather than, say, finding an outside academic) probably depends on the context.

50

Pretendous 08.03.18 at 3:07 pm

@Collin Street, 30:

Thank you for confirming for us that Vegemite is, in fact, pig semen.

51

Tomsk 08.03.18 at 3:18 pm

Fergus –

“in circumstances like Brexit negotiations where many of the experienced people you talk to are undoubtedly trying to spin you, having some independent basis for what you think is definitely necessary.”

yes; also there’s only so often you can call most sources and it’s sometimes best to save them for more value-added inquiries and not waste them on basic fact-finding. getting a reputation as a timewaster’s not a good idea. depends on the subject of course; some you can find your own way into and with others, as you say, no amount of floundering around on your own amid the primary sources is going to be much help.

52

Murc 08.03.18 at 5:26 pm

North was (and, at least in principle, still is) a Leave supporter, proposing a model called Flexcit (roughly, the Norway/EFTA/EEA option), but has long since broken with May, Johnson and the rest of the Brexiteers.

That Flexit position paper is bugnuts.

I mean, my god. People complain about leftists being pie-in-the-sky idealists but that whole thing is just page after page after page of wishful thinking, where it isn’t filled with outright delusions, mendacity, and lies.

53

Trader Joe 08.03.18 at 6:18 pm

From @31
“Britain will return to the grim and desperate place it was in the mid-1990s, with the streets lined with homeless people and everyone grifting and grafting at every opportunity, just to stay afloat. “

We could only be so lucky. I bought a flat in St. John’s Woods in 1994 for L100k that I flipped about 9 years later for L300k….there will always be foreign money happy to buy up the good stuff if the locals can’t afford it.

Brexit or no, Britain will go on. Its just a question of who will own what and whom will work for who.

54

Ivo 08.03.18 at 8:21 pm

@Dipper

Who would be stopping this? What would their reason be? What would their motivation be?

Customs on the European side of the transport. Because they will just be doing their job and don’t care what’s in the package. An individual customs employee doesn’t realize that this specific container of insulin may be the entire month supply for the UK for the next month. And that without it people will die.

Having two parties willing to do business is woefully insufficient to be able to do business. There are many other parties involved and only one of them needs to block things for the transaction to fail to proceed. Without an agreement, imports and exports will stop due to bureaucracy, because one of the parties misses a guarantee that something will continue to work correctly. It will be about money, liability, legality, that sort of thing. Some things will continue despite those. Parties will trust, but not get paid, be held liable for something previously not their responsibility or do things now illegal. Some parties will fear trouble and block a trade.

If you can’t think of an example of how things could go wrong, about how trades could fail, and believe everything will just continue as planned, can not have a reasoned explanation for how at least all important trades, those with lives at stake, would continue. If you can’t imagine how the system could fail, you cannot explain why it would keep functioning.

So please start by giving some examples of what will change, to the detriment of the UK, due to a No Agreement Brexit. Give us a reason to believe you know what you are talking about.

55

John Quiggin 08.03.18 at 11:56 pm

@Collin Street. I’ve edited a couple of abusive comments. Please, no more abuse of other commenters. This is a first and final warning.

To all commenters, no abuse or coarse language in my threads please. Apply either the CT comments policy or my personal policy https://johnquiggin.com/discussion-policy/ whichever is more restrictive.

56

Peter T 08.03.18 at 11:56 pm

I’ll repeat – it’s not “bureaucracy” as such, it’s private decisions. Trade chains are not point to point but more like packet-switched networks. The complications are less in moving the goods than in keeping the chain of associated payments, insurance and ownership tied together. If things stack up on the docks at Calais or Dover it will not be because French customs are being bloody-minded but because the freight forwarder won’t move without payment, the payment won’t move without insurance and the insurance won’t move without matching a certificate from an EU body with one from a UK body that is trying to operate from a re-purposed McDonalds in Hawick, staffed by whomever Serco can find.

57

Faustusnotes 08.04.18 at 12:08 am

Trader Joe,in 1994 my brother was offered a factory job in the Midlands for 1 pound an hour, and expected to pay his own moving fees. Turning it down would lose him his benefits, which were worth more than the job. What a time to be alive!

58

John Quiggin 08.04.18 at 12:17 am

On the “oral culture” issue, there are really two points to consider.

* The traditional media approach in which people trained as journalists cover lots of topics in which they have no personal expertise has some inevitable costs. The more important it is to get the technical detail right, the greater those costs. The offsetting benefit is the capacity to write readable stories at the level appropriate to the audience.

* In addition to the inevitable costs, there are large, theoretically avoidable, costs arising from the privileging of “inside information” most of which is worthless or actively misleading. Much of the hostility towards bloggers back in the day arose over this. Fixing it would require a big cultural change. Even now journalists routinely fail to link to the public sources on which they rely, and provide anonymity to private sources solely to keep them sweet.

59

ph 08.04.18 at 1:41 am

Interesting comments.

@54 As VV sees the issue (my at 5), the EU bureaucrats have no desire for any agreement. This would seem to place the EU bureaucrats in direct conflict with practically everybody, other than their authoritarian allies keen to invalidate Brexit.
There will be delays because businesses will demand that business continues to be done. Will there be an agreement? That’s a different question.
Re: expertise and oral culture. I like the framing of this very much. Oral communication is fun, but far from the most effective way of disseminating information, especially if there’s no actual recording of the discussion. The great advantage of video lectures is that we can (usually) watch and listen as often as we like, and engage in extended discussions using a variety of media. Reading anything even slightly complex just once may work for some. I prefer multiple readings – checking with other sources – rereading and discussing different elements. If the data is published in a second-language that’s much more the case. I don’t frankly think that journalists require much expertise in producing anything but mildly entertaining prose and a willingness to report what they understand. Better journalists engage in extended email discussions with experts on specific technical points, but these pieces usually do little more than expose the complexity of a particular topic. The British Library site if often useless, the Smithsonian offers junior-high school level videos as well as more thoughtful commentary (but you have to hunt for it), my ipad keyboard allows people to communicate using smiley faces rather than, you know, words. Twitter is a popular ‘information’ medium, social media is worse, and we’re now seeing evidence that using tablets and phones in classrooms has a negative impact on cognition and retention. Meanwhile adults spend six-plus hours playing with their phones. I’m horrified when I see adults playing Candy Crush and other games in public during their morning commutes.
Why not just bring out the toy cars and dolls? No surprise journalists just want the quick wiki version. It’s where we are and where we’re headed.

60

Dipper 08.04.18 at 7:40 am

Listen folks, if you’re going to talk about politics, you have to talk about power. Who has it, who doesn’t, what constraints there are on its use. Power is to politics what energy is to physics and money to business. If you aren’t talking about power, then your just saying “I like this, but I don’t like that.” Which doesn’t really get us anywhere. Saying “The UK will be economically worse off so they shouldn’t leave” is an incomplete analysis that just lumps everyone in the UK boat together, particularly as many have lost out despite GDP growth. This EU argument is largely about how power breaks down within the UK and the use of the EU by some in the UK to impose their will on others.

Take regulations: @Peter T 43 recognises states ” The UK ceded almost all its regulatory authority and expertise in many of these areas to the EU and, again, it is a task of years to put them all back in place.
and this seems to be the case in aerospace and pharmaceuticals, but again Parliament should have foreseen this when they decided on the referendum, and failure to address this now is an unreasonable political blackmail. There exists clear routes to gaining legal and regulatory control a lot of which will necessarily involve meeting EU regulations independence but what we are being told is that we have to remain in the orbit of the EU because the UK establishment which is pro-EU to a person refuses to do the work to enable us to leave. As UK journalist Iain Martin says, just because people cry wolf all the time doesn’t mean there isn’t an actual wolf. However as a voter, my choice is to risk the wolf (regulatory fall out is real, significant and damaging) or spend my life being controlled by people who cry wolf whenever it suits them. The only thing you can do here is to call their bluff, say there is no wolf, and if there is one you will hold them responsible for not having adequate anti-wolf preparations. A life of being controlled by wolf-shouters isn’t worth living.

As part of this argument there seems to be some kind of fetishisation of EU regulations as though they are a magic wand that provides security. Let’s not forget that the EU regulatory regime gave us beef that was in fact horse meat” and allowed large German car companies to cheat emissions tests. so any regulatory regime is open to abuse, and how you control the people who set these regulations is a central political issue. Soon these bureaucrats are going to control what you read so be careful what you wish for.

On to specifics:

We know @faustusnotes 31 doesn’t like native Britons, but he does like other people. So he likes the UK now because he didn’t meet any native Britons, but doesn’t look forward to coming back in a few years time as he might meet some. He wonders why it is so expensive in the UK, well that’s because of the extra tax required to keep native Britons riding mobility scooters on native Briton reservations well out of the way of visitors such as yourself.

@CollinStreet I started off the insulin question by posing what would happen if there were a sudden reduction on demand right now, and your reply seems to say that you wouldn’t import from outside the EU as it might not meet these regulations and you’d rather people die, so you have walked right into that particular trap.

@Tomsk 40 yes I know that decisions to limit training doctors, vets, and nurses in the UK was one taken by successive UK governments, but one EU referendum later and we have five new medical schools..

@casmilus. 42 ”The cause of Britain’s productivity problems are imbecile management
. Another one of those “greedy bankers caused the financial crash” style arguments with the same flaw. UK’s productivity growth stalled in the early noughties, so you have to show not that UK managers are imbeciles, but why they suddenly became bigger imbeciles about 15 years ago.

@faustusnotes 44. I’d prefer prices to go up and/or jobs to relocate out of the UK. Prices being kept artificially down by importing lots of low-wage workers benefits the wealthy in society and penalizes the poor. Prices going up will redistribute wealth from the better off to the poor. I thought that kind of thing is why we are all on this site? And mimimum wage jobs don’t generate enough tax for the associated public costs. So I’d rather we weren’t importing them. And the government hasn’t got the money to pay for stuff because the boom in immigration to fuel low-wage jobs isn’t paying for itself.

@ Hidari 48 ” The British Empire is gone. The ‘United’ Kingdom is a small, wet, island off the Eurasian landmass that doesn’t make anything any more
yes. The people who cannot accept that are the pro-EU Remainers who bang on about Britain’s influence in the world, and who buy their seat at the big table by offering up the jobs and welfare of British workers. I’d like a government that just got on with the job of managing the UK in the interests of the citizens and wasn’t chasing imperial dreams of influence.

61

chris s 08.04.18 at 8:36 am

“But that isn’t the situation we are discussing; what we are discussing is factories geared to producing insulin for the UK market on one side of the channel, and people with diabetes on the other side of the channel, and somehow that supply and demand which clearly is in both sides interests not being matched. Who would be stopping this? What would their reason be? What would their motivation be?”

This is the kind of argument you get from other Brexiters like Hannan, Mogg etc. where they pose a strawman version of the world and claim that anyone who complicates it is being disingenuous.

In the modern world the reality is that logistics chains consist of multiple steps intermediated by service contracts and wrapped in insurance. The suppliers of insulin to the PCTs/NHS will have contracts that specify in length exactly how the other side will know the insulin will be of a certain quality that will be written to mirror the current set regulatory mechanisms. On the side of the PCT any indemnity insurance they have will similarly be written with those mechanisms in mind. This will be replicated at multiple levels across overseas suppliers, manufacturers and so on. Anything out of the scope of any contract across the chain will cause it to grind to a halt.

Yes, you can by dictat have the government seize insulin supplies as they arrive and/or procure insulin overseas and then ‘force’ it down the chain, but at that point you are forcing a bunch of parties to operate without contracts in an environment in which liability for fault is unclear and potentially unlimited.

This is also why under a true ‘no deal’ flights will grind to a halt. Simplistically, airlines won’t be able to insure their flights and so won’t be able to fly.

Now if your response is that therefore a true ‘no deal’ scenario isn’t likely, then I’d agree to a point; but at that point threatening a ‘no deal’ as a negotiating tactic, or assuming that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ are essentially empty of any meaning.

“well don’t take it from me, take it from hard-Line Europhile Remainer Anna Soubry who said “in some parts of our country a large number of people have come in, but these are invariably Polish people, Latvians and Lithuanians who do the work that, in reality, our own constituents will not do.”… Given that the main problems of the UK have been until very recently negative wage growth despite increasing GDP, very expensive housing costs due to a booming population, and a failure to productivity, and you have pretty much all the UK’s problems in a single paragraph presented as a case for being in the EU.”

Yeah but this is path dependent area – bluntly speaking you can’t get to where you want to get from here. There’s a kind of cargo cult mentality that believes that by simply reversing the change in ethnic makeup will result in a reversion to the previous situation, but in this case all it will mean is that those jobs just don’t get done, simply because there isn’t e.g. sufficient young people willing to live near Peterborough to run all those canning and packing operations. So prices go up, and the UK will still be a place which has under-invested in skills and infrastructure and with a population that doesn’t really have an appreciation of the cost of this, hanging on to its remaining businesses by running a low tax and low regulatory environment.

62

Pierre Faull 08.04.18 at 8:37 am

North’s work is quite well informed, though not as well informed as he thinks, but his site is marred by the huge chip on his shoulder. Most of his stuff is just a rant against journos, politicians and academics who he seems to think are in a conspuracy to ignore him.

63

MisterMr 08.04.18 at 10:26 am

The problem is that we can only know what “the truth” is only long after it is of any use.

For example I think Trump trade policy is a suicide for the USA, and that Brexit will hurt a lot the people who voted for it.

But for Brexit we will know this for sure only in, say, 5 years, and with Trump we will have a clear idea of the results of his policies in 20 years.

In this situation, the framing of the situation by political bias cannot be checked.

So journalists who try to be objective will simply project their own opinions in the news, and/or opt for a he said /she said style that at least shows more opinions, but cannot really be objective for many reasons.

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J-D 08.04.18 at 11:23 am

Dipper

You wrote that ‘no-one really knows what would happen in the event of No Deal’. I agreed that I don’t know. As far as I know, it could be calamitous, or it could be no big deal, or it could be anywhere in-between. So to me it seems like you’re in the process of signing a blank cheque. You’re buying something which, presumably, you want, but in payment for it you’re handing over a signed blank cheque as if you’re happy for somebody else to fill in the price later. Now you write that ‘the issue of trade regulations and the trade deal is implicitly liked to the political agenda of the EU’. I admit that I’m not clear on what the political agenda of the EU is, but I get that it’s something you (and presumably a lot of other people) are prepared to pay to avoid. But how high a price are you prepared to pay to avoid it? It seems as if you’re committing to pay the price with no idea of what it is. Here’s my wallet, you’re saying, here’s my bank account, I’m opening them up, they’ll take whatever they take, I’ll settle the bill whatever it turns out to be, my underwriting commitment is unlimited. Do you get how that seems puzzling?

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Dipper 08.04.18 at 12:09 pm

” his piece “is based on conversations” with certain prestigious persons, rather than to reference to primary sources. “

I think this is an integral component of Brexit (and lots of other commercial and regulatory business). A lot of the the laws and regulations are deliberately vague. Anyone can read the GFA or properly The Belfast Agreement as it is here. It makes a lot of general statements. It is up to politicians to work within the framework of those statements, so if you want to know the reality of what the GFA has meant and is likely to mean, you have to talk to someone who is involved.

Similarly with Trade and WTO. . The rules provide a basis for negotiation, so if you want to know how nations and bodies tend to interpret the rules, you have to talk to the people who negotiate in that framework, not (just) look at the rules themselves.

66

Dipper 08.04.18 at 7:10 pm

@Ivo – article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty states ” The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.” so from that the UK should expect co-operation join maintaining trade. It should certainly expect co-operation in insulin.

You’ve raised insurance as in issue. I expect the government to step in with temporary insurance arrangements. The government intervening to provide insurance cover is not unusual; domestic bank deposits are covered by government insurance to support the banking system.

I am not an expert in importing and freight forwarding. I don’t see that I should have to be one to vote. Parliament voted to have this referendum; I didn’t ask for one. If Parliament now turns round and says actually we can’t leave because our regulations are all from the EU and withdrawing from them is impossible I won’t be saying oh silly me not to have thought of that I will be asking what on earth MPs were doing making the UK totally dependent on the EU without any back-up and then holding a referendum offering withdrawal as an option when it wasn’t.

There isn’t a convenient way out of this for the UK government. They opened this can of worms, now they need some courage and need to finish the job. To repeat, you have no idea how much damage this is going to do if the government effectively folds on this and hands the UK population over as supplicants to the EU with no say. And if the EU thinks hard about this, they don’t want a nation of 65 million as supplicants without a vote either as it is going to cause them no end of trouble. Hence article 8.

And before anyone starts on GDP projections, I would rather live in a tent and eat rats and have a vote that matters than live in a 4 bed detached and shop at M&S and have no vote, as my vote gives me the power to get out of the tent into a house, but without a vote there is nothing to stop someone taking my house away and forcing me to live in a tent.

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Dipper 08.04.18 at 7:13 pm

@Prof Quiggin its up to you, but no need to worry about Collin Street’s abuse on my account. If I’m not reducing Collin Street to incandescent rage I worry I’m not explaining myself properly.

68

peterv 08.04.18 at 10:10 pm

On oral cultures, here is an interesting comparison of the largely oral culture of the FBI with the largely written culture of CIA:

https://www.politico.com/story/2012/05/can-the-fbi-understand-intelligence-076261

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J-D 08.05.18 at 3:06 am

Dipper

Prices going up will redistribute wealth from the better off to the poor.

I don’t recall ever thinking about this before, but now that I am considering it I’m inclined to guess the opposite, so I’m curious to know what the basis for your conclusion is.

70

J-D 08.05.18 at 3:42 am

Dipper

… This EU argument is largely about how power breaks down within the UK and the use of the EU by some in the UK to impose their will on others.
… As UK journalist Iain Martin says, just because people cry wolf all the time doesn’t mean there isn’t an actual wolf. However as a voter, my choice is to risk the wolf (regulatory fall out is real, significant and damaging) or spend my life being controlled by people who cry wolf whenever it suits them. The only thing you can do here is to call their bluff, say there is no wolf, and if there is one you will hold them responsible for not having adequate anti-wolf preparations. A life of being controlled by wolf-shouters isn’t worth living.

Unfortunately I don’t follow the analogy. I can’t figure out what the wolf is supposed to stand for, or who are supposed to be the people who are crying wolf, or whom they are using that cry to control (and how).

I may have misunderstood (please correct me if so), but it seems that part of what you are suggesting is that leaving the EU will mean people with power have less influence over your life; if so, I don’t understand how you have reached that conclusion, because I can’t think of any basis for it.

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nastywoman 08.05.18 at 6:00 am

@66
”I would rather live in a tent and eat rats and have a vote that matters than live in a 4 bed detached and shop at M&S and have no vote, as my vote gives me the power to get out of the tent into a house, but without a vote there is nothing to stop someone taking my house away and forcing me to live in a tent”.

Nothing on this thread might explain the ”oral culture” of all the self-defeating efforts of ”Brexiters” -(or any other ”Exiters”) better than the above.

It’s like what one of the great masters of hand-craftsmanship told us in Crewe – where Bentleys are put together.
He still wanted the vote over ”the whole machine” – or better said: The whole ”machinery” – and this wonderful man had a really hard time accepting that ”the motor of the whole machinery was coming from somewhere else – where is ”vote” didn’t count the one way or the other.

And that’s ”the thing” – there is something called… ”reality” -(and some people call it ”evil globalization” – or anything ”oral” they like) – but like a silly Trump who cries ”ME first” – our famous ”interconnected” reality make all these battles of bunches of nationalistic fools so useless and enjoyful self-defeating –
Something like ”Brexit” just proves that there is no ”exit” anymore out of a system where some wonderful craftsmanship comes from Great Britain and some machinery parts come from somewhere else.

Now – a Brexiter could say: I want to vote for ”the machinery” (again!) – and not just for the leather seats – but that moment has past just some time ago when ”the machinery” was (voluntarily) given away –

And that’s the ”real thing” – all these funny efforts of the Brexiters just will prove that they desperately need everything they thought they don’t want – from the foreign ”Service Personal” to the help of every other EU Nation – and in exchange to give away the illusion of some ”my” vote -(I voluntarily already have given to anything ”Italian” – years ago) – will feel so… soooo…?

Try it Dipper – as your country already irreversibly did it!

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Faustusnotes 08.05.18 at 7:33 am

Dipper I grew up in Britain, I’m British, I was in Britain for two weeks, the first spent working with a British collaborator and the second spent traveling the area of my childhood with a British friend (you can see my review of the Tolkien exhibition on my blog, as an example of me appreciating British culture). I read the Magna Carta while I was there. (incidentally it has a freedom of movement clause did you know that?)

So the personal slights aside, a few other rejoinders. Since minimum wage earners spend all the money they earn and don’t save, they actually pay about 17% tax on their income (what is the current rate of VAT?) That’s probably a higher tax than a high income earner with a good accountant. If their salaries go up then this won’t change. So your tax argument is a bit of a furphy. But waged going up won’t help these people if prices rise even more because of what you and your traitor friends did to the economy.

Your cry wolf analogy is babble but I do have to ask you this – do you really think the UK gave up power over regulations when they joined the EU? This is a strange idea because it means all the countries of the EU “gave up power” but power is still being exercised. How does that work? I suggest you rethink. You should also rethink the idea anyone is fetishizing EU regulations. Noone is doing that, were just pointing out that extricating yourself from the regulations and making g your own is a complex, difficult and dangerous thing that isn’t worth the effort – especially since it takes you out of a trading bloc that includes Germany and the southern European countries – who have products the rest of the world wants to buy – and leaves you negotiating new free trade deals without the appeal of those countries. Why would you think anyone wants to make a trade deal with the UK? Japan just signed one with the EU. Tariffs on German industrial components will drop to 0 next year. Why is Japan going to waste effort negotiating a great trade deal with the UK? You have nothing Japan wants. This is something brexiteers don’t understand. Your country was clinging onto Germany and southern Europe’s coattails. Now you have to appeal to countries by yourself – when they already have a free trade deal with Germany. So very stupid and self indulgent to think you can do better than that …

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Dipper 08.05.18 at 7:50 am

@ J-D “Prices going up will redistribute wealth from the better off to the poor.”

Bringing in lots of manual labour to (massively) supplement the available pool means jobs can get done for a rate that they could not otherwise get done for. It keeps the price for manual labour artificially low. If the supply of manual labour was restricted then either the work migrates to other countries (and thats a positive result IMHO) and/or the price of labour goes up. Hence people will have to pay more for their strawberries in Waitrose because the cost of labour producing it has gone up. Hence money distributed from middle class Waitrose shoppers to manual workers.

If bringing in manual labour from overseas is a good thing, how come very few people are arguing for us to reduce wages even further and bring in labour from sub-saharan Africa, or parts of South America or Asia? What is so great about allowing lots of Rumanians come and work here that isn’t great about letting lots of Africans come here?

Crying wolf is that it is impossible to leave the EU because all international trade will cease, we will be poisoned from unchecked food and all our medicines will turn out to be pig semen. The call comes from those people in the UK who have a vested interest in continuing to be part of the EU (often because the EU funds them or indirectly employs them).

The wolf is that some of this may turn out to be true. Although I’m quite sure that the EU is not just going to give up a £95,000,000,000 pa trade surplus in manufactured goods with the UK because they cannot organise insurance cover.

“I may have misunderstood (please correct me if so), but it seems that part of what you are suggesting is that leaving the EU will mean people with power have less influence over your life”.

People with power but no accountability to the voters in the UK. Specifically people like Guy Verhofstadt who made clear that our future is a subordinate state in a Federal Europe.

I just don’t understand people who argue about the impossibility of no deal and then stop without moving on to the political consequences of that statement. This is a running theme of the Brexit debate. Lots of “level 1 arguments”. along the lines of “this might be bad so we better not do it”, e.g. a return to terrorism in Northern Ireland of there is a hard border, issues with medicines at the border, but no “level 2 arguments” along the lines of “what are the long-term consequences of doing this?” . So: what happens when you use the threat of terrorism to overturn the UK’s biggest vote? What influence will the UK have over the EU if it concedes to EU demands? I guess it is one of the consequences of having studied physics, a subject which is entirely about the logical consequences of laws of behaviour of physical things, but the way no-one on the pro-EU side ever asks what happens at step 2 is really noticeable and quite disturbing, as often the likely consequences are very clear.

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chris s 08.05.18 at 7:52 am

@66 that section from the Lisbon Treaty is aspirational and dependent on being able to close agreements with neighboring countries on areas of co-operation, it is not a guarantee that they will unilaterally agree to a deal a neighboring country may table.

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PeteW 08.05.18 at 8:59 am

Just to echo J-D’s confusion over some of Dipper’s bizarre thought.

Let’s take this one paragraph.

“I would rather live in a tent and eat rats and have a vote that matters than live in a 4 bed detached and shop at M&S and have no vote, as my vote gives me the power to get out of the tent into a house, but without a vote there is nothing to stop someone taking my house away and forcing me to live in a tent.”

I’m not sure you have ever lived in a tent eating rats but I think you might revise your view if you did. Just call it a hunch.

I don’t know what you mean by “a vote that matters’, but I live in a 5-bedroomed house (though I often shop at Aldi) and my vote doesn’t matter. I live in a constituency that has only ever voted, by a large majority, for the same party since 1918, a party whose policies I generally despise. Under first-past-the-post, my vote simply doesn’t count. I might as well stay at home on poling day.

Then we have “Without a vote … etc” But you have just voted to, um, remove your own right to vote. You want to withdraw from the EU parliament and institutions, no longer have a vote in its elections or be represented by an MEP. But your life will still be affected, one way or another, by decisions made in the EU, whatever final deal the Uk reaches with it.

Having disenfranchised yourself – and, incidentally, me – you are claiming an argument for enfranchisement!

76

ph 08.05.18 at 9:25 am

So, I watched Steve Bannon on the BBC discussing Brexit, etc., then Bannon on Bloomberg discussing China, and now I’m watching Dr. Peter Navarro’s speech at the Hudson Institute “How Trump Will Win with China.” Expertise well-outside of my area.

77

casmilus 08.05.18 at 10:49 am

A life in a country controlled by Dippers isn’t worth living – however there is no danger of it happening given their utter incompetence and ignorance of why anyone disagree with them. They won’t even defeat Jeremy Corbyn, and then they’ll be sulking about it for the rest of the century.

With regard to Richard North’s chippiness, I think the issue is that lots of hacks in both politics and media have pinched his work without accreditation, so he’s understandably pissed-off. There’s also a bit of a “politically incorrect Yorkshireman” thing going on, he’s pissed-off everyone who knew in UKIP, but that’s not our problem.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.05.18 at 4:20 pm

Carney says BoE models of No Deal give worst case scenario of “real-estate prices going down by more than a third, interest rates going up by almost 4 percentage points, unemployment rising to 9 percent, and the economy going into a 4 percent recession”.

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nastywoman 08.06.18 at 3:39 am

”the word” was liberating – Dipper…

80

nastywoman 08.06.18 at 6:18 am

@76
”BoE models of No Deal give worst case scenario of “real-estate prices going down by more than a third”,

Or as somebody – who really wants to buy a flat at the Circus in Bath says: Hurray!!

And that’s ”the thing” –
there are these ”Brexiters” -(we know) who want nothing more than the crazy UK Real Estate prices coming down to a level where ”the people” -(of the UK) can afford to live in London – or Bath (again) – and that’s ”the thing” – about this ”protect me from what I want” – as the immense popularity of the Great British Isle came with aaall these (unintended?) consequences of hardly any average Brit being able anymore to afford to live in the sweetest spots of his ”own” country anymore – and if the UK government just would have fought the Real Estate Speculation a lot better -(at least as well as a city like Berlin – for example) – and still would have provided payable shelter for the people – everywhere – enough much more happy Brits would have voted against – leave – and that’s soooo –

sad?

81

J-D 08.06.18 at 8:01 am

Dipper

1. It’s surely worth distinguishing between the specific effects of an increase in specific prices and the general effect of a general increase in prices.

If you had written that an increase in wages would redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor it would have seemed plausible to me. But a general increase in prices and a general increase in wages are two different things, which sometimes go together and sometimes don’t.

An increase in specific prices (for example–your example–the price of strawberries in Waitrose) would surely result in a redistribution from some specific group of people (possibly rich) to some other specific group (possibly poor). That’s not sufficient basis to justify the conclusion that a general increase in prices will result in a general redistribution from the rich to the poor. The converse still seems more likely to me.

I don’t know whether an effect of Brexit will be a general increase in prices. Of course I don’t, since I’ve mentioned before that I don’t know what the effects of Brexit will be. But it’s obviously one possible outcome and, I think, it would probably be a bad one for the people of the UK generally. If you have some reason to think differently, it isn’t clear to me.

2. The story of the boy who cried wolf is a story about somebody who deliberately made a statement about something bad happening which he knew to be false. It is therefore not a valid analogy in this context. The people who are talking about expected bad consequences from Brexit are sincere, even if they may be mistaken. (You don’t even know that they are mistaken; you admit that they may be right about the effects of Brexit. I also don’t know that they are mistaken.)

3. I am not clear on what your objection is to federal systems. I live in a federation myself, and in that context I have encountered both arguments against federalism and arguments in favour of it. I don’t know of any reason to suppose that politicians are less accountable to the voters under federal systems than they are under unitary systems. Indeed, for all I know, it might that politicians are less accountable to voters under unitary systems. Most likely, I imagine, there isn’t any significant correlation one way or the other, but it seems to me that it would require an elaborate and careful investigation of multiple examples to be sure.

4. You write

I just don’t understand people who argue about the impossibility of no deal

I’m not sure who you’re referring to. I know I haven’t argued that ‘no deal’ is impossible.

5. I don’t understand what distinction you are trying to draw between ‘level 1 arguments’ and ‘level 2 arguments’. As far as I can tell, the people who have argued against Brexit have done so on the basis that they expect it to have long-term negative consequences; I can’t tell whether arguments like that are your ‘level 1 arguments’ or your ‘level 2 arguments’, but either way it seems to me that if you think Brexit will have long-term negative consequences, it makes sense to argue against it on the basis that it will have long-term negative consequences. Equally, of course, if you think Brexit will have long-term positive consequences, it makes sense to argue for it on that basis. I can’t figure what difference a division of arguments into ‘level 1’ and ‘level 2’ is supposed to make.

82

Tomsk 08.06.18 at 10:47 am

Dipper @60
“However as a voter, my choice is to risk the wolf (regulatory fall out is real, significant and damaging) or spend my life being controlled by people who cry wolf whenever it suits them. The only thing you can do here is to call their bluff, say there is no wolf, and if there is one you will hold them responsible for not having adequate anti-wolf preparations. A life of being controlled by wolf-shouters isn’t worth living.”
Just to unpack the sequence of events in this interesting allegory:

1) Someone warns you not to do X as it would put you in danger of being savaged by a wolf
2) You decide they are lying and do X anyway
3) You get savaged by a wolf
4) You proclaim this is all their fault and try to hold them accountable for ‘[in]adequate anti-wolf preparations’.

Because apparently wolf-shouting is inherently wrong somehow, whether or not there is in fact a wolf, and a life of paying attention to warnings ‘isn’t worth living’.

This actually seems a pretty good representation of the basic childishness of the whole affair to me, but I don’t think it’s doing the rhetorical work you want it to.

83

SusanC 08.06.18 at 11:08 am

I’m an academic who very occasionally gets to write more journalistic oieces.

From my oiint of view, one of the things that characterizes journalism is interviewing the people who were involved in some issue/event that hasn’t been written up yet; the translation from an oral account to a written newspaper article is an essential part of what the journalist is supposed to do,

84

Alex 08.06.18 at 11:26 am

During North’s years of relentlessly pushing Brexit he was always invariably cranky, horrible, and weirdly obsessed with whoever the senior woman on the EU Commission was, so I wouldn’t expect anything else.

85

Layman 08.06.18 at 12:05 pm

Dipper: “People with power but no accountability to the voters in the UK.”

This is just an exercise in cherry-picking. Members of Parliament in the UK are not elected by the entire nation but instead are elected by the citizens of their own little constituency; thus each citizen of the UK is at the mercy of 649 Members with power but no accountability to that citizen at all.

86

Dipper 08.06.18 at 2:11 pm

@ PeteW “You want to withdraw from the EU parliament and institutions, no longer have a vote in its elections or be represented by an MEP. But your life will still be affected, one way or another, by decisions made in the EU”. The same could be said of Ireland withdrawing from the UK and foregoing the right to send representatives to Westminster. Canada could become part of the USA and have a vote, New Zealand could become part of Australia and have a vote. etc etc. In the EU the one thing that people don’t get to vote on is what happens to fiscal surpluses that are collected in Germany. Only Germany gets to vote on that.

@Lee A. Arnold. And what is your personal worst case of your circumstances? If it isn’t a bad one, it isn’t a worst case. And as @nastywoman says, property prices down by a third? A generation will have that thanks.

@ casmilus – there is no such thing as a country “controlled by Dippers”. In Dipperworld there are just countries controlled by representatives elected by voters.

@J-D generally, when something changes, I would regard level 1 as an immediate consequence and level 2 as a consequence enabled by that change. So a lot of people who voted to Leave did so because they felt that the march to a Federal superstate was becoming unstoppable. Pro EU campaigners generally avoided discussing that, or said we would have a veto, and concentrated on the immediate consequences. To my mind it is just unrealistic to think we could exercise a veto having just proved we can be intimidated into conceding – why wouldn’t the EU just do the same again? Some pro-EU people said they would like a Federal Europe, but that was not part of the Remain campaign.

87

David Heasman 08.06.18 at 2:38 pm

Three blokes in a pub discuss Brexit. Orally, natch.

88

Trader Joe 08.06.18 at 3:28 pm

I naive but sincere question related to all of the question about importing goods, suitability, paperwork etc.

Why wouldn’t Parliament simply pass the Hard Brexit Act (or some such) that says something to the effect of:

“As of (day of exit) all UK rules regarding suitability, quality etc….blah, blah, blah are equal to those found in the EU handbook (or whatever they have) please read all references to EU as UK. Please watch for subsequent amendments from related governing agencies.”

Paperwork and bureaucracy really can’t be construed as a barrier. Any good that moved the day before will move the day after. At greater issue is what level of tariff might be attached to such goods since right now its essentially zero. If the UK allows the imports at zero (or near to it) there wouldn’t be any reason for a shortage of anything.

89

Barry 08.06.18 at 4:40 pm

Nasty woman: “Or as somebody – who really wants to buy a flat at the Circus in Bath says: Hurray!!”

The problem is that the reason for housing prices declining by 30% would be a depression.

90

Dipper 08.06.18 at 8:02 pm

@ Faustusnotes

if bringing in immigrants en masse to do minimum wage jobs on a Freedom of Movement style basis is such a great deal, why stop at the EU? Why not just grant FOM to absolutely everyone in the world? If net migration of c250,000 a year is so good for the country, why not a million a year? Would that be four times as good? How do you determine the optimum number per year?

91

Chris Bertram 08.06.18 at 8:46 pm

@Dipper asks “How do you determine the optimum number [of immigrants] per year?” Interesting. How do we determine the optimum number of computer programmers, coal miners and waiters? We don’t start out by having a politician announce a randomish target and then distort the entire economy to try to meet it.

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nastywoman 08.06.18 at 9:35 pm

@89
”The problem is that the reason for housing prices declining by 30% would be a depression”.

For sure – and isn’t that the ”damndest thing”? – and that a Dipper then writes:

”A generation will have that thanks”.

As these ”Dippers” -(or Trumpists-types) never understand the problem of the ”package deal”?
Like some ”packages” just come with very unpleasant and very much unintended consequences – like – Dippers children finally and theoretically might be able to afford some shelter again – if they would get a job in ”the Depression”?

Soooo it looks like – we really – and especially in these perplexing times – have to be carefully about what we really want – and have to tell this especially to one of my British friend – who likes to run runs through London screaming:
WE NEED A DEPRESSION!
-(if he get’s told in a overbooked restaurant that he has to wait for forty minutes for his table – or when he get’s stuck in overstuffed London traffic between the Isle of Dogs -(where he lives) – and Shephards Bush -(where his favorite Asian restaurant happens to be) – and his Californian Girlfriend always agrees with him as she left California BE-cause – as she always says:
”People there have faaar too much money”.

And insists on NOT going back before ”some really YUUUGE recession or depression” –
which ”will make the freeways in Lalaland a lot more ”free-er” -(again)
-from all these far too expensive German Cars!

And so her favorite war cry is too:
”WE NEED A DEPRESSION” – and I can tell you she gets a lot of laughs for it each times she yells it in overcrowded London.

93

PeteW 08.06.18 at 9:44 pm

@ Dipper
“The same could be said of Ireland withdrawing from the UK and foregoing the right to send representatives to Westminster.”

You are comparing a nation subdued by conquest and centuries of oppression to one freely joining a non-coercive union of fellow democracies?

94

J-D 08.06.18 at 10:26 pm

Dipper

@ PeteW “You want to withdraw from the EU parliament and institutions, no longer have a vote in its elections or be represented by an MEP. But your life will still be affected, one way or another, by decisions made in the EU”. The same could be said of Ireland withdrawing from the UK and foregoing the right to send representatives to Westminster. Canada could become part of the USA and have a vote, New Zealand could become part of Australia and have a vote. etc etc.

Well, yes; so what do you conclude from these facts? In 1845, the people of Texas got a vote on whether to become part of the USA; in 1900, the people of Western Australia got a vote on whether to become part of the Commonwealth of Australia; in 1948, the people of Newfoundland got a vote on whether to become part of Canada; in 2011, the people of South Sudan got a vote on whether to separate from Sudan; in 2014, the people of Scotland got a vote on whether to separate from the United Kingdom; in 2017, the people of Catalonia were offered a vote on whether to separate from Spain. (On the other hand, in 1992 the people of Czechoslovakia did not get a vote on dissolution.) In a situation like that, what are the arguments for and against? what would be good reasons to vote one way or the other? I have grasped that you don’t want the UK to become part of a federated Europe, but you haven’t explained why you don’t want that.

95

J-D 08.06.18 at 10:32 pm

Trader Joe

I have remarked, earlier, that I don’t know what the consequences are going to be, that I have seen some people predict little or no change and other people predict calamity, and as far as I know it could be either of those, or anything between. But, treating what I have read not as certain to be right but as reflecting possibilities, it suggests at least two questions about what you propose.

The first question is: if the UK did what you propose, would it be consistent with its legal obligations as a member of the WTO, or a violation of them?

The second question is: if the UK does continue to allow free inward movement of consignments of goods from the EU, but the EU does not continue to allow free inward movement of consignments of goods from the UK, what happens then?

96

J-D 08.06.18 at 11:05 pm

Dipper

I don’t think there is any way of determining an optimum number of people a year. Do you think there is any way of determining an optimum number of people a year? or, if you don’t, what other basis would you suggest for determining immigration policy?

97

floopmeister 08.06.18 at 11:29 pm

Interesting. How do we determine the optimum number of computer programmers, coal miners and waiters? We don’t start out by having a politician announce a randomish target and then distort the entire economy to try to meet it.

Oh mighty Market, where art thou? Where the price signals of demand and supply efficiently set the levels of any commodity…

:)

98

Moz of Yarramulla 08.06.18 at 11:41 pm

Why wouldn’t Parliament simply … “As of (day of exit) all UK rules regarding suitability, quality etc….blah, blah, blah are equal to those found in the EU handbook

They could. And that would cover the legalities of importing stuff from the EU.

Leaving only two problems:

– making sure the imports complied with the new regulations. Otherwise horsemeat pies and BSE will be the good old days.

– persuading the EU that they should allow UK exports. The legal hack above doesn’t even begin to start to address that problem.

Politically, a major point of Brexit is to get out of the EU rules, so it would be difficult to get the suggestion above through parliament.

99

faustusnotes 08.07.18 at 12:58 am

Dipper, I’m intrigued as to why you keep returning to this fallacy that “if freedom of movement from Europe is okay you should also support global freedom of movement.” It is irrelevant and silly.

But in answer to your question, since when I am in the UK I routinely see European workers in restaurants and cafes working next to signs recruiting new staff; since there are obvious concerns being publicly aired by farmers about fruit picking work; and since when I work in universities in the UK I notice that a great many of their junior technical and admin staff are from Europe; I would suggest that the 250,000 a year migration number you keep flinging about is not quite sufficient. Perhaps the UK needs 300,000? The exact number, as Chris observes, isn’t so easy to determine, but if you’re bringing in 250,000 a year and your health, university and service sectors all don’t have enough staff, I would have thought the answer to your question was obvious.

Of course the rotation of people in and out of the UK through FoM means that the “net” migration figure of 250,000 is not a simple addition to the UK population. But that, too, is something that you and your crew of treasonous friends are consistently and carefully avoiding talking about, because whipping up fears of migrants is your main and only strategy for winning votes.

100

Sebastian H 08.07.18 at 2:25 am

“How do we determine the optimum number of computer programmers, coal miners and waiters? We don’t start out by having a politician announce a randomish target and then distort the entire economy to try to meet it.”

Isn’t that sort of evading the question though? If you’re a hyper market oriented person you could say something like “we accept enough such that either the downward pressure on wages becomes intolerable to the [somebody]” or maybe “until we see evidence that more would tend to detract from the balance of economy (taking into account inputs and governmental outlays)”.

Or you could say “we always let them in as a matter of justice even if it costs a lot” (I think your position). Or you could say “always until you can prove that letting more in would be a major detriment to the people in the country” (maybe your position?).

But if your position is that the randomish target of “whomever wants in” is appropriate, then your “and then distort the entire economy to try to meet it” applies equally to you.

101

Sebastian H 08.07.18 at 2:39 am

Another way of thinking about it is noticing that very few countries allow truly unlimited immigration. Even if you think that the ONLY reason immigration is ever limited is because natives are inappropriately tribal, it doesn’t follow that we can just ignore that people are inappropriately tribal unless we know a pretty good method of minimizing that or shutting it down. You can’t just assume it away and then hope nothing bad happens.

102

Collin Street 08.07.18 at 3:11 am

@Chris: dipper actually has all the information he needs, because it’s been carefully explained to him that EU freedom of movement represents and is strictly limited to the implementation of the single market as applied to labour. He already knows the single market has limited geographical extent: putting the two together should normally present a barrier so low as to not actually be noticed by most people.

But he can’t / won’t do that. The possible explanations for this are very very limited.

103

Peter T 08.07.18 at 3:55 am

Trader Joe

Several reasons – one is that the government would fall as, if Brexit is to mean anything, it means escape from EU jurisdiction. It would keep conformity with all EU external controls (so to keep free trade with the EU). Rees-Mogg, Johnson et al would explode.

More prosaically, international movement is different from domestic because it’s at the border that all sorts of regulations apply (verification of licenses, inspection, fees, tariffs) and all these are handled through multiple channels. So quite different IT systems, reporting, payment channels, insurance and so on apply (there is no domestic equivalent to cif or fob, for instance). All this is controlled by law and regulation, going back through to the ECJ. Many of the controls are internationally-mandated, and compliance is required to move things along the chain.

It’s not that the UK can’t build all this – it’s that it can’t start to build it until it decides what form Brexit takes. Which it has not done. Then it will take a few years. And that’s aside from the impact this has on complex supply chains built in the expectation that movement would be effectively as frictionless as domestic.

104

Hidari 08.07.18 at 6:06 am

If you are absolutely genuine about cutting immigration, I mean, really serious, the best way to do that is to turn your country into such a total shithole that

a: no one wants to go there and
b: everyone wants to leave.

It has to be said to their credit that the more militant Brexiteers seem to be unafraid of grasping this particular nettle.

105

casmilus 08.07.18 at 6:27 am

@82

“This actually seems a pretty good representation of the basic childishness of the whole affair to me, but I don’t think it’s doing the rhetorical work you want it to.”

What you need to realise is that, despite all the “culture war” posturing, the Dippers and Kippers are examples of the same mentality you can find in any dim-witted “anti-capitalist” protest group. It goes like this:

1. Ignorance of how the world works at present – not deep stuff, just easily checkable details.
2. Supreme confidence that they know the “radical changes” that need to be done to society, pretty much for the sake of change in itself.
3. Complacent assumption that all the nice things will carry on working by magic as they always do, because the grown-ups make it all work with whatever it is they do.
4. Instant resort to conspiracy theorising when 3 fails to obtain due to 2 breaking the stuff they didn’t know about in 1.

The difference between the “left” and “right” versions of this personality is mostly sartorial, whether they have green hair and piercings or suits and ties, and whether “neoliberalism” or “marxism” is the ostensible enemy. Also the ConservativeHome versions are now in the precincts of power.

The above comments do not deny that there are versions of “anti-capitalism” that are not dim-witted and might have a clue about what they want to do.

106

Dipper 08.07.18 at 2:17 pm

@ Chris Bertram

Getting way off topic here, but anyway … it is odd to see a Labour Party supporter championing the supremacy of the market and the notion that business should just be able to recruit whomever they want from wherever, but odd is the new normal.

If there is a shortage, then the Brexit approach is to firstly train local people to do the jobs, and secondly temporary recruitment from countries without offering complete political integration. So Northern Ireland is recruiting nurses from The Philippines and India without having to offer political union with either of those countries.

@ Trader Joe

Yes I agree but firstly the rulebook will have a process for disputes which will go to the ECJ which the UK will no longer be a member of, and also the business process will sometimes require insurance which itself goes back up to the courts that oversee this and require both parties to be members of the EU or have a substitute trade agreement, and secondly whilst that gets the goods into the UK, it doesn’t get goods out of the UK as the EU can say that given we no longer have regulatory union with them they can request all sorts of things to show we meet their standards.

It was said elsewhere a while ago that Leavers behave as though the EU are a rational organisation and Remainers behave as though the EU are psychopaths, and the arguments around trade are an example of that.

And for @J-D once the UK sticks its hands up and says, okay you win we cannot leave, what do you think happens next? Anybody like to hazard a guess on where that leaves the ability of the UK government to act on behalf of UK citizens?
Y

107

Dave Heasman 08.07.18 at 2:31 pm

“Why wouldn’t Parliament simply pass the Hard Brexit Act”

Indeed. But the EU would also have to pass one or nothing would be exported from the UK.
And it’s hard to see why they should want to. Is anyone from the UK planning on asking them to do so? Looks to me as if the UK is just accumulating excuses and scapegoats.

108

Scott 08.07.18 at 5:08 pm

On oral culture, for me the epitome is the way journalists from really top-notch outlets will call me (a pretty ordinary policy academic) and not even be able to formulate a question. They name the issue and I give them quotes. Media training encourages this- you find out the topic, formulate your quotes, and then give them to the journalist, and don’t answer questions outside the topic of your quotes if you can help it. In such an environment what is a good journalist’s incentive to question or formulate arguments?

It’s a lot more fun than the tendentious questions and general sense of danger if you have the pleasure of talking to e.g. the Daily Mail. They ask questions as part of the process of putting your head in a noose.

On Brexit, I believe the public opinion data suggest that while remainers, inside and outside the political elite, are filled with concern, most of the Brexit electorate has tuned out. We decided it, it’s been years, just finish it up. Hence the asymmetry of detail-filled panic on one side and grumping about will of the people on the other. Won’t it be fun when the Brexit electorate learns it wasn’t easy, quick, or even done in 2016.

109

J-D 08.07.18 at 10:35 pm

Dipper

And for @J-D once the UK sticks its hands up and says, okay you win we cannot leave, what do you think happens next? Anybody like to hazard a guess on where that leaves the ability of the UK government to act on behalf of UK citizens?

I don’t understand why you’re asking me this question. Why are you asking me this question? and why are you not answering mine?

110

TM 08.08.18 at 5:58 am

The question of wage dumping is always quoted in debates about immigration. (e. g. Dipper 60, 73). The Federation of Swiss Unions (SGB-USS) has studied the European free movement regime compared with the old regime which was based on immigration quotas and has come to the very clear conclusion that immigration quotas in combination with legal restrictions on immigrant workers do nothing to prevent wage dumping and hurt workers in general. In fact, employers usually get their way and are able to recruit foreign workers, if not legally then illegally. Switzerland, even more than Germany, France and the UK, has experienced high labor immigration for a long time, despite a quota system. (A lot of the debate nowadays sounds as if immigration in Western Europe were a totally new phenomenon due to nefarious EU influence, when in fact some of the largest migration movements were experienced in the post war period.)

Why do the unions think that immigration restrictions actually hurt domestic workers? This insight isn’t new either. Unions have long known that immigrant workers on revokable visas are legally vulnerable and therefore less inclined to organize, fight for their rights, demand higher wages and better working conditions. Under the EU agreement, for the first time, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers (in a population of 8 million) cannot be kicked out on a whim by the government or forced to leave if they are laid off by their bosses. This has empowered them and their unions.

So what can be done to prevent wage dumping under a free movement regime? The unions have been politically savvy. In return for their support for the EU agreements (which are vital for the Swiss economy), they have won strong measures against wage dumping. For the first time, the government can set and enforce minimum wages in certain industries. Employers must comply with local wages and working conditions and there are controls and enforcement. Interestingly (but not surprising to anyone with an understanding of right wing politics), the nativists who oppose free movement also, and just as fervently, oppose the anti-wage dumping measures.

The unions’s detailed analysis of the old quota system is available in French and German at
https://www.uss.ch/themes/politique-syndicale/article/details/anciens-contingents-inhumains-et-economiquement-nuisibles/

Anciens contingents : inhumains et économiquement nuisibles
Une brochure de l’USS présente les faits et quelques témoignages sur les contingents et le statut de saisonnier

111

Reg Slater 08.08.18 at 7:23 am

It very much won’t be fun when the Brexit electorate learns it wasn’t easy, quick or even done in 2016. And the more self-aware Brexiters know this, which is why we see a ramping up of the line that problems are caused by an intransigent EU plus an insufficiently aggressive UK negotiating position. The one thing on which you can bank is that it will NEVER be the Brexiters fault, always someone else,s. But there is worse to come, as scapegoats for the failure of Brexit (though not the failure of ReesMogg and Redwood,s investments) are sought. Johnson’s calculated Islamophobia is the tone that is going to dominate the fight for sway in the Conservative Party

112

casmilus 08.08.18 at 7:42 am

Incidentally,

“Crying wolf is that it is impossible to leave the EU because all international trade will cease, we will be poisoned from unchecked food and all our medicines will turn out to be pig semen. The call comes from those people in the UK who have a vested interest in continuing to be part of the EU (often because the EU funds them or indirectly employs them).”

The actual argument (as given by the Leaver Richard North) is:

1. Our current trading arrangements reference standards and certfication bodies in Europe.
2. If we withdrew from those systems, it would have an immediate adverse effect on that trade.
3. We need to build up our own comparable institutions to replace them. But that is a task that will take several years.
4. We need a transitional stage as we prepare for full departure, and during that time we will have to continue with at least some of the existing arrangements.
5. Brexit is a process, not a single event (a line subsequently taken up by Daniel Hannan).

The basic immaturity of many Brexiteers is that they can’t respond to this without seeing the Norths as treacherous Remainers (“quizlings”) who are denying that it can all be done overnight with no trouble. This shows how far removed they really are from the world of WW2 Britain (despite constantly invoking it): D-Day was the result of years of careful preparation; rushing into action caused the disaster of the Dieppe Raid.

The grand old men at the top of the Brexit racket are perfectly well-informed that it will cause trouble… which is why they’ve spent the past 2 years simply manoeuvring to put all the blame on the EU and the Fifth Column Remainer Traitors. Best thing that could happen now is to force them in to responsibility, make Boris and Jacob become PM and Deputy PM in time for April 2019.

113

Trader Joe 08.08.18 at 11:43 am

@many on “Hard Brexit Act” suggestion

Thanks for the many answers. I guess the follow-up questions I would have are

a) why wouldn’t EU want to pass some similar regulation? To the extent there are EU businesses buying UK products they must want them for some reason whether its part of their supply chains or to stock shelves or whatever it is that’s sold. One would think those businesses would be saying (as UK businesses have done) – hey, I gotta have “X” and you need to make that possible. I appreciate its an element of their bargaining position, but there isn’t much incentive for their businesses or economies to be damaged once the tipping point is reached – even if that’s the day before the deadline.

b) If the reason Parliament wouldn’t pass it is that “the government would fall” – wouldn’t that be happening anyway if they don’t take some action and the economy seizes up due to lack of goods flow? The idea might be putting a band-aid on a gun-shot wound, but it least it might do something.

Lastly, one of the points concerned insurance. This I know about and its not likely to be an issue. Most all major insurance companies already have or soon will have both EU and UK underwriting facilities and will issue dual domiciled policies to multi-national companies that export either direction across the border. The insurance industry is actually one of the few that has sort of figured this out since organizations like Lloyd’s and the major reinsurance companies have been issuing cross border policies for decades.

114

Stephen 08.08.18 at 4:36 pm

J-D @95: “if the UK does continue to allow free inward movement of consignments of goods from the EU, but the EU does not continue to allow free inward movement of consignments of goods from the UK, what happens then?”

If we can believe the Guardian, then rather a large number of medical patients in the rest of the EU will die for lack of drugs manufactured under patent in the UK. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/07/eu-patients-may-miss-out-on-medicines-in-no-deal-brexit-says-astrazeneca

I doubt if that is what Brussels really wants, but I could be wrong.

115

stephen 08.08.18 at 4:43 pm

faustusnotes@99: “Of course the rotation of people in and out of the UK through FoM means that the “net” migration figure of 250,000 is not a simple addition to the UK population.”

You have me baffled here. Maybe I am just simple-minded, but I thought that a “net”migration figure meant immigrants minus emigrants: which, if positive, must surely be an addition to the UK population.

Please elucidate.

116

Chris Bertram 08.08.18 at 9:35 pm

@dipper “it is odd to see a Labour Party supporter”

I am, fwiw, a member of a different political party, but carry on with your superb mind-reading skills.

117

J-D 08.08.18 at 9:55 pm

Trader Joe

In a previous comment I questioned whether it would be compatible with WTO requirements for the UK to make the kind of relaxation of conditions on trade which you were suggesting; not because I know that it wouldn’t be, but because I know that suggestion has been made and obviously the question is important. Obviously the same question is important for your additional suggestion that the EU make a similar reciprocal relaxation; in addition, there is the question of whether it would be compatible with the EU’s own existing rules. Of course it must be within the power of the EU (and its members) to amend EU rules, but it may not be easy.

It’s plain that from the point of view of the EU the best arrangement is for the UK to continue to be treated in all respects as if it were a member of the EU, but there can be no way to achieve that except for the UK to remain a member of the EU. It is not necessary to know what the obligations of EU membership are to recognise that there must be some, and there is plainly no way the EU can agree to the UK continuing to enjoy the benefits of EU membership without accepting the obligations: if the EU agreed to that, every other member would want the benefits without the obligations, which would mean the dissolution of the EU.

As for your suggestion that (I paraphrase loosely) the government should agree to an outcome that is otherwise unpalatable in order to avoid an outcome that is disastrous, of course it seems rational that people should behave like that, but sometimes they don’t, and a reason is that so long as you don’t voice your consent you can continue to deny responsibility. For example, in this case, now that David Davis and Boris Johnson have resigned from the government they are free to announce disagreement with any course of action the government takes, and this will mean in the future that it will be easier for them to get some people (and this possibly includes themselves) to believe that whatever happens (possiblly including the fall of the government) they have no share of responsiblity for it. This doesn’t just apply to them: others, including Theresa May, have the conflicting motivations of, on the one hand, not wanting the government to fall and, on the other hand, not wanting to be held responsible for the fall of the government. Perhaps you think that motivations like that will always work in concert; such is not the case.

118

Dipper 08.09.18 at 7:24 pm

@ PeteW. 93 Surely the point about universal rights is that they are universal, not path-dependent? Everyone has a history. Do some people’s history mean they have extra rights? Not sure what your point is.

@J-D 96/109/117 Advanced nations should not be looking to increase their numbers and hence environmental impact much. keeping a population rising in line with increasing longevity should be the target, or very slightly positive. The current approach to increase by 25% in a generation is an obvious pyramid scheme. Does a demand for such an increase miraculously stop after a generation? What is the mechanism whereby that happens?

J-D “I don’t understand why you’re asking me this question”. I think we are done here. It is the Brexit debate in microcosm. Leavers explain their reasons which are usually to do with sovereignty and democracy, and pro-EU people just stare blankly like the Leavers been speaking in some foreign language. A complete failure to understand the concepts involved.

@ floopmeister 97 “Oh mighty Market, where art thou? Where the price signals of demand and supply efficiently set the levels of any commodity…”. The supply could be the entire human population. Is that what you are proposing? Where do you think the laws of supply and demand put wages then? Your argument is obviously flawed isn’t it ? Or does some magic happen when immigrants turn up in the UK that enables spontanteous wealth creation that can happen nowhere else?

@ faustusnotes. 99 “…why you keep returning to this fallacy that “if freedom of movement from Europe is okay you should also support global freedom of movement.”  It is irrelevant and silly.“

Ha!. No it is highly relevant. The answer that you cannot bring yourself to write is that there is no economic case to restricting FOM to just a small group of countries. FOM is part of a political plan to create a European super-state.

@ TM 110. An organization that makes a living from promoting the interests of organized labour finds that massively increasing the supply of organized labour is a good thing. Shock.

@casmilus @ 112

“We need a transitional stage as we prepare for full departure“.
In an ideal world, yes, however the backlash against the referendum has been so strong that most people would see this as a transitional stage to overturning the referendum and getting back in the EU. There has been a massive loss of trust and polarization since the referendum making “sensible decisions” hard to implement.

@ Collin Street 102 “He already knows the single market has limited geographical extent”. No it doesn’t. Give me a single example from European History, or any history, of an expansionist empire that decided they didn’t fancy a few more square miles and a few more citizens. They grow until they can grow no more, then they die. Albania, Ukraine, etc etc.

119

faustusnotes 08.10.18 at 1:42 am

Really Dipper? Paranoid fantasies that the EU wants to consume the world? This is what you fall back on?

Dipper’s response to TM is telling as well. He can’t conceive that the organization in question supports the interests of organized labour because it thinks this is for the good of working people. No, it does so because it is “making a living” from doing so. This is the cynicism that underlies the Brexit project.

120

nastywoman 08.10.18 at 4:05 am

@118
”pro-EU people just stare blankly like the Leavers been speaking in some foreign language”.

That might be one of best – and most conclusive descriptions of listening to the ”oralylity” of Brexit – as ”the foreign language” – nothing left anymore than staring just blankly at a complete failure to understand any open-minded concepts of this century involved?

121

TM 08.10.18 at 6:04 am

fn 119: Yes that response is baffling. If the unions have a vested interest in increasing the supply of labour, I guess they ought to oppose contraception as well. Somebody should tell them. Make no mistake: making this stuff up is hard work, and Dipper keeps doing that work because he keeps getting rewarded with attention.

Of course unions first and foremost represent the interests of their members. Historically, organized labour has often been hostile towards immigrants. That this has changed is significant. The study I linked to is worth reading for anybody seriously interested in labour and/or immigration issues.

Last note, I often get the impression on CT that commenters pontificating about the “working class” have no knowledge of let alone experience with actual labour organizing/union work.

122

TM 08.10.18 at 6:10 am

Oh, and Dipper’s “expansionist empire” fantasy – “Heute gehört uns Europa , und morgen die ganze Welt”? Oh the irony to hear this from the band of Brexiteers whose project is to a large extent underwritten by nostalgia for the truly globalist, brutally expansionist British Empire.

123

floopmeister 08.10.18 at 7:01 am

@ floopmeister 97 “Oh mighty Market, where art thou? Where the price signals of demand and supply efficiently set the levels of any commodity…”. The supply could be the entire human population. Is that what you are proposing? Where do you think the laws of supply and demand put wages then? Your argument is obviously flawed isn’t it ? Or does some magic happen when immigrants turn up in the UK that enables spontanteous wealth creation that can happen nowhere else?

Way to miss the joke. Bravo.

You go on to claim:FOM is part of a political plan to create a European super-state.

Yep, the evil undemocratic power of the Leviathan EU crushing individual rights by allowing the free movement of individuals…

Too funny.

124

Dipper 08.10.18 at 7:10 am

@faustusnotes

“Paranoid fantasies that the EU wants to consume the world? “ The Roman Empire got a long way across North Africa and the Middle East, Nazi Germany was famously heading for India when it was stopped at Stalingrad, and as for the EU, the Eastern Partnership aims to bring Armenia , Azerbaijan , Belarus , Georgia , Moldova, and Ukraine in to closer contact. I’ve even provided a source for you faustusnotes which is an actual EU website. I haven’t even mentioned Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest. Oh I just have.

“…the organization in question supports the interests of organized labour … because it is “making a living” from doing so. This is the cynicism that underlies the Brexit project”. Not just Brexit, faustusnotes, everything. This cynicism even has a name, “talking your own book”.

Seriously faustusnotes, you are not cynical? You just take everything everyone says at face value?

125

Collin Street 08.10.18 at 8:16 am

Follow the logic, fn.
“If migration from calabria is so good, why not migration from timbuktu!”
“Because calabria is in the single market and timbuktu isn’t, and the single market includes labour, and you’ve been told all this before”
“They’ll be wanting to invade mali next, mark my words!!”

… which is to say, he’s drawing validation for a point he invented from another point he invented. When this is pointed out he’ll invent something again and draw vallidation from that. It never actually hits reality so it can never be falsified, and there’s no point engaging with it other than to point out the errors to the audience. And let’s be honest the errors aren’t interesting or revealing: rather than having the errors corrected, the audience would be better off if they’d never been exposed to the error in the first place.

126

J-D 08.10.18 at 9:06 am

Dipper

J-D “I don’t understand why you’re asking me this question”. I think we are done here. It is the Brexit debate in microcosm. Leavers explain their reasons which are usually to do with sovereignty and democracy, and pro-EU people just stare blankly like the Leavers been speaking in some foreign language. A complete failure to understand the concepts involved.

What makes you think I am a pro-EU person? I have no dog in that fight.

It is possible that I don’t understand your concepts: maybe I don’t, maybe I do, it’s hard to tell because I’m not sure which concepts you’re referring to. However, if it bothers you that I don’t understand your coneepts, the obvious solution is to explain them. (Even more obviously, if you don’t care whether I understand you, then the obvious strategy is not to respond to me at all.)

One thing I do understand, however, is the difference between a question and an explanation. You asked me a question. A question is not an explanation. When I remarked that I didn’t understand why you were asking me the question, I didn’t mean that I didn’t understand an explanation you had given, I meant that I did not understand your reason for asking the question. I asked you a question; you responded not by answering my question but by asking me a different question. I could not understand what relationship (if any) there was supposed to be between your question and my question, and I still can’t. Whether you choose to do anything about that is up to you.

127

J-D 08.10.18 at 9:12 am

Dipper

@ TM 110. An organization that makes a living from promoting the interests of organized labour finds that massively increasing the supply of organized labour is a good thing. Shock.

Are you in favour of increasing the level of unionisation or against it, and why? If there are good arguments in favour of increasing the level of unionisation, they don’t stop being good arguments just because they are taken up by unions, even though unions have an obvious self-interest in doing so.

128

nastywoman 08.10.18 at 9:20 am

@
Dippers: ”I haven’t even mentioned Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest”.

How sad – as my dream is – that the US one day will join the Eurovision Song Contest and by ”winning” it will become a member of the EU too –
(at least concerning all the EU ”goodies” – like a great social net – payable shelter and health care – free education and most important – loooong vacations)

And that’s what I always wanted to ask Dipper:

Aren’t you afraid if the Anglo-American Casino Vision will take over your Island entirely (again) – without the very ”social” and lesser ”capitalistic” minds of your friendly fellow Europeans – aren’t you afraid of ”The Total Jungle”?

129

casmilus 08.10.18 at 10:03 am

@112

“In an ideal world, yes, however the backlash against the referendum has been so strong that most people would see this as a transitional stage to overturning the referendum and getting back in the EU. There has been a massive loss of trust and polarization since the referendum making “sensible decisions” hard to implement.”

“In an ideal world, yes, we would spend a long time preparing an invasion in somewhere in Normandy, with overwhelming air support and prior destruction of the German supply chains and lots of counterintelligence and deception operations. However there has been a massive loss of trust and polarization since Dunkirk making “sensible decisions” hard to implement. So we’re going to charge ahead on to the beach at Dieppe and hope for the best.”

130

Neville Morley 08.10.18 at 10:09 am

The Roman Empire. The Third Reich. The Eurovision Song Contest.

One of these things is not like the others. How odd.

131

Dipper 08.10.18 at 12:50 pm

@casmilus 129

Well, you raised Dunkirk not me, but around the time of the fall of Dunkirk there was a considerable body of opinion in the UK that the UK should reach an “agreement” with Germany, a position which centred round <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1940_War_Cabinet_Crisis"Lord Halifax". Churchill was able to be a war leader committed to seeing the job through because he eliminated this view from British political life. If instead there was a faction constantly seeking to stop the fighting and reach an agreement with Germany even to the extent of conducting separate negotiations with Germany then the history of British involvement in the second world war and possibly the outcome may have been very different.

132

nastywoman 08.10.18 at 1:30 pm

@
”Well, you raised Dunkirk not me, but around the time of the fall of Dunkirk there was a considerable body of opinion in the UK that the UK should reach an “agreement” with Germany”,

Well – let’s say we live in a world now – in Europe were ”Dunkirk” or war remembrances are just a 70 – or is it longer? – faint memory old dudes like to discus on ”war-remembrance” blogs while in current and real life ”the people” discus the outcomes of ”Eurovision Song Contest” and why Australia -(and Israel – somebody forgot Israel) can peacefully join in – and isn’t that what I wrote? – In such a ”reality” somebody from Australia -(or Israel) or even from the US looks completely foolish if somehow – by some ”narrow-minded” or ”nationalistic” notion wants Australia -(or Israel) or even the the UK NOT to join in.

Which we now really need to discuss:
Where the Brexiters aware that by voting for leave they also voted for leaving the Eurovision Song Contest?

And if they weren’t aware – would an overwhelming amount of Brits have voted for stay – stay – STAY???!

133

nastywoman 08.10.18 at 4:11 pm

BUT I still believe that there are still enough ”good” Brits and Europeans who will protect the Dippers from –
themselves –
So –
now worry guys –
Everything will work out in the usual wonderful chaotic way!

134

PeteW 08.10.18 at 4:41 pm

@ Dipper 118

I know you are fire-fighting on multiple fronts but perhaps you could clarify.

You said, at 66: ““I would rather live in a tent and eat rats and have a vote that matters than live in a 4 bed detached and shop at M&S and have no vote, as my vote gives me the power to get out of the tent into a house, but without a vote there is nothing to stop someone taking my house away and forcing me to live in a tent.”

I pointed out that by voting for Brexit you had voluntarily given up your (and, incidentally, my) right to vote in the EU. My obvious implication being that for someone claiming he’d be prepared to starve rather than surrender voting rights, this seemed contradictory.

You responded: “The same could be said of Ireland withdrawing from the UK and foregoing the right to send representatives to Westminster.” And then something about German fiscal surpluses.

I don’t know what point you are making, or how it was a response. You then followed it up with: “Surely the point about universal rights is that they are universal, not path-dependent? Everyone has a history. Do some people’s history mean they have extra rights?”

Now I am all at sea. What are you talking about?

I took your original argument to mean that the EU was undemocratic and by leaving you were making the vote you still have (presumably in UK elections?) somehow more meaningful.
I was pointing out the fact you were curtailing your democratic representation by withdrawing from the EU.

Is that not correct?

135

casmilus 08.10.18 at 4:48 pm

@131

Yes, it’s quite well known that there was a pro-peace deal faction in 1940. Did you know that Churchill himself is recorded as saying he’d do a deal if he thought it was worth anything, but Hitler’s promises had been proven to be worthless? He was of course conscious of the failed attempt to co-exist with Napoleon in 1803. And he subsequently cut some other deals with Stalin when in a position of weakness.

However it is noticeable that you entirely swerve the point: you don’t win big battles with silly unsustainable gestures. As said before, it just demonstrates the gulf between characters like yourself and the Churchill generation you imagine yourself to be following after. We wouldn’t have lasted the Blitz with your sort in charge. There were plenty of Goves and Johnsons in 1940: they all patriotically got themselves out of danger and hard work, and that was a good thing, as they would only have been a bloody nuisance near anything important.

136

Ogden Wernstrom 08.10.18 at 5:04 pm

Dipper’s

The Roman Empire got a long way across North Africa and the Middle East, Nazi Germany was famously heading for India…

Yes, those who would colonize India are on a par with Nazis.

Dip raised the topic of India, but what sort of evil empire would colonize e.g. Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, UAE, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe? Is it time to start making hats that read, “Make Britain Great Again”?

But I try to avoid judging behaviours-of-long-ago by today’s standards-of-behaviour. Thus, for the purposes of this post, I didn’t mention colonizations that ended before the Nazi Party was a power, e.g. Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ireland, Iraq, New Zealand, North America, South Afrika. Oh, I just have.

Don’t get me started on Cymru.

137

TM 08.10.18 at 5:27 pm

The contempt Dipper expresses for organized labour is totally typical for the extreme right everywhere. Whether you listen to Brexiteers, American Republicans or the Swiss nativists (led by a billionaire) attacking minimum wages and union contracts – it’s the same hostility they show towards unionized workers as they have for uppity women, foreigners, minorities.

138

Jim Buck 08.10.18 at 9:17 pm

Fucking duds craving to fight with Dad’s Army! Get a fucking death!

139

Faustusnotes 08.11.18 at 12:38 am

A consistent problem of British conservatives like dipper is that they don’t actually think colonialism was wrong or bad. They know others think this but they don’t believe it. So then they make comparisons between voluntary associations like the EU and the Eurovision song contest, and the process of imperialism, because they think it’s a handy trap for left wing people, not understanding how ignorant and stupid it makes them look. And because the essential rightness of colonialism (by Britain of course, not by anyone else) is a fundamental tenet of their thinking, they simply cannot be convinced that the EU is not the same as the empire, or that their analogy is dumb. Let alone that it is tasteless and nasty. This is why their traitor friends in parliament like moggy and bojo have to be constantly dropping little colonialist nods and asides, to appeal to this sense of loss and nostalgia that these boneheads still hold. Which in turn reinforces their fictitious view of history. It’s motivated thinking all the way down.

140

J-D 08.11.18 at 10:42 am

Dipper

The Roman Empire got a long way across North Africa and the Middle East …

That’s true, it did. On what basis would you conclude that incorporation into the Roman Empire was a bad thing for the people to whom it happened? Attalus III of Pergamum, Ptolemy Apion of Cyrene, and Nicomedes IV of Bithynia all bequeathed their kingdoms to Rome, which suggests they didn’t consider it a bad fate.

141

ph 08.11.18 at 12:44 pm

The discussion has devolved to the level of insult. Comparing the British empire which lasted less than a century, to Nazi Germany, which lasted less than two decades, seems venal and silly. Rome’s expansionist tendencies varied according to opportunities and the strengths of neighboring peoples and Empires over a span of a thousand years.

As YV and others note, the EU has a very spotty record when it comes to ‘taking care’ of its member states. The expansionist ambitions of some EU officials and US politicians and VSPs on both sides of the aisle is also a matter of public record: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ukraine-tape/leaked-audio-reveals-embarrassing-u-s-exchange-on-ukraine-eu-idUSBREA1601G20140207

There are plenty of sound reasons for wanting to disengage from an expansionist, badly-run organization. The costs – short and/or long-term, cannot easily be reliably predicted. I’d prefer Britain remain in the EU, but I’m not clear how hurling slurs and invective at those who voted to leave is moving us any nearer understanding, or resolution. Surprise!

142

Neville Morley 08.11.18 at 4:10 pm

At the risk of appearing to agree with Dipper about anything at all, I feel a professional responsibility to respond to J-D’s query: incorporation into the Roman Empire could be beneficial for rulers and land-owning elites, exchanging some of their independence for the maintenance of their position in society and the possibility of sharing in the spoils of the imperial revenue-extraction machinery, but it’s not clear that it benefitted anyone else very much, and the Pax Romana was always maintained with the threat of extreme violence. Palestine is the most extreme example, but native populations all round the Mediterranean, with the partial exception of Egypt, suffered serious casualties and enslavement of population in the course of being ‘incorporated’.

143

Faustusnotes 08.11.18 at 11:46 pm

Unfortunately Neville dipper and his crew of traitors can’t take you up on your defence,since they believe the British Empire was good for its subject nations and that this is one of many things they “just aren’t allowed to say” because of “political correctness gone mad”. Which makes dippers comparison of the EU with the British Empire even more laughable.

To read the trump-fluffers on here, you’d think the EU was violently incorporating its neighbours. What will it mean for dippers argument when he has to admit that the UK joined voluntarily, was able to leave voluntarily, and has been shown to be much better off inside?

It will mean that dipper, like his heroes, is a traitor and an economic wrecker.

144

J-D 08.12.18 at 1:32 am

Neville Morley

At the risk of appearing to agree with Dipper about anything at all, I feel a professional responsibility to respond to J-D’s query …

For which I am grateful; however it works with other people, the reason I ask questions is because I’m interested in the answers.

It seems to me your answer divides into two parts.

1. Territories which were incorporated into the Roman Empire were incorporated by violence, and this was a bad thing for the people of those territories. I don’t question that. Presumably the testamentary bequests of Attalus III, Ptolemy Apion, and Nicomedes IV reflected a desire to avoid that violence, but at least in two of those cases it doesn’t seem to have worked. Lots of Anatolians, Armenians, Britons, Carthaginians, Dacians, Egyptians, Gauls, Greeks, Iberians, Illyrians, Jews, Macedonians, Numidians, Syrians, Thracians, and so on were killed during Roman wars of conquest, and lots more, as you rightly point out, enslaved, and this carries heavy weight in assessing whether incorporation into the Roman Empire was a bad thing.

2. Once incorporated into the Roman Empire, territories were kept in the Empire by the threat of extreme violence. I find that a little harder to be sure about. I know about the Jewish revolts, and the extreme violence with which they were suppressed, but were there similar revolts by other conquered peoples? and, if there weren’t, to what extent was it the threat of Roman violence that discouraged them? You may be right, but I’d be interested in more details.

However, what this highlights as relevant to the original topic of discussion is that incorporation into the European Union has not been brought about by wars of conquest with many people killed and many more sold into slavery, and also that members of the European Union are not kept in the Union by threats of similarly extreme violence; so the example of the Roman Empire is, in this context, not an analogy but a disanalogy.

145

Dipper 08.12.18 at 6:41 am

@Collin Street 125 ”Because calabria is in the single market and timbuktu isn’t, and the single market includes labour“ ah. So it’s a “rules is rules” argument, we aren’t discussing whether the rules actually deliver benefits. EU = single market. No arguments, no discussion, just take it or leave it. Yes. We got that. Over and over again, over several decades, we were repeatedly told that. We voted to leave.

@J-D 127 ”Are you in favour of increasing the level of unionisation or against ii“ well it depends. I don’t think this is just unions = good, no unions = bad.

@nastywoman 128 no.

@PeteW 134. The issue of whether the EU is “democratic” is a bit of a red herring. Nations enter into and withdraw from unions all the time. The EU did not come into existence to solve British problems and make the UK a better place, and it isn’t trying to do that. So I’d rather be out.

@ casmilus 135 well you have a point about the low quality of politicians leading the “out” side of the argument (you missed Corbyn off your list but he doesn’t bring the average up). The only thing they have in their favour is they are better than those on the pro EU side.

@ Ogden Wernstrom 136 Collin Street said (102) ”He already knows the single market has limited geographical extent” and I was just pointing out that the EU is expansionist and there is a history of expansionist European movements.

@ TM 137 ”The contempt Dipper expresses for organized labour … “ I haven’t expressed any contempt for organized Labour. I just regards self-promotional “research” from any organization as sales literature that should go straight in the bin.

@ Faustusnotes 139 ”A consistent problem of British conservatives like dipper is that they don’t actually think colonialism was wrong or bad“ @ J-D 140 ”On what basis would you conclude that incorporation into the Roman Empire was a bad thing for the people to whom it happened?“ . I was just saying that supra-national organisations and bodies all have expansionist tendencies, and expand until other factors stop them. I didn’t comment on whether they were “good” or “bad”. I cannot think of any example from history of such a body deciding it had gone far enough and stopping of its own free will. And I presented evidence for that as has ph@141.

@ faustusnotes 143 – you are well and truly losing the plot here. Please can you provide a source for your statement?

On single market and wages the truck driving industry is one which shows the corrosive effect it can have. Polly notes it here and a truck driver describes it here but in brief additional costs due to having to go on courses and reductions in wages due to bringing in lots of Eastern Europeans at poverty wages means very few Brits going into this; cue lots of businesses now saying that unless they can bring in drivers from the EU at €1.20 per hour they will not be able to recruit drivers. Well, not at those rates …

146

J-D 08.12.18 at 7:37 am

Dipper

@J-D 127 ”Are you in favour of increasing the level of unionisation or against ii“ well it depends. I don’t think this is just unions = good, no unions = bad.

Considering the question in the abstract, that’s a fair answer. I wouldn’t say myself, in the abstract, that increasing the level of unionisation would be a good thing in every possible circumstances. So I think I probably framed my question badly, which is obviously my fault and not yours.

The point I should have emphasised is this: it’s true that the Swiss unions are offering a line of argument which coincides with their own interests, and it’s appropriate and relevant to point this out; but the fact that they’re arguing a line which coincides with their own interests does not demonstrate that the argument is faulty, so do you have any other reason to think it faulty?

I was just saying that supra-national organisations and bodies all have expansionist tendencies, and expand until other factors stop them.

The EU has expanded by accepting applications for membership from countries that choose to make them, so in this case a key ‘other factor’ which would stop further expansion would be the absence of additional countries choosing to apply for membership; if the EU’s expansion stops at the point where there’s nobody else who wants to be a member, what’s wrong with that, and what relevance does expansion to include countries that want to be members have to any evaluation of the EU?

147

PeteW 08.12.18 at 7:42 am

Dipper

‘The issue of whether the EU is “democratic” is a bit of a red herring.’

Then why did you raise it?

‘The EU did not come into existence to solve British problems …’

It came into existence to solve European problems, which affect us directly and strongly. The UK’s recognition of this was why it wanted to join for so long.

‘… and make the UK a better place, and it isn’t trying to do that.’

Obviously untrue. Making the whole of Europe, including the UK, ‘a better place’ is surely its essential purpose. You can try to argue that it hasn’t done that, if you like, but you can’t argue that ‘it isn’t trying to do that’.

148

PeteW 08.12.18 at 7:57 am

Dipper

“On single market and wages the truck driving industry is one which shows the corrosive effect it can have. Polly notes it here and a truck driver describes it here but in brief additional costs due to having to go on courses and reductions in wages due to bringing in lots of Eastern Europeans at poverty wages means very few Brits going into this; cue lots of businesses now saying that unless they can bring in drivers from the EU at €1.20 per hour they will not be able to recruit drivers. Well, not at those rates …”

This is funny. Quoting 2-yr-old newspaper articles from Polly Toynbee and an anonymous trucker who ‘lives in the tropics’ for most of the year and actually seems to like his job and the improvements proper regulation have brought is not exactly what I would call evidence for you argument.

BTW here’s a more recent story: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-5168497/Why-lorry-drivers-getting-paid-20-more.html

149

Dipper 08.12.18 at 8:36 am

… and all those wittering on about how the EU is democratic, would you be happy to have the right to wear a burqa in public in the UK decided by a vote in the European Parliament? Or do you think that is a matter for the UK and agree with Boris Johnson that individuals should be free to wear it? I’m guessing that the European Parliament would probably vote for a ban.

150

J-D 08.12.18 at 9:01 am

Dipper

If you asked me whether a decision about banning public wearing of the burqa should be made by the New South Wales Parliament or by the Commonwealth Parliament, I think my answer would be that neither of them should impose such a ban. So I think my answer to your question has to be the same.

151

Neville Morley 08.12.18 at 9:14 am

@J-D #144: resisting the temptation to plug my own book on the subject… The Jewish revolts are the most spectacular and sustained examples of resistance to Roman rule – which has a lot to do with local circumstances – but there are plenty of other examples, from the willingness of many Italians to switch sides to Hannibal and other opponents of Rome to the couple of centuries it took the Romans to pacify Spain to the Boudiccan revolt in Britain, and that’s not to mention innumerable smaller-scale actions against slaves, peasants and bandits – where there’s evidence that the Romans claim they’re dealing with slaves or criminals as a way of not admitting that it’s actually more widespread resistance. Of course there isn’t constant military suppression and control, and most people were probably fairly indifferent most of the time as to whether they’re being ruled by Ptolemies or Romans or whatever, but if there *was* trouble the Romans generally made an example of those responsible.

But of course I agree with you that this is completely irrelevant to the point Dipper wanted to make; the EU is nothing like an empire. As for his latest historical claim, that he “cannot think of any example from history of such a body deciding it had gone far enough and stopping of its own free will”, well, how about Rome? Augustus proposed to his successor Tiberius that the empire should expand no further, but the clearest example was Hadrian’s decision to withdraw from various newly-established provinces in areas conquered by his predecessor Trajan…

152

Collin Street 08.12.18 at 11:46 am

People, you need to read the following.
… and all those wittering on about how the EU is democratic, would you be happy to have the right to wear a burqa in public in the UK decided by a vote in the European Parliament?

Note carefully the structure: the second half is meant to be a response to and thus responsive to the first half. “voting outcomes in the EU parliament” — not process, explicitly outcomes — are of relevance to determining whether the EU should be called democratic. Or, in other words, if a body comes to a decision you disagree with, that’s evidence that the decision was undemocratic.

This is what — how — Dipper thinks. “Democracy” means “coming to the decisions I like”. The demos doing the krating is Dipper, as far as Dipper’s concerned, and he thinks you think the same about you.

[greek scholars… is the krat in democrat the same krat as in pankraton? the thought just struck me, and I need to ponder it more]

153

Dipper 08.12.18 at 4:33 pm

@Neville Morley 151 “the EU is nothing like an empire”

It is a German empire. That’s the whole point of it. Germany invaded France three times in seventy years, the last two times causing mass death and destruction across Europe. The EU is a means of enabling Germany to sit at the centre of an empire without having to kill millions of people to get it, and also to put a suitable governance round it to make German dominance acceptable to the rest of Europe. If it wasn’t a German empire, then the German fiscal surplus would be the property of the EU, but the German fiscal surplus is Germany’s alone, hence the fiscal imbalances effectively ends up with Germany owning various nations such as Greece.

Collin Street @152 – Australia being part of China and having a vote in Chinese presidential elections would be democratic. I suspect you wouldn’t feel Australians had democratic control over Australia under those circumstances.

154

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 8:21 pm

@153
”It is a German empire”.

Oh –
absolutely –
Baron von Clownstick has taken over ”Urp” and even without having to make millions of people read Kant to get it, and also to put suitable Lederhosen round it to make Yodel dominance acceptable to the rest of Europe. If it wasn’t a Yodel empire, then the Eurovisions surplus would be the property of the Queen, but the Queens emotional surplus is Meghans’s alone -(and she is German too!) – hence the imbalances effectively ends up with owning various nations such as… US!

155

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 9:00 pm

And about @153 and ”France” – and that they got invaded by the Germans three times in seventy years – that’s why I – as an American -(or sometimes when I feel ”German”) – now want to ”invade” Bath -(and the ”Circus”) – as Bath -(and especially London) has such a lot of good restaurants which even cook better than in France – and as Baron von Clownstick said:
”France isn’t France anymore” –
who in the world wants to (still) invade France?
-(and especially in summer)
In summer Germans mainly ”invade” Spain and Italy and ”Greece” actually is now owned by Hollywood – or the Mamma Mia Crew – even if they shot their invasion in Croatia – and that’s where a lot of (naked) Germans are too – as they currently have invaded Croatia to the utmost degree – but don’t worry Dipper – they will go back to their Heimatland after their vacation – unlike a lot of your fellow Brits who have invaded Torremolinos for good…

Meaning – if the EU is owned by them Germans – but WE -(me and Dipper) still got Bath -(and the Circus) – what’s to worry?

156

J-D 08.12.18 at 9:43 pm

Collin Street

[greek scholars… is the krat in democrat the same krat as in pankraton? the thought just struck me, and I need to ponder it more]

I am not a Greek scholar, but the answer to your question is ‘Yes’: κράτος (kratos) meant strength; the pankration was so called because all (pan) uses of physical strength were permitted (although in fact biting and eye-gouging were banned); democracy was so called because state strength (power) was exercised by the people (demos). (Kratos was also personified by Hesiod in his Theogony and appears as a character in the Aeschylean play Prometheus Bound.)

157

Faustusnotes 08.13.18 at 1:04 am

Please tone it down a bit, as requested earlier – JQ

158

floopmeister 08.13.18 at 1:38 am

It is a German empire.

Remind me again of the Royal family’s true surname – before they changed it to ‘Windsor’? God Save Our German Queen!

I haven’t even mentioned Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Which happens because Eurovision is absurdly popular as a camp ‘night in’ here in Australia – but who knew that this was all a cover for EU-hegemony?

Shocking!

Don’t worry, Australia is fighting back for cultural freedom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaryz7zgK78

Damn, but this has been the funniest CT thread for some time.

159

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 4:11 am

@
”Damn, but this has been the funniest CT thread for some time”.

And we haven’t even mentioned the French -(or the Polish) Invasion of Great Britain yet.
According to some rumors there are whole areas of the British Capital where the French -(and not the Germans) have taken over entirely.
And those Invaders not only in the first place ruined authentic English Pub Food with their foreign sauces and French Fries – no – they also have started to marry British Girls – and I attended such a wedding to a British Indian Gentleman.

This is then end of Great Britain – Dipper.

This is the end – and when London has become Warsaw – we have to blame the Germans – as they have invaded Poland too!

160

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 4:22 am

– and seriously –
YES!!! –
Dipper –
THE WORLD -(and not only Germany or the EU alone) has ”invaded” Great Britain – and has the new hegemony over your little Island –
and that’s a really GREAT and very admirable thingy –
especially with London as the utmost ”European City”!

161

J-D 08.13.18 at 8:54 am

Dipper

It is a German empire.

It would be a strange kind of empire where all the subject territories asked to be incorporated in it. That’s not how the Belgians, the French, the Poles, and the Serbians reacted on previous occasions when Germany tried to subjugate them.

If it wasn’t a German empire, then the German fiscal surplus would be the property of the EU, but the German fiscal surplus is Germany’s alone, …

And how is that different from the way the fiscal surpluses of other EU members are treated?

Australia being part of China and having a vote in Chinese presidential elections would be democratic …

No, it wouldn’t be, not the way those elections are conducted.

162

casmilus 08.13.18 at 8:55 am

One benefit of Brexit is there will no longer be any British MEPs. There will no longer be a platform for tenth-rate troublemakers and spivs like Farage and Hannan and the creepier kippers who aren’t household names even in their own territories. They’ll have to get jobs instead.

I think that’s worth *somebody* sleeping in a tent for – I’m very happy Dipper has volunteered.

163

Dipper 08.13.18 at 10:38 am

@nastywoman 155

Even by your standards that is a spectacularly dim comment. When Germany invaded the Netherlands in WWII it sent 100,000 jews to be murdered in extermination camps and made the remaining population endure starvation in one of the hardest winters on record. Such events leave people traumatised for life. The setting up of the EU is a direct response to that trauma.

As for the EU delivering prosperity, I’ll just note in passing that the UK, still beset by the aftershocks of the GFC, undergoing the prolonged uncertainty of Brexit, facing significant political promises, achieved 0.4% growth in Q2, and the EU managed 0.3%. Seriously, WTF? What is the EU’s excuse?

@ floopmeister 157 “Remind me again of the Royal family’s true surname” is this a point? Are you telling me something I didn’t know?

“Eurovision … a cover for EU-hegemony?” it was a humorous comment. Congratulations on not realising that.

“this has been the funniest CT thread for some time” and thank you for your (presumed unintentional) contribution.

164

nastywoman 08.13.18 at 2:01 pm

@163
”Even by your standards that is a spectacularly dim comment”.

Which one? – as I try to make them as ”dim” as possible – but as you always seem to try to return ”dim jokes” with such serious comments as ”when Germany invaded the Netherlands in WWII it sent 100,000 jews to be murdered in extermination camps”.

Now what does that really has to do with me joking that ”France isn’t France Anymore” and especially that ”Germany isn’t Germany Anymore” –
(especially NOT the Germany of WW2) –
And instead – as even FF von Clownstick has noticed – Germany has turned into this wimpy country where all these peace-loving socialists welcomed all of these ”Muslims” from all over the world which (already) turned Germany just into another (Arab) or ”Turkish Province”?

And if that is true it’s the Muslims -(or the Turks) – who by invading Germany – have taken over the EU –

Right?

And that’s NO joke man – as the crazy Brexiters I know – told me!

165

floopmeister 08.14.18 at 12:07 am

“Remind me again of the Royal family’s true surname” is this a point? Are you telling me something I didn’t know?

Well, I don’t know… given that you describe the EU as a ‘German Empire’ I wouldn’t presume to make any judgements about what you do or do not know about European history.

Always better to err on the side of caution, no?

:)

166

faustusnotes 08.14.18 at 5:44 am

Dipper, you must be aware that there is a law in the UK requiring payment of minimum wage. If trucking companies are paying below minimum wage this isn’t because of supply and demand somehow forcing them to do so. They’re paying below minimum wage because they choose to break the law in order to reduce their costs. Why do you think that when the Europeans go home they’re going to suddenly decide to follow the law?

Supply and demand doesn’t force employers to pay low wages. They choose to.

(Also, your information on truckers is so obviously wrong – do you ever at any time stop to check the stuff you put here, or does it not matter to you at all whether your opinions match reality in any way?)

167

Dipper 08.14.18 at 9:25 pm

@faustusnotes 166

“Supply and demand doesn’t force employers to pay low wages. They choose to.” So how come unfilled vacancies are at a record level? Clearly they don’t have a free choice on wages

“Also, your information on truckers is so obviously wrong – do you ever at any time stop to check the stuff you put here” I gave you references, but here are somemore

I do my research. I check my stuff. I give you references. You just give anecdote and insults. You have no critical faculties. You do not seem to understand simple quantitative relationships. You have no concept of logical consequences. But on the plus side, you are entertaining.

168

chris s 08.14.18 at 9:26 pm

“As for the EU delivering prosperity, I’ll just note in passing that the UK, still beset by the aftershocks of the GFC, undergoing the prolonged uncertainty of Brexit, facing significant political promises, achieved 0.4% growth in Q2, and the EU managed 0.3%. Seriously, WTF? What is the EU’s excuse?”

Comparing quarter by quarter growth between regions is not a great game, especially when the differences are so small and measurement techniques vary somewhat, and its prone to variation due to seasonal trends and deferred spending effects. Look at trend growth over the long term and suddenly the picture doesn’t look so healthy.

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