The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165570 Message #3986854
Posted By: Dave the Gnome
11-Apr-19 - 05:00 AM
Thread Name: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
Subject: RE: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
Posted by a Facebook friend
I wrote this post just before the referendum in June 2016, just before the referendum. It went sort-of viral, with over 5,000 shares and lots of 'likes'. I said I would re-post after a decent interval. I got some things wrong; for instance, I missed the Irish border question completely. For information really.
Brexit research 17th June 2016
I've been fairly quiet on the Brexit question for a few days. That's because I've been putting in some serious time running down the facts behind the hateful rhetoric that is being spewed by both sides (although principally by the 'leave' campaign). Those of you who know me well will know that I'm something of a data freak. I like facts, not opinion, especially verifiable, reliable facts. I've tried to look for credible sources, including official data from here and overseas, articles and books by established experts, independent research and properly audited and/or peer reviewed economic data. Posting all the data would take too long; even a list of references would mean that no-one would read this post, since the attention span of a butterfly seems standard these days. Instead, here are my conclusions.
1. The leave campaign exists primarily to serve the political ambitions of a small group of far-right politicians. Leaving Europe will, in their view, overturn our already far-right government and allow them to seize power, shifting the country towards a one-party state. This conclusion is based on the lack of evidence for any economic, social or national security benefit from leaving the EU.
2. The NHS will cease to exist in a very short space of time; all of the likely wielders of power in a post-Brexit country (Gove, Johnson, Duncan-Smith, Farage, Fox et al) are on record (repeatedly) as being strongly in favour of dismantling the NHS, selling it to private companies (many of which they have a financial interest in) and moving to a grossly inefficient and unfair insurance based model like the discredited pre-Obamacare US model.
3. If we leave the EU our economy is likely to go swiftly into recession, as there are no plans to replace our trade deals with the EU; just vague hopes that the EU will be nice to us. That's highly unlikely; if we leave, and it appears that we are doing well, the EU itself may break up completely. The big players are not going to let that happen. It's far more likely that they will make it as hard as possible, so they can say to any wavering nations 'see, look how awful it is if you leave'. Expect punitive and harsh trade barriers from day one. (If you want evidence of this, it's worth looking at what French and German politicians are saying). The Americans will not treat trade deals with the UK as a priority, as stated by President Obama and both the current candidates for the Presidency.We already trade with India and China, and there is no good reason why this trade would suddenly increase. In any case, most of the trade is imports.
4. Our economy is heavily dependent on the financial services sector. One of the main reasons for the growth and success of the City of London as a financial centre is the close links with other European centres like Paris and Frankfurt. Major players (including most of the big banks, insurance companies and hedge funds) are looking at shifting their operations elsewhere if the UK leaves the EU.
5. There will be little or no change in the rate of immigration. Free movement of EU nationals will stop, but this is a small part of immigration as a whole. There will be no effect on refugees from Syria, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, other than to shift our border from Calais (under an agreement with France) to Dover. This is likely to make it much easier for refugees to get here, and will probably swamp our already inadequate immigration appeals system. Why immigration is an issue is puzzling. All the credible and current research says that immigrants are net contributors to the economy (around £20 billion since 2006), are less likely than UK born people to use public services like the NHS and schools, are much less likely to claim benefits, commit crimes at a lower rate than UK citizens, do not take jobs away from UK citizens (there is strong evidence that they actually create jobs by starting and running businesses) and do not drive down wages (Wages are linked to government fiscal and economic policy, not immigration rates).
6. We will be governed by institutions that are less democratic than those in the EU. Our parliament currently has over 800 unelected lawmakers, and a cabinet that can include people who have never stood for election in their lives. The EU parliament is an entirely elected body, and is the only EU body that can pass and ratify legislation.
7. The so-called 'third sector' in this country (including most charities, housing associations and voluntary organisations) are heavily dependent on funding from EU sources such as regional development grants. The people who actually write the bids for such funding, and those who run such organisations, are speaking with pretty much the same voice. The current austerity measures have slashed their budgets to the bone, and EU funding is in many cases the only thing that is keeping them afloat. This will disappear, and the leave campaign has no plans at all for how this will be replaced. The most likely scenario (according to those who actually work in this sector) is that many organisations will simply disappear, and their services with them. It should be noted that Cameron's 'big society' idea meant that many services that were fully funded by the government now reside in the the third sector, following swingeing cuts in public services. The third sector is now doing stuff that is essential for the well being of many people, including children, old people, disabled people and the mentally and physically ill.
8. We currently have excellent security processes in place in conjunction with other EU governments. Most of these are not bilateral agreements between governments; they exist within frameworks and treaties negotiated through the EU itself. Upon exit, these fall, and will need to be replaced. There is no clear idea how this will be done from the leave campaign. The best we can hope for is a long interval with no such agreements until something can be cobbled together. The risk of terrorism and organised crime during this period is likely to increase, according to senior police officers in this country and elsewhere.
9. Scotland is likely to vote in favour of remaining in the EU, as there are clear benefits for doing so in terms of the economic support they receive. If that is the case, then there is a wholly legitimate reason for a second independence referendum, and the likelihood is that this time it will be won.
10. Universities benefit from EU funding, especially for research. This will disappear, and there are no plans for how this will be replaced.
I've fact checked all this as far as I can, including some fairly remote (but credible) sources. I've spoken directly to people involved, and to researchers and others who have expressed views. The overwhelming conclusion is that there is no good reason for leaving, other than ignorance, gullibility and bigotry, fanned by a right wing press drunk on the idea that they have the power to bring down governments. They have formed an unholy alliance of the far-right, the racists, the power hungry politicians either too extreme or incompetent to gain power by legitimate means, the ill-informed, the misinformed and those too idle to become informed. We are sleepwalking into a right-wing coup that will change our country forever. I'm appealing to those of my friends who are even contemplating a 'leave' vote, and to those who are not intending to vote. This is a last chance, and failing to preserve much of what makes us a country will be on your heads. Please think again. If anyone wants to de-friend me after this, I would understand, but I hope that the hard work I've put into this will make some people change their mind
A perfect summary as to what is happening. Well predicted, Tim :-)