- 15th Jul 2019
- Posted by: Marc Bandemer
- Category: In The Media
I was in a discussion at one of our local universities recently and found myself in a spontaneous political debate about the UK’s political ethics, with a few like-minded PhD Doctorates as also a Professor or two. The conversation waded into the murky Brexit river and the resulting opinions and common sense arguments which prevailed in this academic circle of financial masterminds, was almost unanimous.
What is the positive side of Brexit, we thought.? It was not a simple answer and the following was what was deduced, again, unanimously.
The positive side of Brexit is that you end the negative side of being in the European Union (EU).
So, what are the negatives of being in the European Union then.? Well, here a list of misperceived issues about being in the EU.
- Not paying ‘X’ Million in membership fees, but then again, those fees get you massively more in trade so it’s actually a tiny payment relative to the huge benefits. I will mention this again later in this article.
- Taking back control, the EU no longer controls our laws. I can never find anyone to give even a single meaningful example of this. It’s a confusion of the role of the European Court of Justice, which is to enforce trading standards across the trading block. We do have to adhere to those trading standards, of which most are derived from the British trading standards originally, but that is not the same as saying the EU controls our laws or that we are not sovereign. It is simply just not true.
- No more freedom of movement. Have you ever tried going to Germany, Netherlands or Poland to get a job ? You get 3 months and then you have to leave, plus you have to have health insurance, which is very expensive and not open to everyone. Britain could do the same, though it would need to alter its benefit laws and rules around NHS access for non-residents and apply the maximum of a 3 month Job seeking period.
- So, ending freedom of movement would be an advantage of Brexit, but it could be done by simply applying the 3 month rule that is already built into the ‘Freedom’ of movement system, and therefore there is actually no need to leave the EU to do this at all.
- Signing trade deals with other countries. This is such a big issue. We might get a trade deal with India. The problem is that the average Indian doesn’t really want to buy much from us. Their standard of living is way lower and they already buy cheap goods from elsewhere. They are certainly not going to rush to buy British products when such a trade deal is signed.
- However, they will want to sell to us, plus there will be some kind of ‘Freedom of Movement’ as part of the deal. Can you imagine competing against Indian manufacturers with their labour rates.? They have 11 year old children working 12 hour days and living with their parents in a 2 room apartment.
- A trade deal with counties with poorer populations is not necessarily a good thing. It will force our workers to compete by adopting similar working hours and practices. This is why the EU has protectionist orientated ‘Trade Deals’ with poorer countries. It has the muscle to force that kind of deal. The UK itself or on its own without the EU does not.
‘It’s better to form trade deals with countries who are on a similar economic level which is basically the EU block, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. There is nobody else. All the first world nations (as defined by the world bank) are in that previous list.’
- We could sign a trade deal with the US more quickly than the EU might, but we don’t have the muscle to make it as good a deal as us being part of the EU would get.
- A trade deal with the US is a possible advantage of Brexit, however people’s opinions are divided about this. The US Ambassador stated that a US trade deal would involve opening the NHS to US private health companies. Certainly not something the UK people voted for. The US will be looking to get the most out of the deal and we will be desperate to sign it.
On the ‘Cons’ of Brexit. I just don’t have the time to write about them all.
It’s not just a loss of trade with the EU, our other trade deals were all brokered by the EU and terminate when we leave, so we are looking at ending almost all international trade. This is devastating. Literally, devastating.
Consider that when we mention the EU, that we in the UK are part of those deal negotiation and have a major influence and impact on such negotiations and the UK has the power in representation matched only by Germany and France, both trading and political allies of the UK.
So why do the ‘Brexit Remainers’ concentrate so much on the financial side? Is that all that matters to them.? This is a great question, and a personal issue of mine. To me, the economic cost of Brexit pales into insignificance next to:
- the catastrophic loss of rights about to be inflicted by the UK on its own citizens, not to mention EU citizens who until now thought themselves welcome and valued.
- the potential to de-stabilise the EU and inflame and enable populist and neo-fascist movements within the EU and outside of it.
- the loss of stature and influence of the UK in global politics and influence, and the terrible inability of the Tory party to run domestic policies as well as Brexit itself.
- the fact that whatever the outcome, the British will never again be regarded as full Europeans. Maybe some never were, but I, being German by birth for one consider my European-ness a key part of my identity, and that’s just the cost side of the ledger.
So, some quick facts on some key EU benefits are:
- The EU is a unique project that has bound together 28 disparate countries with a long history of conflict and bloodshed into a peaceful, prosperous bloc that can compete as an equal with the US, China or Russia.
- The EU has set world standards for consumer rights, environmental protection and governance.
- The EU has a set of liberal, democratic values that very few individual nations outside the bloc can equal.
- The EU is democratically accountable, arguably more so than the British system of governance to its member countries, and the global community.
- The four freedoms, the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people, are the jewel in the crown of this union, and it is a source of great personal anguish to me that those seem to be the main drivers of Brexit itself.
The desire to introduce barriers to trade with our closest and most prosperous trading partners is pure lunacy. But the social, cultural and geo-political implications are far worse.
Then at a financial level the forecast really becomes gloomy.
The one issue no one is addressing is the fallout on inflation. The UK is currently in a 2 Trillion loan pit and to boot the Brexit result will reduce the income of the country significantly more, is common knowledge and is almost an ‘International Finance 101’ common sense fact. No financial rocket science there.
One of the closest relations to me who was originally a ‘remainer’ has somehow changed minds on Brexit and is now in favour of exiting. I can understand that common sense drives one to the obvious benefit of being an EU member but changing that in the light of then migrating over to the falsehood mentioned earlier in this article, and beginning to believe in the lies and misrepresentations of the original promises by the Cameron-Johnson Tory camp in 2015 leading up to the current status, is pure madness and lends to a cavalier mindset in which every scenario which is real and obvious, is simply dispelled and dismissed, indicating an obvious lack of knowledge or abandonment of common sense.
That like saying “Oh well I didn’t believe Enron or Steinhoff was a solid investment idea at first, but now that I see they have completely collapsed, I think I’ll invest some money into them.”
Another most important point was mentioned on a radio interview earlier today, of a few economists on BBC Radio 2, which plays constantly in our office, home and car. The one key issue which no one seems to be addressing or asking anyone is the inflation which both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson face, in their fiscal policy.
They have no answer as to where the money will come from for their promises and therefore how to address the inflation issue, resulting from either one of two ways to arrive at additional funds. By raising taxation or by lending. We all know neither will raise taxes so it will become a lending issue, which is the same as the government printing more money, however the public will be the ones fitting the bill for repayment. Why does this matter.?
Because the fluent source of EU money and trade will slow down and possibly dry up, if the UK government in waiting, whichever that is, continues to haggle and insult each other instead of actually dealing with the issues at hand, post Brexit and internal to the country. At least for the foreseeable 5 year future, as trade deals take approximately 5 to 10 years to agree to.
Then, whatever happened to the £365 million that the NHS would receive monthly, as was one of the key promotional misrepresentations of the Cameron-Johnson misdirection.? Where would all this money come from.?
“Well.!”, said a confident Brexiteer, “this will come from the 36 Billion which the country won’t have to pay the EU per annum for its membership.”
However, this is grossly short sighted as the EU rebate has not been considered in this statement either making the quantum incorrect, and in any event the 36 Billion pales into comparison to the 3.1 trillion the UK receives in revenue annually across all industry sectors including banking. It’s a simple economies of scale consideration.
At this point we are all holding our breath at the politicians making promises to the common man who only believes what their level of understanding allows and remain unaware of what the knock on effects are.
This leading to a single example is another interview on BBC Radio 2 which my wife and I were listening to en route to Wales recently, of the fisherman’s wife in Bristol, who was asked about Brexit and who replied that she voted to leave and that her husband would then be able to catch fish in British waters again once we left the EU.
The fact that he stood to lose his business, and his boat which they were still paying for, as also that the EU would no longer buy his fish through his distributors as they now had to comply with EU standards, and that Britain would not have an immediate policy in place to match that, was never mentioned to the woman, by anyone at any time of the 2016 vote.
But it is mentioned now, and after revisiting both her and millions of others like her, she has since changed her mind after being properly informed about the very real consequences of her original vote, which was based on false promises and impossible deliverables.
It is at this juncture that the British people deserve to vote on the terms and conditions of the exit deal, and also the younger generation too, who did not have a vote in 2016 yet but do now.
What is the UK government so afraid of about a second confirmation referendum.? Its double the democracy. Now that the terms are clear, and what the Brexit deal entails, and all its changes and effects to the country and its people, it makes most sense to ask the people if this is still what they want, being fully informed.
As far as UK parliament goes, there has been no meaningful law or change made in parliament in 1.5 years due to no one agreeing to anything and division being the order of the day.
The original vote to leave was based on misrepresentation and untruths. The British public were sold these in return for their votes to leave the EU. In a next vote the Tory’s won’t be so lucky.