Posts Tagged ‘BREXIT’

Time to say goodbye …

March 29, 2017

The EU will try and make the exit as painful as possible to dissuade others but the reality is that the EU needs to figure out a “retention policy” for members.

That can only start by first abolishing the European Parliament and second decimating the European Commission.

Telegraph cartoon


 

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Fake economics at the Bank of England

January 6, 2017

Not just fake news. There is also quite a lot of fake science around and there always has been fake economics. Ancient alchemists had more rigour and integrity than many economists today. What characterises fake science and fake economics is that they start with a “politically correct” result and then “generate” the science (by cherry picking, ignoring inconvenient data and even fakery) as proof.

I have long thought that economics is  a “black art” and if anything a social study and a long way from being a science. Much of the status economics enjoys as a discipline is due to the existence of a Nobel prize (which was not wanted or instituted by Alfred Nobel himself). It was something dreamed up by the Swedish Central Bank to elevate the status of their own charlatans. Economists are usually very good at making hindcasts and developing theories about what has just happened but are remarkably useless in making forecasts. There is no economic theory that does not contain a large measure of political or religious advocacy.

The Bank of England economists who made dire predictions about the consequences of Brexit are now desperately trying to justify why they made such utter fools of themselves. But it has been the same with IMF and World Bank, EU and UN economists. Excellent at hindcasts and useless at forecasts.

The Telegraph: 

The Bank of England has admitted its dire warnings of a downturn in the wake of the Brexit vote were a “Michael Fish” moment and said that the economics profession was now in “crisis”.

Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, said there was a “disconnect” between political warnings about Brexit and the “remarkably placid” state of the markets, adding that the worst predictions may turn out to be “just scare stories”.

He made the concession as new figures suggested Britain was the fastest growing of all advanced economies last year after the services sector defied gloomy forecasts to hit a 17-month high. 

The FTSE 100, the index of Britain’s biggest companies, closed on a record high for the sixth time in a row on Thursday – the longest run for 20 years.

At an event at the Institute for Government in London, Mr Haldane said that criticism of economists was a “fair cop” after they failed to predict the financial crisis and were wrong about the impact of the Brexit vote.

He compared their performance to Mr Fish’s infamous weather forecast in October 1987, in which he dismissed warnings that a hurricane was “on the way” but noted there could be high winds in Spain. 

Mr Haldane said: “Let’s go back to a different crisis, the crisis not in economic forecasting but weather forecasting. Michael Fish getting up: ‘Someone’s called me, there’s no hurricane coming but it will be windy in Spain.’

“It is very similar to the sort of reports central banks issued pre-crisis, that there is no hurricane coming but it might be very windy in sub-prime.”

When it was put to him that the Bank of England had forecast a “hurricane” after the Brexit vote which had not materialised, Mr Haldane replied: “It’s true, and again fair cop.” …… He said: “Right now there is a very interesting disconnect between what we read in the papers about the degree of political and policy uncertainty, which by any historical metric is at high levels, and what we have seen from the economy and financial markets, which have actually been remarkably placid. That disconnect cannot last forever. There will need to be a reconciliation between the two … Maybe some of the scarier stories politically will be seen to be just that – scare stories. ”

Economists have claimed to be “experts” but have failed to be of real use more often than not:

Economics Has Failed America

There are “positive” questions in economics that have mathematical answers — things that simply must be true — and then there are “normative” questions that amount to value judgments on points of policy. In economics classes, we teach the former and usually stop short when faced with the latter. This leaves a hole in any discussion of economic policy; students acquire first principles but rarely consider real-world applications, because to do so would presuppose a social or political point of view.

In the case of free trade and globalization, this omission has been disastrous. All first-year students of economics learn the theory of comparative advantage and gains from trade. They see a mathematical proof showing that when two countries trade goods or services, the benefits to the winners outweigh the costs to the losers. They are assured, correctly, that this result allows everyone to be made better off — or at least no worse off — by trade.

Yet the redistribution required to generate this broad improvement in living standards is hardly addressed, or sometimes even mentioned.

I can’t quite remember what set me off then, but I posted this rant some 3 years ago:

Economists are – by and large – religious or political advocates

A recent article …. got me to wondering why “Economists” and “Economics” – in spite of their gross and sometimes spectacular failures – have the high status they do. I come to the conclusion that “Economists” are – by and large – just religious or political advocates and “Economics” is no more than a study of social behaviour. …..

The practice of the black-magic that is considered economics – for it is certainly no science in the Popper sense – gets much of its cloak of respectability from the fact that the Nobel Prize exists (more correctly the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel).  

The Nobel prize in Economics should never have been created. In fact Nobel never wanted one and he is probably spinning in his grave as prize winners, one after another, prove – at best – to be mere historians and – at worst – religious or political zealots.  The prize adds more stature to the discipline of economics than it deserves. Almost every economic theorist has developed wonderful hindcasts but few – if any – have produced theories which can consistently make correct forecasts. …..

The political advocacy which is inherent in the theses promoted by Nobel Economics laureates have led to spectacular failures. Milton Friedman and his rabid monetarism gave rise to many of the crises today, Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen bank with their concept and practice of microcredit have exacerbated the risks of the debt trap into which so many small farmers have fallen. Krugman’s politics are essentially of the left and usually encourage profligacy. His analyses are more destructive than constructive and he has fault to find with almost every other theorist cutting across all political boundaries. He himself has yet to advocate any consistently successful theories. Amartya Sen focuses on analysing the “economics of poverty” but has nothing real to offer for its alleviation beyond platitudes representing his own political values from his ivory tower.

The world’s economies lurch from one crisis to the next but rarely are the crises foreseen. The only constant that can be observed is that growth – when it happens – leads to the improvement of the human condition but no “economic theory” has been able to deliver sustained growth. Growth – when it happens – achieves more for poverty alleviation than any social welfare program. Real wealth creation achieves more in achieving full employment or achieving social equality than merely redistributing a static pot of wealth.

graphic from Study Blue

graphic from Study Blue


Brexit is still some way away – as a way opens to stop it

November 3, 2016

It was already clear in July that constitutionally, a non-binding referendum result needed an explicit parliamentary vote to trigger the formal Brexit process. The High Court in the UK agrees with that view – though the Supreme Court will still have to have its say.

Back in July, I posted:

Brexit is not going to happen any time soon.

If it happens at all.

It seems according to constitutional law experts that any government with any Prime Minister will need a vote in parliament to give authority to an Article 50 notification of intention to withdraw from the EU. Once triggered, withdrawal is inevitable and time-bound. But there is no majority in the current parliament for leaving. And it could be the best part of a year before such a vote in parliament can even be held. For any chance of such a vote being passed it will need a General Election fought on precisely such a question and that the party or parties in favour of an exit win such an election. But it is also possible that such a vote can not, in the reasonable future, be passed. ….

….. (It occurs to me that if Nicola Sturgeon wants to postpone, if not block, Brexit she should get the European Court of Justice to rule on whether or not a parliamentary vote is needed to give authority to a government to invoke Article 50. Even EU bureaucrats can not quibble with that).

Now the High Court confirms that opinion.

BBC:

Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the European Union, the High Court has ruled. This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – beginning formal discussions with the EU – on their own. Theresa May says the referendum – and existing ministerial powers – mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners called this unconstitutional. 

The government is expected to appeal.

Ministers were given the go-ahead for a further hearing to take place at the Supreme Court, which is expected to take place before the end of the year.

The prime minister has said she will activate Article 50, formally notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to leave, by the end of next March. This follows the UK’s decision to back Brexit in June’s referendum by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%. The EU’s other 27 members have said negotiations about the terms of the UK’s exit – due to last two years – cannot begin until Article 50 has been invoked.

Gina Miller, who brought the case, said outside the High Court that the government should make the “wise decision of not appealing”.

To what extent the referendum would compel UK MP’s to follow the referendum results remains to be seen. Probably the government will not be quite brave enough to hold a free vote among MP’s. Whether the EU will shoot itself in the foot (again) or actually take on much overdue and much needed reform is perhaps even more interesting.

I have a theory that while representative democracies used to, from time to time, throw up genuine leaders, the current trend of giving in to mass demonstrations and calling a referendum for any and all questions only allows space for sheep-like followers. The point in this case is whether a government is to be one of sheep or one of leaders?

Stop Brexit - image Market Watch

Stop Brexit – image Market Watch


 

Collateral advantages of Brexit for EU states

September 8, 2016

The Times reports (paywalled):

Former communist states are planning to exploit the fallout of Brexit with a “counter-revolution” designed to block migrant deals and assert the power of national governments over Brussels.

Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, an influential diplomatic European Union bloc known as the Visegrad Group, will lobby together at a summit next week to ensure that national governments are put back in the EU’s driving seat.

The summit will gather all EU leaders, excluding Theresa May, in Slovakia’s capital to forge a new vision of Europe. It is expected to expose the rift between newer member states ………

No doubt the UK will – in about 3 years – conclude a reasonable trade agreement with the EU and implement Brexit. No doubt also that EU citizens who have work to go to in the UK, will still be able to do so quite freely. But “benefit” tourism will become extremely difficult. The long term benefits for the UK will no doubt unfurl. I expect to see a revival of some old Commonwealth ties. New trade and labour movement agreements will be put in place. The UK could even gain a competitive edge over the remaining EU.

In the EU the dream for some of a Holy European Empire will receive a debilitating setback – thank goodness. But there will even be real benefit for all of the remaining members. For EU member states, the silver lining in the Brexit cloud will accrue only if the power of the EC and Brussels is sharply curtailed. If the EU Parliament (which – by any measure – is the most useless and wasteful institution in the world) happens to get abolished along the way, so much the better.

But one shouldn’t hope for too much.


 

Only a vote in parliament can trigger Article 50 say constitutional experts

June 27, 2016

Brexit is not going to happen any time soon.

If it happens at all.

It seems according to constitutional law experts that any government with any Prime Minister will need a vote in parliament to give authority to an Article 50 notification of intention to withdraw from the EU. Once triggered, withdrawal is inevitable and time-bound. But there is no majority in the current parliament for leaving. And it could be the best part of a year before such a vote in parliament can even be held. For any chance of such a vote being passed it will need a General Election fought on precisely such a question and that the party or parties in favour of an exit win such an election. But it is also possible that such a vote can not, in the reasonable future, be passed.

A new report from Nick Barber, a fellow at Trinity College, Oxford, Tom Hickman, a barrister at Blackstone Chambers and reader at University College, London, and Jeff King, a senior law lecturer at UC, write for the UK Constitutional Law Association:

In this post we argue that as a matter of domestic constitutional law, the Prime Minister is unable to issue a declaration under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – triggering our withdrawal from the European Union – without having been first authorised to do so by an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament.  Were he to attempt to do so before such a statute was passed, the declaration would be legally ineffective as a matter of domestic law and it would also fail to comply with the requirements of Article 50 itself.

There are a number of overlapping reasons for this. They range from the general to the specific. At the most general, our democracy is a parliamentary democracy, and it is Parliament, not the Government, that has the final say about the implications of the referendum, the timing of an Article 50 our membership of the Union, and the rights of British citizens that flow from that membership. More specifically, the terms and the object and purpose of the European Communities Act 1972 also support the correctness of the legal position set out above.

The authors argue that a Prime Minister and his government alone cannot trigger Article 50 without the explicit authority of a parliamentary vote. David Cameron’s resignation statement where he said it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU” does not specify the legal authority under which a Prime Minister alone could make the call:

The Prime Minster did not specify the legal authority under which he believed he or his successors might invoke Article 50, but the typical answer will be obvious to constitutional lawyers: it is the royal prerogative, a collection of executive powers held by the Crown since medieval times, that exist unsupported by statute. …… 

One of the earliest limits on the prerogative was that it could not be used to undermine statutes; where the two are in tension, statute beats prerogative.  In one of the seminal cases of the common law, The Case of Proclamations,(1610) 12 Co. Rep. 74 Sir Edward Coke declared:

“..the King by his proclamation… cannot change any part of the common law, or statute law, or the customs of the realm…”

A more recent statement of this principle can be found in the Fire Brigades Union Case[1995] 2 AC 513 in 1995, where Lord Browne-Wilkinson stated that:

“…it would be most surprising if, at the present day, prerogative powers could be validly exercised by the executive so as to frustrate the will of Parliament as expressed in a statute and, to an extent, to pre-empt the decision of Parliament whether or not to continue with the statutory scheme…”

…… The wider principle is that it is not open to Government to turn a statute into what is in substance a dead letter by exercise of the prerogative powers; and that it is not open to the Government to act in a way which cuts across the object and purpose of an existing statute. In our view the wider principle correctly states the law and is particularly apt here, as we are concerned with a constitutional statute upon which an extensive system of rights is founded.

They conclude

Our analysis leads to the possibility that the process of extraction from the EU could be a very long one indeed, potentially even taking many years to come about. Of course, the EU Member States have made clear that they will only negotiate once the Article 50 exit provisions have been triggered and are pressing the UK to pull the trigger “as soon as possible”. It is also clear that uncertainty is itself undesirable. But uncertainty needs to be weighed against other imperatives, such as the need to comply with the UK’s constitutional requirements and the need to ensure that Brexit is effected consistently with the national interest. A quick pull of the Article 50 trigger is unlikely to be feasible under the UK’s constitutional arrangements and may well not be desirable for any UK Government or Parliament, even one committed to eventual withdrawal from the EU.

Brexit is the most important decision that has faced the United Kingdom in a generation and it has massive constitutional and economic ramifications. In our constitution, Parliament gets to make this decision, not the Prime Minister.

Nick Barber, Fellow, Trinity College Oxford.

Tom Hickman, Reader, UCL and barrister at Blackstone Chambers

Jeff King, Senior Lecturer in Law, UCL

Citation: N. Barber, T. Hickman and J. King, ‘Pulling the Article 50 ‘Trigger’: Parliament’s Indispensable Role’, U.K. Const. L. Blog (27th Jun 2016) (available at https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/)

It seems to me that whether Brexit is initiated or not (and therefore happens or not) is entirely dependent upon a majority vote in parliament.

(It occurs to me that if Nicola Sturgeon wants to postpone, if not block, Brexit she should get the European Court of Justice to rule on whether or not a parliamentary vote is needed to give authority to a government to invoke Article 50. Even EU bureaucrats can not quibble with that).


 

Has Cameron’s resignation effectively annulled the referendum?

June 27, 2016

Interesting theory:

David Cameron’s decision to resign before enacting Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – which sets out how a country could leave the EU – may have some pretty shitty implications for whoever steps into his soiled size nines.

One person in the comments section of the Guardian put forward this very interesting hypothesis:

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.

How?

Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-manoeuvred and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over – Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.


 

Is Brexit already dead?

June 26, 2016

The Brexit referendum was advisory and non-binding. There is no absolute requirement for the government or parliament to follow the result. There may be a moral obligation but with the split 52/48 result it is not all that compelling. It could be argued that since David Cameron called the election, he is responsible for implementing whatever result it produced. He has said that he will not start the formal Brexit process (invoking Article 50) and it seems unlikely that he will cave in to pressure from the EU, either in verbal or written form, such that the EU can “deem” the process to have started. Certainly if he stays he has some obligation, but he has got out of that by announcing his coming resignation.

The same parliament but with just a new Prime Minister – and even one from the Brexit camp – will not have a parliamentary majority in favour of Brexit. (In fact I am not convinced now that a Brexiteer could even win a majority among the current Conservative MP’s). Without a parliamentary majority no necessary legislation will get passed. Moreover the Scottish parliament will withhold consent for any legislation which makes any change to how EU laws affect Scotland. Theoretically, the UK parliament could overrule a Scottish withholding of consent, but, without a parliamentary majority for Brexit, that  probably could never happen. So the new Prime Minister has little option but to call a General Election asking for a mandate. But first he has to lead a party which takes on Brexit in its manifesto. And that today is not possible for either the Conservative or the Labour party. I cannot see a Conservative Conference in October accepting to put a Brexit in its manifesto. The Labour party is in shambles and it was labour voters defecting to a UKIP immigration agenda which tipped the balance in the referendum. The Liberal Democrats will not have any anti-EU manifesto and UKIP will. Even supposing that UKIP win a number of seats, they will never have enough to form a government. The bare majority in the referendum comes from across party lines. But any government, now or after a general election, will follow party lines.

So, even after a General Election, there can be no government committed to a Brexit and willing to set it in motion.

The EU is suffering from “interesting times”. Perhaps the EU will actually be reformed along the way. But I am beginning to wonder – just two days after an advisory, non-binding referendum – whether there can be a Brexit at all without a government and a parliament committed to implementing a Brexit. Is Brexit already dead?

My preference for a reformed EU without a Brexit is not – at least on this Sunday evening – not looking as impossible as it was yesterday.

Running away from Brexit


 

 

The EU cannot expel the UK and any UK government will need parliament’s approval to invoke Article 50

June 26, 2016

The key question for the timing of a UK exit becomes “Can any UK government invoke Article 50 merely on the strength of an advisory referendum and without the express approval of parliament?” I think not. It may be that merely changing Prime Minister will not create a majority in parliament and then a General Election on the question of Brexit will be needed. Without a government willing to apply for withdrawal, Brexit does not begin.

The core founding members of the EU met yesterday and have issued demands that the UK leave the EU quickly. But the EU bureaucrats and the core founding countries seem terrified of a slow measured process of withdrawal. It is not difficult to see that they are expecting a domino effect and further countries holding referenda about EU membership. No matter what they do referenda in the Netherlands and France are just a matter of time.

But their strident calls yesterday for a quick withdrawal seem to be a knee-jerk reaction. David Cameron and his government cannot now invoke Article 50 (he could theoretically do that but after his resignation speech he would then have to emigrate). Suppose the UK, by October, gets a pro-Brexit Prime Minister. He would have a new cabinet and it is inconceivable that he could invoke Article 50 without first getting that action approved by the UK parliament. That approval will not be so easy. Assume that such approval is forthcoming. The timing of an invocation of Article 50 would then be at the discretion of that new government and that would surely not happen until all member countries had been sounded at the political level (rather than the elite bureaucrats of the EU), as to the conditions of the withdrawal.

The EU bureaucrats can talk as tough as they like, but they know very well that there are no provisions in the EU treaties to expel a member.

Extract from : Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU. Legal Working Paper Series No 10 / December 2009.

Unlike the Charter of the United Nations (UN), Article 6 of which expressly provides for the possibility of a UN Member being expelled for persistently infringing the principles of the Charter, there is no treaty provision at present for a Member State to be expelled from the EU or EMU. The closest that Community law comes to recognising a right of expulsion is Article 7(2) and (3) TEU, allowing the Council to temporarily suspend some of a Member State’s rights (including its voting rights in the Council) for a ‘serious and persistent breach by a Member State of the principles mentioned in Article 6(1)’ of the EU Treaty. This might be thought of as a preliminary step to the expulsion of a Member State, but it is not the same as its definitive expulsion.

In fact the EU cannot expel a member without effectively negating all its treaties:

A Member State’s expulsion from the EU or EMU would inevitably result in an amendment of the treaties, for which the unanimous consent of all Member States is necessary under Article 48 TEU. Given that a Member State’s expulsion would, by definition, be contrary to the presumed wish of that Member State to continue its membership of the EU, a right of expulsion would be inconceivable, since it would have to entail an unauthorised Treaty amendment, in breach of Article 48 TEU. Besides, it is likely that some Member States would object to the introduction of a right of expulsion in the treaties, coupled with an amendment of Article 48 TEU to make that possible, since this would expose them to the risk of being forced out at some future date. 

In practice I begin to think that a General Election will be needed before Article 50 can be invoked and where the incoming government will need to have been elected to implement a Brexit.


 

An independent Scotland could probably not join the EU until 2030

June 25, 2016

Scotland’s desire to remain a part of the EU is not so easily satisfied even if a new independence referendum is carried out rapidly. Three different timetables (which can partly be in parallel) have to mesh.

  1. Exit process for UK from EU
  2. Independence process for Scotland from the UK
  3.  Application and accession process for an independant Scotland into the EU.

Looking at these 3 timetables, I reckon the earliest an independent Scotland could enter the EU in its own right would be around 2030.

Brexit now sets in motion an exit process for the UK from the EU. The only deadline is that the process will be completed 2 years after the UK invokes Article 50. However it is up to the UK to invoke Article 50. So the start point is flexible and is solely in the control of the UK government of the day. Even if Cameron is replaced by another Prime Minister, it will be up to his new government and the UK parliament to decide when they are comfortable enough to start the ball rolling (because then the 2 year deadline will apply). There is no reason for the UK to give up too early its current time pressure advantage which will pass to the EU once Article 50 has been invoked. I see the earliest that a UK government is prepared for this will be around March 2017. That would give an exit being effective in March 2019.

March 2017 is probably the earliest a new referendum on the independence of Scotland could be held. Using the timetable put forward by the SNP for the 2014 referendum, it would then be March 2019 before Scotland was an independent nation. This may be a little too optimistic both for when the referendum could be held and for the time required for the legal measures necessary. Whether the UK parliament could be handling the bills necessary for exiting the EU simultaneously with passing the bills for Scotland’s exit from the UK is also doubtful. Nevertheless I assume a referendum could be held by March 2017.

To apply for EU membership, Scotland would need to have, and be able to show, a “stable” economy and stable, established institutions. With the best will in the world, this is going to require at least 3 years (and probably more) as an independent nation. Assume anyway that Scotland can submit an application for membership sometime around 2022/2023. The minimum time needed for accession of a new member has been the 3 years for Finland and Sweden. It is more usually of the order of 10 years with countries with weaker economies taking longer. It is not unreasonable to assume that a newly independent Scotland would need 7 years for accession.

Accession times to the European Union (pdf)

And that would take us to 2030 for an independent Scotland’s accession to the EU.


 

EU bureaucrats, but not the elected politicians, are in denial

June 24, 2016

Listening to the European bureaucrats reacting to Brexit today, it was very quickly obvious as to why euroscepticism has never been as high and as widespread in Europe as today. Every bureaucrat, who by definition is part of the EU gravy train, was angry and wanted the UK out as soon as possible. Not one, not Jean-Claude Juncker, not Martin Schulz, not Donald Tusk did not but want to punish the UK for the poll result. Juncker would not even address the question of euroscepticism within member countries. What he does not want to see, it seems, does not exist. He does not see that it is the form and manner of the EU itself which fuels the desire of many to leave.

3 monkeys

They are the non-elected, spoiled and pampered bureaucrats of Europe who have gotten used to the idea of issuing European Directives, for all EU members to follow and overruling any objections from national parliaments. The elected politicians from Germany and France were a little more circumspect in their statements. The arrogance and self-righteousness on display today was as clear a symptom of the European malaise as could be imagined. They had no conception of the contempt in which they are held by so many in Europe.

I have no doubt that the UK can manage without being a member of the inner circle of the EU. Of course the UK will need to negotiate a good trade agreement with the EU but there is no reason why this should not be possible – in spite of the EU bureaucrats. Angela Merkel indicated today that some form of EU association with the UK would not be unthinkable. The bureaucrats, of course, dislike this because it may give heretical ideas to the eurosceptics in other countries. It is a myth to think that trade with the US or China or Latin America is enhanced greatly by being a member of the EU. I have no doubt, for example and from my own experience, that the UK can do more business in Africa or in India from outside the EU. There are trading opportunities in a Brexit – but it will need some skill to seize them.

But the one thing that struck me today was that for the survival of the EU in some sustainable form, the EU bureaucrats need to be reigned in by their own politicians from the member countries. Here I mean by the politicians in their own governments and parliaments and not the utterly useless MEPs in the even more pointless European Parliament. The EU bureaucracy has become parasitical. The self-serving and blinkered behaviour of the bureaucrats keeps them completely out of touch with how deep euroscepticism actually runs. Their denial of reality is the single factor which is most likely to lead to the break-up of the EU.


 


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