Monthly News Review: June 2016. BREXIT SPECIAL
On the 23rd June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum that asked the citizens of the UK if they wanted to remain or leave the European Union. One might wonder why a country like the UK would even hold a referendum in the first place. Especially when considering that the UK is one of the largest economies and more influential members within the EU. It might have been more expected of a smaller country or one of the member countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain whose economies have suffered greatly as a consequence of EU membership.
It is the opinion of this observer that the reason the referendum came to be in the first place is the pressure the UKIP party brought to bear at the last general election. Nigel Farage who is the most famous member of UKIP, European Member Of Parliament and was the leader of UKIP at the time, found tremendous support for himself and UKIP amongst the UK population. The primary function of UKIP’s existence is to make the UK leave the EU. In response to this support for UKIP, David Cameron pledged that his Conservative party would guarantee an EU referendum if the Conservative party was voted into power at the general election in an attempt to lure away voters from the UKIP party. This strategy was successful as the Conservatives did win the general election with a clear majority and around 11 million votes which secured 331 seats in parliament. UKIP won short of 4 million votes but only secured a single seat in parliament. You might wonder how that is possible, well thats what you get in what’s called a first past the post system rather than proportional representation. So…if this theory is correct, in response to pressure from the UKIP party, the conservatives pledged to have an EU referendum to try and win over supporters from the UKIP party in an effort to win the general election which they duly did.
So the date was set for the referendum and there were official leave and remain campaigns, both of which would receive a fixed sum of official funding to support their campaigns. There were additional unofficial campaigns on both sides as well. The remain campaign or officially known as the Britain Stronger in Europe was headed up by Stuart Rose (former CEO and bigwig of major companies) and a nice little gang of pro business big cheese capitalists. The offical leave campaign kown as Vote Leave was chaired by a Labour MP Gisela Stewart and included in the board a mix of Conservative and Labour MP’s, some of them being very high profile like former London Mayor Boris Johnston and cabinet minister Michael Gove. There was another high profile leave campaign called Leave EU which was closely associated with Nigel Farage and the UKIP party. Both the Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn also campaigned to remain in the EU. It was quite curious to see Jeremy Corbyn campaigning to remain in the EU, especially when sharing a platform with Eton educated David Cameron as traditionally he had always been a supporter of leaving the EU, this is because anyone who takes the time to look at the EU will understand that this is a machine designed to favour and work for big business. Jeremy is a socialist and supporter of the people, and like any socialist knows all too well that what is good for big business is usually bad for the average person. The Labour Party however is full of capitalists in disguise as socialists and no doubt there was huge pressure on Jeremy to support the remain campaign. Also, consider this, if the Labour parties official position was to leave the EU the result of the referendum would have been near certain to leave before the campaigns had even begun with only half of the Conservative party supporting Remain. There are two other parties in parliament but with less significance, the Liberal Democrats and the SDP who both supported Remain.
Lets just have a look at the EU and what it means to be a member of it. Each country must pay a membership fee, the UK pays £20 billion a year to be a member. EU law supercedes all national law for all member states. So far the EU has written about 120,000 laws that are to be put on the statute books for each country, in the UK only about 20,000 of those laws have actually been installed meaning there are a further 100,000 laws yet to be written in. You could quite easily argue that to support membership of the EU at this point in time is futile as you don’t actually know what it means to be a member of it yet as you are unaware of the laws yet to be imposed upon you. EU law is proposed by the EU commision, a commision that is in effect a government. It has 28 members, one for each member state and one of them will be the president. Each commisioner must swear an allegiance to the EU over their home state. The president is voted into power by the European Council which is made up of the leaders of the member countries, the remaining 27 members of the commision are voted in by the Council of the European Union, the council is made up of government ministers from each member state. So in short, the European Commision, the most powerful body in the EU, is not voted for directly in any way by the members of the public. Unlike the European Parliament, whose members are directly elected by member states, and there are over 600 of them in total. However, the parliament members have no power to initiate legislation. Presumabley they just get to debate what is proposed by the commision, they can force the commision to resign if a motion of censure is passed, they also have to affirm the commision appointments before they can take place. There are certain rules that apply with no exception as a member state, for instance, each member state has no control over its immigration policy with respect to other member states. No state can limit the flow of people between itself and another member state. This is without exception and is one of the founding principles of EU membership. There are various treaties which govern industries like fishing and agriculture. Being part of the union gives you access to markets inside the union and protects members from competing goods outside the union as they may be subject to tariffs.
In all things in life there are winners and losers. So who have been the winners in the EU. Undoubtedly it has been the large multi nationals, there are three main reasons for this. The first is labour costs, although the remain supporters like to think how nice it is that one day they might work abroad, how realistic is this for most people? Besides this is something they could do even if they weren’t in the EU, just have to apply for a visa. It’s highly unlikely the EU lawmakers weren’t thinking of the average Joe’s dreams when they made the law, what they really had in mind was lowering the labour cost for corporations. This is why they insist on the free movement, it allows the poorest workers (who ask for the lowest wages) to travel to the richer countries and work there driving down the labour cost for businesses. This is good for the business owners and although perhaps lowers the cost of your goods, it’s unlikely. The extra profit margin is more likely to go in to the businesses bank account. On the down side however, the residents of the country who the poorer workers have moved to will see their working wage driven down, the poor country whose residents have decided to move en masse to another country will see a massive section of their workforce dissapear which is a serious issue for them and their ability to grow and develop. So yes, the cost of goods might come down, all be it unlikely, what’s absoloutely for certain is that your wages will be driven down if your working class and in one of the richer countries. One of the remain arguments is that the EU protects workers rights, and this is true. There is legislation that protects workers in a number of ways from time worked to health and saftey, but what good is this when your earn barely enough to survive. It’s the classic trick of offer with one hand, take away with another but they do all they can to highlight what they give you whilst keeping as quiet as possible about what they take away. In addition to the movement of workers, it also makes the movement of criminals amongst member states much easier, such as terrorists, peadophile gangs and people trafficking amongst others. Not much more needs to be said about that.
Another main aspect through which big business benefits from the EU is regulations. Regulations for this, regulations for that, it doesn’t really matter, what matters is there are rules within which the company has to operate, on the surface you might say well thats good, it makes sure they have to behave. The answer is no, as long as regulations dont hinder them or affect their profits significantly then that’s fine for them, however what the regulations will do is make life much more difficult for their smaller competitors and those who might enter the market. Its a lot easier for large corporations to adapt to regulations than it is for smaller companies. In effect, big corporations use regulation to destroy the competition and affirm their position as market dominators. No doubt once they have the markets wrapped up, then in due course the regulations can be loosened and there you go, profits just went up 20%. The EU is another vehicle through which big business gets to dominate international affairs rather than elected governments. If you are still in doubt about this then ask yourself why all the multi nationals and financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan who are the high priests of capitalism all support remaining in the EU and have heavily financed the remain campaigns. Apperantly Goldman Sachs employs 7 lobbyists dedicated soley to lobbying the EU commision and influencing which laws it creates. So in short, the workers in the EU will see their wages driven down, the costs of goods will rise as competition is driven out and the businesses are free to raise their prices. The big business owners and high fliers will get richer. This is offset by the dream that one day you might work or live abroad despite the fact that you have no significant earnings and no savings in which to do so.
Finally, the EU is one large trade zone. The point of most trade zones is to give advantage to those inside it and disadvantage to those outside. Those inside can usually trade internationally within the zone much easier than would have been with out the zone, in addition, those outside the zone would normally have to pay a tariff to trade with a member inside the zone. This makes the outsider less competitive by adding a cost to the product or service that the members of the zone don’t have to incur. This kind of practice is usually reffered to as protectionism. Protectionism is usually frowned upon by capitalists as it’s normally undertaken by national governments to protect their national industries. This in turn hinders International business who then can’t access protected markets and then the US might send the troops in. In the case of large trade zones like the EU they don’t mind so much it seems as they are now on the right side of protectionism. Again, this is clearly to the benefit of the large corporations who are free to move within the trade zone, where as the smaller more local companies who don’t have the same resources will suddenly find themselves competing with much larger organisations which otherwise they would never have had to compete with. As markets have fewer and fewer companies operating within them as a consequence of smaller companies getting bought out or failing, the remaining companies that are left are much larger, they then have much more freedom to raise their prices as they dominate the market place and have fewer competitors who may even collude in price fixing. It’s worth noting that even if your outside the trade zone you may not have to pay a tarrif and may even trade freely with those inside the zone.
If the markets are a fish tank, the free trade zone just makes the fish tank a lot bigger and along with it there are more big fish. Not only that, though regulation you get your fins clipped. All good and well if your a big fish with big fins, otherwise, prepare to be fish food.
Is this not borne out in reality rather than just being a neat theory? Have we not seen the number of companies in many markets reduce and the companies that remain are then much bigger? Has not the cost of living gone up in the last fifteen years dramatically? Isn’t it the case that for the lower and middle classes their salaries have either been reduced or barely risen with inflation at all? Is it not the case that in the same time period, the wealthy, that is those who are business and asset owners, have seen their wealth rise disproportionately to everybody else? Is it not the case that the divide between rich and poor is now larger than it has ever been? Many of the poorer countries of the EU are certainly no better off as a result of being in it. Some countries have even been targeted by international financial instituions who then, working in conjuction with the EU and the IMF have conspired to asset strip the nation so that their public services get sold off to private companies at cut prices, Greece being the obvious example. Portugal, Spain and Italy amongst others have all suffered austerity measures forced on them by the EU at great personal cost to millions of EU citizens. What about the TTIP trade treaty with the United States that is being negotiated in secret and will be unleashed upon the citizens without any consultation. It is expected that once this happens all public services will be forced by law to be made available to bidding from private companies. It is also expected that national governments will be liable to be sued by multi national corporations if the national government impacts of the profits of said company. Obviously there is more detail but these are some of the proposals that are understood to be part of the TTIP. If that doesn’t convince you whose interest the EU is working for then nothing will.
Four speeches from notable speakers at the Oxford University from two seperate debates on the EU…
So the campaigns got underway and the circus began. The populations of any given country could always be divided into many different groups defined by many different characteristics. However, what this referendum seemed to do was create a huge split in UK society. It wasn’t that it created divisions that didnt already exist, but rather it shone a light on divisions that were there but had always been papered over.
The remain supporters appeared to consist of two main groups. Virtually all of big businesses, their figure heads and political allies came out in support of remain. The other major group that supported the remain campaign were liberals, which largely constituted of those in their 30’s and younger, although not exclusively of course. We know why the business class was in favour, they know full well why they support the EU and what’s in it for them, but what about the liberals, what was their reason? It’s quite likely that if pressed you wouldn’t actually get a good reason. Many a word could be written about what has happened to the conciousness of large sections of western society, in particular those that would refer to themselves as liberals. They tend be the least informed of people yet also be the most emotionally unstable, reactionary and extremely confident in their limited knowledge. It seems as if the main reason for their support of the EU is that they beleive in togetherness and unity. This is perfectly acceptable and this observer aspires to these values also. However, what they have failed to do is actually pay any attention to the detail of what they support, their knowledge is superficial at best in most cases. If they had looked closer as to what was going on rather than be swayed by soundbytes and deceptions on the BBC and Sky news then they would realise that the very values they aspire too are in fact the complete opposite of what the EU is actually about.
For the leave supporters, most of the support came from the older generations. This could be because they have seen what the EU has become and they remember what it was supposed to be they voted to join in the 70’s. They have witnessed the betrayal by politicians to their respective national populations and they decided to vote leave. There was also support from the far right sections of the UK public, the appeal of leaving the EU and controlling our borders was naturally attractive to people with those beliefs. As a consequence of this, to try and manipulate the vote towards remain the media made every effort to brandish any one who supported the leave campaign as a racist. Of course they didn’t say those exact words but the insinuations were constantly there. This in turn was replicated in society whereby as a leave voter you would probably be a bit nervous about making that public knowledge, especially to the liberals who tend to aggressively verbaly assault anyone who doesn’t fall into line with their perspective. There would have been a significant number of people who identify the EU (correctly) as an oppressive machine that is the tool of the global elite, they too of course would have been leave voters. Perhaps one of the largest single groups of people who voted to leave would have been the working class. They would have seen first hand in their own lives how their wages, more than any other group have been driven down and how many jobs that may have been available to them before were now taken by foreigners. There are some communites in the UK that are now dominated by non white non English people. Imagine if you live in a street and over 20 years you see its culture change completely from English to one thats dominated by foreigners from a completely different culture. It doesn’t matter who you are, you would feel alienated and resentful in that siuation. Now these people may be accused of borderline racism and in no way is this an endorsement of racism, but just a request to empathise for a moment and try to understand them. Conversely, what about the people who have emigrated to the UK, they have come to escape poverty or even war and persecution, trying to find a better life for their family in most cases. Quite probably the UK government is directly or indirectly involved in whatever is happening in their homeland that they are trying to escape from. They are seeking a better life and do not deserve any abuse in any way. We find that we are all victims of the policies of our governments that put human being against human being for the benefit of the financial elites who dominate this world.
So the 23rd arrived and voting began. The voting booths closed and in the evening the first results started coming through, to every ones shock, the leave campaign had started rather well, it set the tone straight away for the rest of the night. By the morning it was confirmed that the leave campaign had won. Half the country was in disbelief and the other half of the country was in disbelief.
51.9% /17,410,742 People voted to leave.
48.1% / 16,141,241 People voted to remain.
The liberals were throwing tantrums like only liberals know how, the capitalists were scheming as to how to turn the vote around so the UK doesn’t actually leave and the leavers were just shocked. For once, a vote had gone against the establishment, for once, the system and its owners, despite all their advantages, puppets on the TV and game playing had actually lost. In the morning after the vote, one of the tv breakfast shows interviewed Nigel Farage who is unsurprsingly pleased, they then try to character assasinate Nigel over a pledge that he said was a mistake, but he never made that pledge, the official leave campaign made it. That didn’t matter to these news presenters who are clearly upset at the result, following this interview it was all over Facebook how Farage admitted he lied when that isn’t the case at all and the usual torrents of abuse were unjustly hurled at Farage by liberals crying over their keyboards. He never even made the promise that they are accusing him of back tracking on. In any case, the so called promise of £350 million a week to the NHS was really trying to indicate how much money would be available to spend on domestic issues if the UK left the EU. This dimwit presenter even has the gall to accuse Farage of propoganda when it is in fact her that is pushing the deceptions.
This next video is an interview with Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s spin doctor who was the architect of the lies of weapons of mass destruction that took the UK to war in Iraq. Clearly he either has no shame or hasn’t realised yet he is partly responsible for the deaths of over a million people. Here he is, still beleiving that there are people who actually care what he has to say, well clearly the BBC thinks his point of view is worth listening too but then the BBC, as fellow practioners of spin surely admires Alistair and his dark arts. After the remain campaigns defeat, it was inevitable that David Cameron would step down, this was just the icing on the cake for many people. Not only does the establishment get one in the neck for a change, David Cameron is knocked off his perch for good measure. With David Cameron sinking in political quicksand, the establishment has tried every way it can to chuck Jeremy Corbyn into the quicksand with Cameron. All the Blairite MP’s resigned from Jeremy Corbyns shadow cabinet in an attempt to pressure him to step down and the media came out in song and chorus as to why Corbyn should step down and how he isnt right for the job. There is just one small inconvenient snag, millions of people actually support Jeremy Corbyn, of course thats not the point to these people, democracy is irrelevant when its not heading in the direction that they think it ought to. Jeremy is now fighting a leadership election which he will probably win…again, if he gets the support from grass roots labour voters which he probably will. The establishment snakes will be forced to slither back into their dens to scheme another hatchet job for another day.
Of course, its a non binding referendum which means there is no law to actually force parliament to carry out Brexit so who knows what is actually going to happen now. If the government try to worm their way out of leaving or try to have another referendum there will be serious civil unrest most likely. The new Prime Minister Theresa May says “Brexit means Brexit” implying that there is no question, the UK will leave, but a politicians promise has all the characteristics of smoke. Is it conceivable that they will follow through with the referendum vote and leave the EU, potentially sparking the end of the EU. Especially so when other nations decide to have their own referendums. It might even become a serious crack in the wall for NATO. The establishment will surely attampt to derail this vote in their favour somehow someway, it might be another referendum, it might be A brexit light where the UK stays in but with some new deal dressed up as the same as leaving, perhaps there will be a terrible teror attack, false flag obviously, followed by another referendum where everyone gets scared and votes in, who knows? There is a way to go yet and the UK has to invoke article 50 which then gives the UK two years to exit the EU. The government haven’t invoked article 50 yet so let’s see what happens. At least some faith in democracy has been restored if only a small amount and if only for a short time.
Nigel Farage, possibly the most influential politician of the last fifty years in the UK, and he was never even voted into the UK Parliament. Whether you like him or not, thats quite something.