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Independence on the table after Brexit - Plaid's Price
Wales has a third of the population of London and of course shares its entire land border with England. On top of voting for Brexit. Sure.
Conservative Party Conference speeches:
Edited by Wyldchyld on Oct 5th 2018 at 11:08:01 AM
A man can dream.
It will be interesting to see if the UK will survive Brexit, but I do hope at the very least that NI and Scotland don't break off and leave us alone with the English. That would be the worst kind of history repeating itself.
I'm rather against that sort of separation, too.
Speaking as an Englisher... I don't want to be left here with my fellow English. The whole vibe is... becoming nasty. Brutish.
Look at how meanness seems to be the default; communities don't really EXIST anymore - libraries are cripple, schools undercut. This has a knock on effect on the people either using them or reliant on them. It disrupts normal social interaction. And it creates a vibe of contempt, of chest thumping ugliness. Reading, intelligence, doing better aren't respected.
Instead it's the reality TV element of instant reward. I live in the south, just outside London and I don't see my neighbours exhibiting the best traits. They're reactionary, accept opinions from the red-tops as unchallenged fact and will blame everyone except themselves.
I sound like I'm blaming everyone. There are solid groups, kind people. But I just feel that the lowest element of emotion is the dominant one now - the one that taps into prejudice and the laziness of people. I am getting worried about what people will do when March rolls round next year.
I really liked Adam Price's thoughts on this matter (new Plaid Cymru leader, for those who missed it), which kind of touches on what Jerek said:
Edited by GoldenKaos on Oct 8th 2018 at 1:13:26 PM
I think that claiming that this is a problem contained to England is fooling oneself and likely to result in things getting worse due to a lack of self reflection.
Well, it's a British affliction really in this specific sense, which I would define as Britishness being Englishness imposed on (and used to bribe, tbh) the Celtic people that England rule over.
Oh I don't deny the Scots and Welsh their own bigotry - go to parts of the Highlands and talk with an English accent... they're still worshipping Rob Roy in parts. But I think, especially around the (ironically) not-immigrant-heavy areas of England, you see quite a vitriolic pushback against perceived invasions... and even against gentleness.
Heck, wales voted for Brexit, despite itself. I think narrow mindedness is across Britain, but I think the root is certainly a London centric Englishness. Particularly a weird "working class" Bulldog attitude that has nationalistic images above actual sensible conversation.
I've found it very hard to debate people or even work out what their end game is... beyond "it'll be alright" or "We're British [insert War comparison here] we'll survive!"
There are a lot of reasons to leave the EU - some of them good. There are good reasons for remaining in the EEC. But I haven't heard anything beyond rhetoric for Brexit, not in England at any rate.
There are good reasons? Can you give me one? I keep asking leave voters for them, but they always answer with misconceptions regarding the EU or outright racism.
There are plenty of reasons to criticize the EU and reform it. But reasons to outright leave it? That's trickier.
- Wanting to put as much space between Britain and the absolute fuckfest that is the Eurozone, the informal yet massively powerful Eurogroup, the ECB and everything connected with it as possible.
- Wanting to get out of the rule (Lisbon Treaty art. 126 or thereabouts, IIRC) that bans the Bank of England from financing government deficits so we can provide proper full employment for the British people without falling afoul of the pointless deficit limits, imposing capital controls to restrict the City of London in normal times without falling foul of Free Movement of Capital rules, prioritising union rights to collectively negotiate what they want over capital's freedom to establish itself (Laval/Viking Line ECJ decisions).
- Doing various things with the Common Agricultural Policy that I quite frankly don't understand properly and so won't talk about, wanting to get away from TTIP (although fat chance the Tories will stop THAT and it was probably going to fail anyway).
- Doing our own tariffs. Mostly pointless.
- Not being a big fan of the EU's permanent drive for "competitiveness" and "structural reform", which means wage and tax cuts in an effort to turn most of Europe into Big Germany (for want of a better phrase, not buying into all the 4th Reich nonsense but they are going for that kind of export-led growth model and leaving all the consumption economies in the dirt).
- Not wanting to have free movement of capital with a single market including at least three tax havens and partially headed by the guy who worked against efforts to deal with them.
Look, you might disagree that those are worthwhile reasons to actually leave, I'm not so sure myself, but I can see various situations where bailing on the whole creaking edifice wouldn't actually be such a bad idea. Sure, we could sit in there constantly vetoing everything, but the amount of reform needed to remove half this stuff from the Treaties would essentially mean ripping them up and starting again. Macron MIGHT be down for that, but I bet Merkel/her successor if and when there's a new Chancellor and the Eastern Europeans wouldn't given it was basically built from the ground up on the German ordoliberal model.
Edited by DeathorCake on Oct 8th 2018 at 2:50:52 PM
To be fair to TTIP, since Trump left it it has been amended and is now much less terrible than when Obama was advancing it.
Also, rumour has it (I don't have a firm source at hand so treat as rumour right now) that a number of these policies are because of the UK. If that's so, then leaving and rejoining once they are gone may be a viable policy proposal. This might also fix some of the issues about questionable privileges the UK enjoyed while EU member and which Wyldchyld discussed.
I think someone made a Youtube vid about how a lot of the things Leavers claimed were reasons to leave the EU were things the UK pushed in the first place.
I remember they claimed the threat of Turkish immigrants was a reason to leave the EU even though it was the UK who was pushing for Turkey to gain EU membership.
Edited by M84 on Oct 8th 2018 at 11:13:15 PM
That sounds like a mighty interesting video...
@Deathorcake: As somebody who has never been able to hold down a long-term job, who cannot participate normally in the job market, is therefore "not fully engaged with the economy", etc, etc, etc... (You can make jokes about failing the social contract right here if you want. I don't mind: heard 'em all.)
The whole "full employment" chimera is a fat lot of bollocks on toast.
Any society that has full employment is either 1) lying to itself, 2) redefining the whole concept of what employment is or should be, 3) is busy vastly underempolying a huge group of people and/or 4) is overemploying another, separate group of people.
Because the minute you have "full employment", you're buggered if you suddenly need to increase output in any given area... and don't have a pool of potential workers to employ — to cover the bases, work hours must increase, which impacts the quality of the work environment itself by sacrificing the workers on a whole host of "oughts" and telling their experience of "is" to go jump off a cliff. So production must falter, eventually — even if the workforce manages to cope in the short or medium term.
Having some slack in any system (including economic ones) isn't a weakness or a sign of inefficiency. It's healthy. See Ryanair: discovering that cutting to the bone in every area to "improve" efficiency and hiring "only" the minimum number of people at the core with no slack... ultimately bites back in the long term.
Bell-curves exist for a damned reason. Average, efficient, expected norms... aren't words that are as applicable to a large number of people as designers of systems like to think, because the bulk of any population doesn't actually exist in the median range, once you add the rest up and look. The median is the largest segment of similarly ranged people. That is all.
The rest won't be as able to do "normal" things in expected ways as planners hope — so you need the covering slack and the cushion of some churn in the unemployment-employment figures. Always.
Edited by Euodiachloris on Oct 8th 2018 at 4:44:39 PM
A couple were pushed by the UK government (which also got them opt-outs from the Working Time Directive and a few other bits of genuinely useful EU legislation, so the whole "EU keeps us from suddenly downgrading to US regulation standards" is a bit of a canard), a couple were them plus the "creditor nations" in the north during the crisis, some of it was way back when the EU was being designed and some of it has kind of ad hoc evolved since. Still, the fact that the Tories and New Labour made a good part of the mess does not preclude the rest of us from attempting to clear it up as best as possible.
If the referendum had never happened then I wouldn't have put "leave EU" on any leftie government to-do list, but we might as well grab the advantages where we see them.
4% of the population looking for, capable of and ready for work while not being able to find it is at least 1% over "healthy slack" even before you factor in the existing underemployment problem and the last remnants hysteresis in the participation rates from 2008. I'd expect the "maxed out" point to be less positive than it was during the post-war consensus, but not that high.
I was thinking Buffer Employment Ratio plus perhaps a small UBI, not the Soviet Union. Even if your demand management policy is so good it could have been drawn up by a Culture Mind you won't get unemployment below frictional levels without causing serious long-term damage or accelerating inflation as the private sector bids workers away from other bits of itself and/or the public sector.
A few of the economists I personally like have proposed fixing that with a buffer stock, AKA "government buys all labour that is offered to it for sale at a fixed price". When unemployment drops, government does not resist those workers leaving by raising wages, thus inflationary spiral averted unless the private sector is going terrifyingly gangbusters and needs a bucket of cold taxes thrown on it ASAP. Of course that has its own problems regarding administration and not turning it into makework or workfare, but drastic overworking is not typically one of them. Well, not any more than it normally is these days, anyway.
Right now the UK, US and EU are all using all four of your methods to justify the exact opposite policy, leaving millions out of work to prevent the slightest risk of inflation. China is a bit more honest and just blatantly lies about the statistics.
Edited by DeathorCake on Oct 8th 2018 at 4:42:27 PM
Mmmm...I am really not quite sure what the Brits issue with the Euro is. They don't participate in it after all, and not being in the EU will hardly limit the impact it failing would have on the UK...
I don't think that the deficit limits are pointless at all. And frankly, in my eyes the finance market should be more regulated. Since the last crisis the UK has done everything to block reforms in this regard, reforms which were supposed to prevent a second crash. From my perspective, every bit of regulation imposed on the city by the EU is a good thing, because the UK would just allow the bankers to do what they want.
TTIP is dead and I don't think that it has a chance to pass the EU. The UK on the other hand is now so desperate for a trade deal, they practically celebrated today because Japan kind of offered to the UK to maybe be part of it. So if you wanted to avoid it, leaving was actually the wrong move. As long as the UK was in the EU, there was a good reason to expect that the trade deal either wouldn't go through due to objections from various countries, or that it would be adjusted over time into something acceptable. But now nobody is stopping the Tories to just head first into it (frankly, a LOT questionable politics were pushed by the UK).
The tariff argument, well, yes, you can do that, but you can only control the tariffs you yourself set, you can't control the tariffs everyone else inflicts on you. Tariffs are actually a huge reason why it is so stupid and dangerous to leave.
The EU is neither promoting wage nor tax cuts. I just had the discussion elsewhere. It's the British Politician who keep pretending that Austerity means cuts. They German definition (yes, Germany is practicing Austerity, too, as do the Benelux states, France and the Scandinavian countries) simply boils down to "balance your damn budget so that your tax revenue isn't used to pay off interests and you are forced to borrow more money to even higher interests rates". And that can be done by raising taxes on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes, and above all, keeping your workforce educated and healthy. Again, you are blaming something which is actually a British politic above everything else on the EU.
And the three tax heavens are considerably less "heavenly" since the EU was created. To the great anger of especially Switzerland and Luxemburg. They are living on borrowed time. In any case, they won't vanish due to Brexit.
"The EU is neither promoting wage or tax cuts"? What the hell happened to that five-year period when all it was talking about was the need for the southern economies to gut pensions, benefits and public sector pay, do a superdeflation, "regain competitiveness" and run balanced budgets until 2060? Just last week I was reading articles showing Italy getting chewed out in public for proposing running a legal deficit and the ECB allowing them to get screwed by the bond markets. This does not do much to convince me that the EU is good for the people in it if this is how it behaves, even if it does not have those powers over the UK bond markets and thus cannot do it to us.
Tax cuts would actually have helped a bit, but you're right that they didn't do many of those. Meant to say "tax hikes and pension cuts".
There wouldn't be any need for austerity in Germany and the Benelux if they had kept their own currencies, although admittedly since those countries are big exporters and spending more domestically means their wages rise and the companies make less sales abroad cutting makes more sense there.
A balanced budget is completely irrelevant to the Bank of England, the ECB or anyone else who has infinite money to pay their domestic debts, and the bond markets are fully aware of this. Hence Draghi comes out a while ago, says he'll do "whatever it takes" and bond yields drop back to near normal.
Anyway, this is all mostly irrelevant to Brexit. I don't think anyone here is saying that we don't want to regulate the financial sector more, half the reason I think leaving might be a decent idea is so we can ditch the provisions for free movement of capital, put up controls between it, the rest of the world and those tax havens that we were talking about and kick the hell out of it until it stops stripping the rest of the economy bare.
Edited by DeathorCake on Oct 8th 2018 at 5:52:36 PM
Too bad your current Tory administration is more likely to turn the UK into a corporate tax haven ala Singapore and/or a glorified subsidiary of the USA via a deal with Trump.
That is the major problem, yes. Hence why I'm considerably more worried about the Tories keeping power after Brexit where they can deregulate, privatise and cut as much as they want than I am about the actual Brexit process as long as there is some form of deal.
I don't think a deal is going to be forthcoming. See the whole Tories being Tories hypothesis. <_<
But, seriously, most of your complaints? Come down to stuff our own politicians have pushed for, then have blamed on the EU for over decades. Personally, I think the EU is better off without us.
And, we're going to be royally screwed without them unless we wake up and manage to get back with the plot with caps in hand and a genuine wish to engage with the EU without trying our damnedest to either 1) scupper it or 2) Anglo-Americanise it.
Yes to pretty much all of that, although I will say that the setting up of "independent" institutions to offload obviously political tasks onto to avoid accountability, responsibility and transparency while keeping most of the actual power is hardly new. It was about two-thirds of the point of making the Central Banks independent and giving them the job of basically all economic management, for one thing. Why the hell you would expect them to do well at the actual job when they have a whole two buttons to press I don't know, but the rest of it went smoothly.
It's also not impossible for the Tories to do lots of this tax-cutting and deregulating inside the EU with the number of opt-outs they have, the only tricky thing is the hammering we'd get from the crazy "free trade with everyone" nonsense Rees-Mogg + Friends are pushing. I vaguely remember hearing one of their ministers talking about the need to weaken employment protections because it's "unfair for people in work to hoard all the jobs" or some bollocks like that a while ago. Hence, priority #1 is to get them out of office. Brexit is secondary.
To be perfectly clear here: What the EU did was sending the Southern countries a target while also recommending a list of measures which helped to meet this target.
The list for Greece included:
1. Taxing the shipping industry
2. Taxing the church (which just happens to be the biggest land owner in Greece and not only not paying a cent in property taxes but also getting money from the government for certain services)
3. Tackling Tax evasion
4. Cutting down the public service because the Greek government had a lot of people on the pay list who were just there because of nepotism and often didn't even show up to work. They also recommended to replace some of those who got their jobs through contacts with junger, better educated people with fresh ideas.
5. Raising Taxes in certain areas which would mostly hit the rich.
6. Raising the pension age to be more on level with other EU countries (to be completely frank here, we are living longer and longer while also having less children. When pensions were first set, people had more children and were living shorter. The Greek pension age was simply no longer sustainable, because you need for every pensioner at least two working citizens in a properly paying job. That's simply math).
7. And if all this isn't enough, cutting down some of the benefits.
It is NOT the fault of the EU that Greece decided to skip step 1 to 5 outside of ensuring that the tourism industry gets now properly taxed and immediately went to point 6 and 7. They could only set the target, it was Greece's decision how to meet it.
I'll be frank here: Italy could be as rich as Germany would the country be less corrupted and less infested by the Mafia. Spain would be lagging behind in any case due to Franco, but Catalonia, that could become the whole of Spain with time with the proper management (I am actually pretty hopeful for Spain). And Greece could at the very least reach a reasonable level of wealth if it wouldn't constantly compete for the top spot in corruption. In no other EU country is it so difficult to set up a business, for a large part because you need to pay bribes left and right.
All those are real problems which exist with or without the EU and frankly being part of the EU might actually a path to eventually tackle them. But not if the EU is just used as handy scapegoat for local problems.
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