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Setting the stage for British withdrawal

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 05:49:41 AM EST

Jean-Claude Juncker has now been formally elected at President of the European Commission by a 422 to 250 vote in the European Parliament.  Most Prime Ministers in Europe can only dream of such a wide margin of victory.  That vote follows on from his 26 to 2 vote victory in the European Council (made up of national heads of government). And Yet Nigel Farage, leader of England's UKIP, can only rage at the undemocratic nature of his election.  

It is ironic that the most vehement objections to Juncker's election have come from the UK - a country which has a whole House of Parliament made up of unelected Lords and which has just nominated one of that number  - Lord Hill - to be Britain's next member of the Commission.  It seems democracy only becomes an issue when you don't get your own man appointed through some kind of back room deal. The UK's ignorance of and contempt for EU institutions has now come to bite it severely in the back-side.  

Cameron's influence in the EU is now at an all time low and will not be helped by his replacement of Foreign Secretary William Hague by the Eurosceptic Philip Hammond in a Government reshuffle which also sees a number of other prominent Eurosceptics promoted. When this is combined with the UK's likely loss of Baroness Ashton's (another ex-member of the House of Lords) post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, it looks as if the stage is being set for an ever more distant relationship between the EU and UK.

Why anyone in the EU (apart from Ireland) should now be bothered about anything Cameron has to do or say is beyond me. Should Scotland vote for Independence another barrier to England going it's own way and departing the EU will have been removed. Northern Ireland's constitutional status will again be destabilized, and who knows how that will play out - possibly for the better - but it could be a long and painful process. Cameron could yet be known as the Prime Minister who led England to the break-up of the UK. Certainly the EU will not be weakened by his antics.


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Cameron is trying to unite the Eurosceptic and moderate wings of his own party and head off UKIP at the next election. My guess is he will fail (especially if Scotland vote for Independence) and Labour will win the next election.  The Referendum proposal will be quietly ditched and the whole wearisome charade of a UK half in the EU will continue ad nauseam.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 15th, 2014 at 04:53:14 PM EST
As I've explained before, the landed gentry (sic) in the UK do very nicely out of CAP handouts, so they're in no hurry to leave. The EU also appreciates having a convenient tax haven with plausible deniability on its doorstep.

The Little Englander rhetoric is mostly for the Little Englanders. It's much easier to blame Romanians for stealing our benefits (and our women) than to deal with the fact that the UK's fifty-year flirtation with popular democracy is over, and the country has retreated back to cod-fascism for the benefit of the Eton Mafia and Russian/Chinese oligarch landlords.

Cameron didn't actually expect to win next year, so the referendum was a meaningless promise.

Now that Labour are failing so badly at politics, he may have to rethink that.

Aside from Daily Heil readers, everyone is utterly disgusted by the self-serving pool of corruption and (literal) perversion that is Westminster. So a lot of people won't be bothering to vote next year, with the usual hilarious consequences - which are, as it happens, oddly indistinguishable from the consequences of bothering to vote.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 06:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Little Englander rhetoric is mostly for the Little Englanders.

Yes, but there are so very many of them.

If the Tories win an outright majority next year, which is improbable but by no means impossible, then Cameron will be forced to have a referendum. He cannot continue as leader of the Tories if he doesn't as most of the party want it; if he steps down, the next leader will have one.

Labour are stupid enough to have one just to "clear the air".

And if we have a referendum, the euro-skeptics will win.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 07:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:

Cameron will be forced to have a referendum. He cannot continue as leader of the Tories if he doesn't as most of the party want it; if he steps down, the next leader will have one.

If a referendum really were to happen, (as opposed to just talking about one, a political football kicked back and forth fruitlessly for years now), the the full forces pro and con would hit the headlines daily. The business community would be up in arms against leaving the EU and the little englanders would be yelling their slogans as well.

Right now it's stuck, a referendum would really remove that block, no matter the outcome it would be real, whereas as it is now the threat/promise to have one is a pathetic Cry-wolf tactic, worn to a thread.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 12:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's a useful point. I've been surprised at the rapid maturing of the Scottish independence debate as the time for the poll approaches.

As you say, it's getting real and the Scots know they need to think hard. So, finally, they are and their media is providing them with the fuel.

But Scotland is a more mature country than England and they have a better more rounded media. Ours are dominated by the Heil and the Murdoch. So we're leaving for sure

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 09:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I were Scottish and saw the likelihood of a successful referendum for the UK to exit the EU, I might vote for Scottish independence and then try to remain in the EU while England leaves.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 02:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if the Euro weren't in such a mess at the moment, Scotland could also have a popular alternative currency to Sterling.  The Scottish referendum has been well timed (from a Unionist point of view) to coincide with the aftermath of the Irish Economic collapse (thus removing the most obvious role model and exemplar from the debate), the Euro debacle, a slight English economic recovery, and increasing disenchantment with the EU all round.

Had the referendum been timed to coincide with Irish economic boom, Euro stability, English stagnation, and general EU economic growth the grounds of the debate would be very different.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 05:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keeping the Sterling is the weak point in the proposal for Scottish independence. With the Euro, they would at least have a seat at the Central Bank. But why not create a new currency (Scotsmark?) ?

Scotland is big enough for that.

by rz on Tue Jul 22nd, 2014 at 04:48:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scotsman, today.
A stand-alone Scottish currency would be the best way forward for the country after independence, a report by MPs has suggested.

[...]

However, a stand-alone Scottish currency would give a Scottish Government the greatest economic freedom to shape policy after a Yes vote, the MPs found.

"Despite the inherent risks involved, a new Scottish currency would give the Scottish Government the maximum economic leverage required to pursue a separate economic policy - the stated aim of separation," the report states.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 22nd, 2014 at 04:54:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotsmark?

Unicorn.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 22nd, 2014 at 12:58:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to design a new energy based currency...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 22nd, 2014 at 02:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 15th, 2014 at 05:37:02 PM EST
Interesting.
Why exactly? Not that I think that your position is senseless by any mean. But I'm interested in knowing the grounds which make you hope that it won't, now that you no longer live there.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 06:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter Cyrille: why should you care
now that you no longer live there
Ah.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 11:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, would it be good or bad for the EU?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 05:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the "four freedoms" should apply as widely as possible so, on that basis, it would be a bad thing if the UK were to leave the EU. Halfway houses such as the EEA are possible but the impetus for "Brexit" (ugh) is precisely opposition to the free movement of workers. So, politically, I doubt that a British EU exit would stop at EEA menbership. And as Martin Wolf has argued national pride would not allow it either: No shelter for Britain in European halfway houses (June 12, 2014)
This week, the Centre for European Reform produced a report on the economic consequences of leaving the EU. (I was a member of the commission that produced this report.) Its conclusion is stark: all conceivable halfway houses would deliver the lack of influence that comes from being outside the EU with the lack of independence from being inside it. "In" or "out" is the choice: of the two, the first would be vastly better.

...

Yes, full exit would allow the UK greater freedom over its own regulations. But, as the OECD has shown, product and labour market regulations in the UK are already among the least restrictive in the developed world, despite EU membership. Though some fantasists hope that these rules would be repealed if the UK left the EU, the idea that the British people would allow elimination of almost all labour, product or environmental regulations is mad. Remember: the most economically damaging UK restrictions - those on land use - are, alas, entirely home-grown.

It is perfectly possible that a lethal blend of xenophobia, public folly and political incompetence will lead to a UK exit from the EU in the next parliamentary term. But let us be clear about the implications. All attempts to preserve some form of privileged access to EU markets while being outside the EU would merely add humiliation to all the other disadvantages. Full exit would at least be an honest choice. But it would also be extraordinarily stupid. It would bring no important economic benefits, while certainly delivering significant costs.



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 04:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I think the "four freedoms" should apply as widely as possible so, on that basis, it would be a bad thing if the UK were to leave the EU."

That is a consistent view, and indeed I agree that the halfway houses idea is unlikely (M.Wolf is also very right to point out that the UK is actually incredibly unregulated, despite all their fantasies).
But I had been under the impression that you were no fan of the free movement of capital -certainly an unrestricted one.

There is also a possible conundrum between width and depth/intensity of application. If the presence of the UK makes for a wider application (one more country), but one that is less satisfactory, then it is not immediately clear what is better.
And I would reckon that having a large unregulated tax haven within the zone would invariably create tensions for the persistence of those freedoms (on top of jeopardising some of the other goals of European integration).

Admittedly, the UK is not the only country that creates such tensions. But it's the one talking of leaving pretty much since it joined.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 05:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if you have free movement of workers, goods and services and freedom of establishment and service, plus a monetary union, I don't know how you can restrict the free movement of capital. At this point freedom of capital is so much of a problem as the refusal to fix the broken monetary union with a fiscal union and a central bank with a sensible mandate including the end of the prohibition of monetary financing.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 05:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We only have legal free movement of workers. But of course there is considerable friction in that, it's far from as free as models would have it.

I'm not clear why free movement of capital could not be restricted at all even with perfect freedom in the other 3 and monetary union (for instance, since there are state subsidies to some companies, the state should be allowed to prevent the company moving its capital as soon as they end). But assuming that it is the case, then why should the 4 freedoms be considered an unqualified good thing to be spread as widely as possible?

Yes, within the EU the main problem is as you describe. But with the UK, that is less relevant as they are not part of the EU. Anyway, I was just pointing out that I had been under the impression that you were no fan of free movement of capital, and thus that you may not necessarily want to expand the 4 freedoms without restraints.

Actually, I'm not that sanguine about total free movement of goods and services if countries are allowed environmental and social dumping (or other externalities). It seems to me that those freedoms can only make sense with a somewhat consistent playing fields (and that means social, ethical, political consistency, if of course not identity). And the UK is often unhelpful in that way.

As an anectode, I remember a UK politician vigorously opposing environmental regulations because "dominant winds blow pollution towards the continent, so we should not spend a penny to fix a problem that is not ours". I thought that was rather blunt.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But assuming that it is the case, then why should the 4 freedoms be considered an unqualified good thing to be spread as widely as possible?
Because as an individual European I want to have the ability to vote with my feet if my local oligarchy gets unbearable.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are talking of only one of the 4 freedoms.
And not the one that is the most vividly real for the majority of the EU population. If it's free movement of people that you are so keen to preserve, then it's the spread of that freedom which is a good thing (and I would unqualifyingly agree). Not necessarily all four of them.

To be clear, I am quite conflicted about the issue, I'm not saying that the UK should go necessarily, however I would have thought, considering your other writings, that on balance you would have been fine with their leaving. I am quite unsure that I could make an as-informed-as-I-would-like call.

And, no, I don't expect the UK to be able to harm EU developments to a massive extent if they have left said EU. Although, of course, they would steel be part of WTO and thus not entirely unable to cause trouble.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 08:50:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Long term - assuming that there is a "long term" for the EU - having a failed state sitting on our Western border would be Bad. Of course, so would having a failed state inside our border.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 09:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I'm not that sanguine about total free movement of goods and services if countries are allowed environmental and social dumping (or other externalities). It seems to me that those freedoms can only make sense with a somewhat consistent playing fields (and that means social, ethical, political consistency, if of course not identity).
And that's why you have the 4 freedoms within a political space such as the EU, where the Commission can legislate through directives that apply to all member states, and not worldwide where you depend on bilateral agreements and goodwill.
And the UK is often unhelpful in that way.
And they would be more helpful outside?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't you start a separate diary on the free movement of capital?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or wait, I'll do it.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...done.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 07:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
At this point freedom of capital is NOT so much of a problem as the refusal to fix the broken monetary union with a fiscal union and a central bank with a sensible mandate including the end of the prohibition of monetary financing.

Is that what you meant?

A lot of this so-called 'freedom of capital' is probably still-legal tax 'avoidance'. Shell companies, dummy offices et al. Better regulation (always stuck at the yapping-about-it phase) would cleanse those stables, which is why it's so soft-pedalled.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, thanks.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 10:26:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also cannot help but notice that, on my asking a question showing interest for what was driving your sentiment, you not only did not answer the question but felt the need to serve me with an implicit insult based on a total distortion of what I had written.

I wonder where that came from.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jul 16th, 2014 at 06:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether or not it was a distortion of what you intended to say, its the most obvious reading of the words that you wrote ...

... that is, to read:

But I'm interested in knowing the grounds which make you hope that it won't, now that you no longer live there.

... as presuming that the same policy position held by an EU national resident in the UK is simply self-interest and can therefore be ignored.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 12:06:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. It's merely presuming that one reason for stating that (for example, having the right to work and thus not risking being forced to move) has gone away.
Since he expressed no reason for his statement we are left guessing, and one of the guesses is no longer a possibility.

By the way, only you say that self-interest can be ignored. I did not.

And I have given enough evidence of the years of caring for the plight of people I have no relation with not to be burdened with an implicit accusation of only minding about my direct surroundings.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 01:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming people who already work in the UK would have their working rights grandfathered in. If anything, it's people who, like me, are not in the UK but might conceivably work there in the future, who should be concerned.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 04:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? Are the British planning to leave the EEA as well?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 04:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See below.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 04:32:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the major problems with the British in/out debate is that it ignores the complexities of a lot of things.  For instance the two million British ex-pats who legally and non-legally) are resident in France and Spain and who's interests could be hugely impacted by a Brexit and yet who may not be able to or bother to vote in a British referendum.  Many of these too, in my own experience, like to parrot anti-EU propaganda without realizing how much a Brexit could change their lives.

I think it is dangerous to make any assumptions as to what a post Brexit UK might look like.  If the exit is rancorous (or if UKIP are part of the Government) UK access to "the common market" could be severely curtailed leading to economic melt-down, huge damage to "the City", relocation of many UK headquartered firms to other EU states (with Ireland being a possible major beneficiary), forced or voluntary departure of many non-Brits from the UK, return of huge numbers of Brits from other EU countries, de-stabilisation of N. Ireland (whose economic interests are much closer to Ireland/EU), renewed impetus for independence in Scotland, and a sharpening of the class war in England.

Just because it is in few people's interest for many of these things to happen doesn't mean they can't happen once national pride and public hysteria enter the picture and from an EU point of view the whole debacle could serve as a salutary lesson to any other member seeking to leverage an exit threat.

The British establishment has, for many years, successfully deflected British class tensions onto the EU as bogeyman and thus reinforced its own position within Britain. However that does not mean that the rubes - see Hitler, Tea Party et al, won't become a political force they can't control with disastrous consequences for (almost) all.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 06:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think UKIP can become part of government. Voting interest is already fading as the Headbanging Tory Faithful head back to the fold to get ready to vote against NuLab next year.

Cameron's euro-scepticism is simple posturing. If there was any real danger of the UK leaving the EU, 'senior figures in business' would have a quiet word.

The Establishment have been playing this game for at least as long as I can remember. First you ship in immigrants because they're cheaper and more compliant than local labour, then you blow the racist dog whistle to keep yourself in power as a patriotic bulwark against the tide of evil foreign filth.

It's utterly despicable, utterly cynical, and utterly reliable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 09:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't it start in the mid 50's with the Jamaicans? (Who brought ska with them.)

Then the great waves in the mid-sixties from the commonwealth countries who all had passports automatically gaining them lawful entry to the U.K. The Evil Enoch era... Where the road repair crews were all fresh from Pakistan and didn't take the famously long british tea breaks! I remember the sense of shock the first time (early 70's) I heard a dusky London bus conductor whose accent was such pure Brummy I knew instantly and for certain he had to have been raised from very early childhood, even born there possibly. That was very rare back then. W-a-y before the Eastern Europeans. There were lots of ethnic pockets in London, like Ozzies in Earls' Ct, Italians in Soho but around 90% of people were Brits or tourists from near-flung countries.
Now London is probably the place you will hear more different tongues spoken than anywhere else on the planet! National dress styles too... NY is right up there too.

Your comment is scathingly on point. It is appalling how people are being instrumentalised this way, in this day and age.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 11:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Law Analysis: What would happen to EU nationals living or planning to visit or live in the UK after a UK exit from the EU?
s the election approaches and the Conservative Party flirts ever more extravagantly with leaving the EU, it is a good moment to reflect on what life would be like after an exit for the 2.3 million EU citizens already living in the UK and for those who might wish to come in future.
As Steve Peers pointed out in his blog entry on the effects of exit on UK citizens living in Europe, immigration from within the EU has become one of the major causes of grievance for Euro-sceptics particularly since the accession of poorer Eastern European states (the irony is that it was the a Euro-sceptic government headed by Margaret Thatcher that promoted enlargement of the EU to include Eastern Europe). The difficulty for them however is that a pick-and-mix approach, in which French, Italian or German EU citizens can continue to enter freely but Czechs, Romanians and Bulgarians cannot, will be the most difficult outcome to achieve.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jul 17th, 2014 at 10:07:59 AM EST
Would it really be bad for Britain to leave the Union? I would say that strongly depends on the political course pursued after the split. Clearly the Tories would do there best to ruin the country, but without the EU a substantially less neoliberal policy would also become possible.
by rz on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 04:00:35 AM EST
rz:
but without the EU a substantially less neoliberal policy would also become possible.

Because the regressive policies of the Tories have been imposed by Brussels...

by Bernard on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 12:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I totally agree that the Tories suck, nothing coming from Brussels is worse than the Tories.

But lets assume a Labour government would come to power and lets say they want to impose a 40% tax on capital gains. Could they enforce that? Capital can be easily transferred inside of the EU.

by rz on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 01:55:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But lets assume a Labour government would come to power and lets say they want to impose a 40% tax on capital gains.

And is there any reason to suppose that a Labour government might hypothetically want to do so?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 04:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would also doubt that being out of the EU would greatly restrict the possibility of transferring capital to avoid taxation. This is a country that directly hosts several tax havens...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 04:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to think of the level of corporate and wealth taxation as being a function of the balance of power between the state and major corporates.  The weaker the state, the lower the level of such taxation.  Only very major states have the means of really taking on the major corporates as they represent very important markets for them.  Whatever chance the US and EU have of taking them on, a much smaller state, acting in relative isolation, has very little.  That is why the smaller/poorer the state, the lower the level of large corporate taxation/regulation etc.  That is also the only way smaller states have of competing against larger states for FDI etc.

Based on the above, I would expect a go-it-alone UK to become much more neo-liberal than before - it's the only way it could compete with the EU.  My concern is that this would lead to a much strengthened ultra nationalist neo-liberal right wing in the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 05:17:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to agree with much of your first paragraph (don't forget, though, that very small states such as Iceland and Norway do, sometimes at least, take them on on their own), but am not sure about the conclusion.

At present, you may say that the UK has the opportunity (as part of the EU), to take on big corporates.
However, for ideological reasons, it has chosen to do the opposite. Alone it may be deprived of an opportunity it doesn't want to use in any case - so would the result change so much? Sure, here and there it would find EU rules that it could repeal, but as it is, the EU is not exactly putting too many constraints on the neo-liberal agenda.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 02:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
However, for ideological reasons, it has chosen to do the opposite. Alone it may be deprived of an opportunity it doesn't want to use in any case - so would the result change so much?

I think it would - over time  Now at least there s an ideological debate and some tension over the pursuit of Tory neo-lib policies, with a good chance of a Labour victory t the next election which could be less ideologically driven.  In an isolated UK/England, neo-liberalism could become the TINA policy, with the Tories/UKIP holding centre stage, and Labour becoming a fringe opposition.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 03:18:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In an isolated UK/England, neo-liberalism could become the TINA policy, with the Tories/UKIP holding centre stage

Is that so? Do you not think that after Brexit the UKIP would collapse and many working class voters, who now cast anti-EU votes would return to Labor?

I am not sufficiently familiar with British politics to make such a judgment, but it doesn't seem impossible to me.

by rz on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 04:41:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're all speculating here, but my guess is that Labour would be as neo-lib as the rest, with economic policy driven by the UK's much weakened standing in the world, not internal political developments (which could, yes, see UKIP collapse, if Brexit is seen to have been a failure).  National pride would prevent anyone admitting that Brexit was a colossal mistake and parties would double down on a nationalist political agenda.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 06:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank is right. Labour since Blair is more of a neo-conservative party than any valid representative of the working classes.

Anyway, as I've said before, the working classes who now vote ukip abandoned Labour between 79 and 84 for Thatcher, and now abandon Cameron for Farage. They've not voted Labour in a generation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 07:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be transferred even more easily to the Channel Islands or the Caymans.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 at 05:00:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For as long as I've lived in Europe (28 years), it's been obvious to me that the UK would be much better off if it embraced the EU wholeheartedly; and equally obvious that the EU would be much better off without the UK,given its constant dog-in-the-manger approach. Contrary to received wisdom, I'd rather see them outside the tent pissing out than inside the tent pissing in.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 11:10:36 AM EST
I suspect that is a very widespread view in Europe at this stage, although I've never seen a poll on that topic. Whether the British and European elites hold the same view is another matter entirely...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 02:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The biggest problem is the 'special relationship' with the Arch-Hegemon-du-siecle, which cannot countenance a Europe too powerful, especially if it got too close with Russia.

The UK has tried to ride two horses, and made it so far. At a certain point a choice may have to be made.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 06:55:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
collective consciousness:

United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, 1975 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United Kingdom referendum of 1975 was a post-legislative referendum held on 5 June 1975 in the United Kingdom to gauge support for the country's continued membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), often known as the Common Market at the time, which it had entered in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. Labour's manifesto for the October 1974 general election promised that the people would decide "through the ballot box"[1] whether to remain in the EEC. The electorate expressed significant support for EEC membership, with 67% in favour on a 65% turnout. This was the first referendum that was held throughout the entire United Kingdom; previously, other referendums had been arranged only in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Greater London and individual towns. It remained the only UK-wide referendum until the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, 2011.

Arguably, therefore, the UK's membership of the EU has more democratic legitimacy than almost any other decision ever taken by a British Government.  Strangely, a rarely hear the fact that there already has been a referendum on UK membership mentioned.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 02:23:08 PM EST
The British signed up for the single market, not a political union!
by rz on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 02:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no such thing as a single market without a political union. Never has been, never will be. And if they didn't realize that at the time, well then they have only themselves and their poor education in history to blame.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 02:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Never mind the historical facts - their own government has signed up for every Treaty and Council decision since....

Kind of gives the game away though - the UK joined to STOP the EU developing...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 03:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially since the history of the British Empire is in large part a story of "single market" followed by political institutions (as an inevitable next step).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Jul 20th, 2014 at 04:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in that case it was made explicit, too.
Right there in the treaty of Rome, working towards "an ever closer union"...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jul 21st, 2014 at 03:00:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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