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In many ways the UK is the greatest beneficiary of the worst aspects of the EU. In some respects, Brexit itself is a reforming act for the EU.

Excellent insight, Frank. I wish the latter were even more true, as Jungker's neo-liberalism is only a few shades less toxic than May's.

As long as policies favour finance over peoples' savings, as long as countries in the EU Zone continue to do worse than they did before joining, as long as the wealth gap keeps widening, and growth is so sluggish, as long as the cost of living continues to outpace the costs of employment and wages, as long as we continue to spend useless Euros on armaments while millions slip below the poverty line, as long as scandals such as Libor and the emissions scam go blind-eyed, wrist-slapped, relatively unpunished, as long as policies on mass immigration remain incoherent,as long as even after Paradise and Panama papers are revealed as business as usual nothing is done, as long as the cream of Europe's wealth is siphoned off leaving ballooning debts and underfunded pensions, as long as high taxes do not return to workers in the form of better social benefits, as long as every subsequent generation for the last three lives poorer than the previous ones the Brussels gang will not be credible as truly entitled to govern such a wide and varied continent.
If we don't change soon another country or two will want to bail and and risk their chances on their own.

Britain will spanked very hard by Brussels because if they do do well post-Brexit, it will show Europe up no end, and even if they just don't do worse, could be the thread that unravels the whole sweater.  

'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 Nov 23rd, 2017 at 07:46:09 PM EST
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As long ... the Brussels gang will not be credible as truly entitled to govern such a wide and varied continent.

This is on a par with the disinformation of which Monbiot is being accused. Go back through your list of grievances and identify how many are primarily (or even exclusively) the domain of the national governments.

Even in the case of EU-wide directives, they are the result of agreement between the national governments. The lie of a "EU government" was the comfortable lie underpinning the entire Brexit debate. If people are unwilling to hold their own governments to account while they are part of the EU, it is naïve to think they will suddenly start to hold them to account if they leave.

As for your final paragraph, the EU might wish to punished the UK for leaving, but the British are doing such a bang-up job of spanking themselves it is hard to see what else the EU could do to make it worse.

BTW, exactly which parts of the official EU position do you consider to be punitive punishment as opposed to legitimate attempts to protect the interests of the EU and its people?

by det on Fri Nov 24th, 2017 at 08:32:01 AM EST
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Melo, that is the discourse of the British right, and true, the discourse of some right parties in Europe. They are unhappy with the social and regulatory order imposed by the EU and therefore blame it for everything that is bad. Their goal is sole and simply to dismantle the EU. They abject people like me, symbols of an acquired level of social mobility that is unprecedented in History. Naturally they understand how an EU without social or geographical borders is threatening the Conservative ideal. For now they prevail by instilling all sorts of external fears into citizens, but reality will eventually impose itself on them.

And the ridiculous claim we are punishing the UK. Like it was us who voted them to leave. Their purgatory is exclusively of their own making. I reject any responsibility on the predicament of that vagrant nation.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Fri Nov 24th, 2017 at 09:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree Britain is punishing itself plenty already, as the Tories are so obviously winging it, deep in denial and irresponsible.
In a sense they have already injected their venom into the EU and now are on their way out, ostensibly.
That is also due to the gutter press which is allowed to run riot there like in no other EU country to my knowledge. (Please correct if wrong, I know they're not the only ones by a long shot and I don't read Polish or Hungarian press.)
After Greece it seems obvious to many citizens that the priorities for the EU are banks and arms industries, and that the IMF-Troika machine was hungrily ensconced in the halls of power at Brussels.
It is the immiseration caused by the these neoliberal economics and the straitjacket of the Euro that is fuelling the rise of the hard right, exacerbated by hypocritical and ham-fisted immigration policy. 4,000,000 Italians are now below the poverty line, a situation not seen since the postwar period. Italy is half way to Greece's status already. (Not all the EU's fault, but it hasn't helped!)
You might infer that because I wrote exclusively about the EU's flaws, that I have no hope at all for this grand experiment. On the contrary, for many aspects I admire and support the EU, and know that Italy is responsible too for many of its problems.
There is nothing wrong with the EU that could not be solved with more transparency and democracy, those lackings which have given rise to Farage, Salvini and Le Pen. Why give them that easy red meat? Cui bono?
Perhaps the biggest problem the EU had was extracting the individual countries' sovereignty willingly.
While the economy was pre-2007 it was going relatively ok as for many countries such as Italy it did feel a net positive as they were being being governed so sketchily themselves. Polls showed a 70% approval rating from Italians for the EU, even under Berlusconi.
Maybe I should say especially under Berlusconi!
That's why Greece'so case was so heartbreaking, especially as it was revealed that American finance had helped fudge the numbers to have Greece on board in the first place, and that all the bailout money was going to dodgy submarines, dodgier banks and the like.
It sure ripped off the mask for Italians who have gone from enthusiastically pro to the opposite.
No one is blameless in all this fiasco, for the EU's sake Britain under Tory misrule is better off out, maybe once (if) May continues to founder and Corbyn wins there can be another referendum and the UK can still remain, as so many heartily wish for (myself included). Cameron has opened Pandora's box and now unless a redecision is handled with very competent diplomacy there will be great rage in the Exciteers if they don't get their way.
But either way, it's not about who's worse, they both need new attitudes and radical reform, however now some sovereignty has been willingly given up (but far from all) so the baby is half born, as it were.
"Europe made us do it" has become an alibi for the last three Italian governments.
It was always going to be hard overcoming centuries of war and distrust, linguistic differences and cultural memories too.
But after a good start it started attracting envy, now it's undermined by both Russia and the US.
(Precisely when many of its citizens are losing faith.)
If it doesn't reform soon, far right parties will gather strength, just as in the USA where bad faith government by supposedly left-of-centre parties set things up for El Trumpo,  now what will we do to regain broken trust? Or now that the consumer economy here has shrunk along with the middle class, what do our high level operatives want to substitute it with?
All we see is more predator capitalism on the menu as far as I can see, the lobbying in Brussels is rivalling that of Washington in its pernicious influence and no matter what Draghi does, GOP growth remains unsustainably low.
Europe is still a fantastic place to live, (compared to anywhere else especially), I am still a believer in the noble postwar aims of the EU. Even if it flopped the good it did in giving 2 generations the opportunities to spread their wings and learn to know their neighbours better has been a great boon and a good taste of what is possible.

It's the neoliberal brain rot wot's doing her in, opening the door to racism and civil strife. Why can't they see that in the lofty towers of Europower?

Or don't they want to?

'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 Fri Nov 24th, 2017 at 05:16:20 PM EST
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GOP (sic) growth remains unsustainably low

Is it time to define (g)? That is a tall order, melo. Western civilization depends on maintenance of and service to the proposition, every one can profit from his or her as well as others' property and industry; P > R - C produces income equality; and bounds of surplus value  are infinite.

Remind me, when did the "post-war aims" of US or EU governments ever specify successful indoctrination of industrial policy which encouraged their constituencies to abandon those premises of a life well-lived.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 24th, 2017 at 07:44:09 PM EST
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Remind me, when did the "post-war aims" of US or EU governments ever specify successful indoctrination of industrial policy which encouraged their constituencies to abandon those premises of a life well-lived.

Round the twelfth of never, Cat.


'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 Sat Nov 25th, 2017 at 01:46:43 AM EST
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Don't overlook the role of NATO and expansion eastward ...

NATO's New Order: The Alliance After the Cold War

Invoking Article V after 9/11 and a new mission for NATO in Afghanistan, later in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said at the time of NATO's creation in 1949: "If NATO is still needed in ten years, it will have failed in its mission."

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sat Nov 25th, 2017 at 02:58:42 AM EST
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Thanks for making that very good point, Oui. It's definitely emblematic, should have been top of my gripe list.

'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 Nov 26th, 2017 at 06:25:40 PM EST
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