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by Frank Schnittger Sun Sep 10th, 2017 at 07:39:10 PM EST

Nobody had really expected Brexit to have quite the consequences it eventually had. For some it was simply an expression of a latent English nationalism that had been triumphant in the Second World War, and which had been overwhelmed by the peace which followed. Somehow the EU didn't quite give adequate expression to the enormity of British success in that war, or compensate adequately for the loss of empire which followed.

For others it was simply a domestic response to a domestic problem. Immigration was changing the shape of English life. Whole towns and cities were becoming dominated by an immigrant culture that might have had many merits, but it simply wasn't English. Ethnically Indian and Pakistani immigrants might speak with posh English accents and play cricket. Footballers and athletes of African origin might dominate the Premier League and bring Olympic success. But it wasn't quite the same thing as having Ethel or Timothy next door make it to the big time.

For still others Brexit was a rebellion against an establishment which had delivered years of austerity; at declining public services and rising prices for privatised public utilities. A protest at the bankers and financiers of London who grew wealthy while every other region of the United Kingdom declined. A rejection of the globalisation which seemed to benefit the third world more than the first. A resentment that so many decisions seemed to be made by faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. A sense of powerlessness in the face of a world being moved by foreign forces, beyond English control.

But very soon after the referendum result in June 2016 the goalposts seemed to move. Whereas before even ardent Brexiteers had argued that "of course the UK would remain in the Single market", and that Brexit was all about taking back political control, Prime Minister May announced, in her January 2017 Lancaster House Speech, that the UK would be leaving the Single Market and Customs Union as well. Not only that, but the UK would no longer accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the quite separate European Court of Human Rights as well.

Much of the debate which followed was about economics: How would the UK economy continue to flourish if access to its largest market was in any way diminished? "Not to worry", said the Brexiteers, "the EU needs us as much as we need the EU".  "We will negotiate a trade deal with the EU which gives us access to the Single Market without having to be in it". "We will have reciprocal customs arrangements without having to be in the Customs Union, and thus will be in a position to negotiate our own, much more advantageous trade deals with our friends overseas than we ever could as part of the EU".

Furthermore, they argued, the UK will negotiate joint disputes arbitration procedures with the EU as we would with any other trading partner. If the EU want to involve the European Court of Justice in that process, that would be their business, but we will no longer be under the direct supervision of their Court. EU laws would be transposed into UK law through the Great Repeal Act and then be amended as required by British Ministers. They would be interpreted and applied by British Courts.

Immigration would be controlled on an economic need basis, with immigrants having to register with the authorities and granted work permits only if suitably qualified British workers were unavailable. Their families could only follow them for limited periods, and all work permits would be for a limited period only. Access to unemployment, disability and health benefits and services would be severely curtailed, and long term rights of residence permitted only in exceptional circumstances - for individuals with strategically vital skills or great personal wealth.

Above all, the UK was to take back its Sovereignty and regain its place among the free nations of the world, trading for mutual advantage, and conducting foreign policy in line with its own interests. Of course this would require a continuance and strengthening of the UK's "special relationship" with the USA, but Britain would retain its separate nuclear deterrent and intelligence capabilities. Life would be so much simpler than having to take the competing and conflicting interests of 27 other EU members into account.

Many observers outside the UK were bemused by much of the reasoning behind these policy objectives. The UK had been a driving force behind the establishment of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. It had been instrumental in the establishment of the Single market. Enlargement to include 10 Eastern European states almost immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union had been Britain's big idea. English had just become the main working language of EU institutions. Why would the EU allow the UK to simply walk away from all the obligations it had incurred as part of these developments? Would the EU not seek to to extract a considerable price in recompense?

But that possibility simply played into an ongoing British narrative about the EU: that it was all take, and very little give. Not only was the UK one of the biggest net contributors to the EU, but the EU was seen as exerting an almost entirely baneful influence on the UK. The Brussels bureaucracy was seen as stifling British entrepreneurship with senseless red tape. The European Parliament was a bye-word for useless vaporings and needless expense. The EU was becoming nothing more than a cloak of respectability covering up an emerging German domination: A Fourth Reich in all but name. Best to get out, before that useless house of cards collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions. The EU has failed on its own terms declared Brexit Minister Steve Baker, saying that it was an obstacle to peace, incompatible with a free society, and should be torn down.

How ironic then, that it was ultimately the UK which was torn down.

to be continued...?!?

Don't quite understand ...

The UK had been a driving force behind the establishment of the European Court of Justice

The court was established in 1952, by the Treaty of Paris (1951) as part of the European Coal and Steel Community.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions.

The History of the Court of Justice of the European Union Since its Origin

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

by Oui on Tue Sep 12th, 2017 at 09:27:21 PM EST
Maybe Frank meant the European Court of Human Rights.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Sep 14th, 2017 at 10:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did - but apologies for not responding sooner with a more considered reply - I have been beyond wifi and still catching up!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 14th, 2017 at 06:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Repeal bill' passes hurdle in reprieve for British PM May
After more than 13 hours of speeches for and against the legislation, which May says is essential for Brexit but critics describe as a Conservative government power grab, lawmakers voted 326 to 290 in favour of moving the EU withdrawal bill, or repeal bill, to the next stage of a lengthy lawmaking process.
"Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the bill as it passes through parliament," [Labour's Brexit spokesman, Keir] Starmer said. "But the flaws are so fundamental it's hard to see how this bill could ever be made fit for purpose."

Reference to Royal Assent
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19
Roll Call
European Union (Approvals) Bill 2017-19
index of Bills before Parliament

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Sep 17th, 2017 at 05:55:38 PM EST
After centuries of rapacious Empire and cruel colonisation, the pain inflicted blows back on its bestower. Empire's false sense of entitlement enables its citizens to blissfully take for granted the benefits of living in the predator countries, remaining unconscious of the price paid for our cell phones by Congolese children, the deforestation caused by palm oil plantations displacing indigenous tropical climax forests whose biodiversity was woven by millennia.
The overfishing so kitty can have his tuna, etc etc ad nauseam.
There would be more ways to ensure a quality of life for all humans, were there more of a will.
That will can only stir when eyes are opened to the insane arc of development needed to produce the fabled 'Eternal Economic Growth' that is always elusive, like a search for the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Life, a mythic unicorn just around the next bend.
How can behaviour like Empire's lead to balanced outcomes and a better life for all?
Salivating over profits while destroying the very habitat we want to continue to take for granted, we breathe in the poison of cluelessness till it makes us so stupid we don't even realise how stupid we are becoming!
Those whom the gods destroy they first make mad.
This is the reason we have so much auto-lesionism in modern societies. It is but one symptom of the malaise of modern times, along with election of leaders who are devoid of any intelligence or humanity who proceed to wreck their own political parties and create monumentally shortsighted and lobby-corrupted legislation.
Watching May with her wrecking ball in Europe, watching the Donald quacking his tweets while jerking off his narcissism and misogyny, casual racism and shitstirring for no reason except to whip up ethnic and internatiinal division, exacerbating geopolitics already bristling with tensions, and megalomaniac threats of alliteration (and, incidentally, obliteration).
Fire and fury!

Hire and bury is more like it.

Watching the so-called most progressive, democratic, advanced nations arranging their own demise with such care and attention is as we all know causing a worldwide epidemic of mental illness, anxiety, phobias, depression and suicide.
The daily struggle to comprehend even a tiny fraction of the new$ine$$ bombarding media consciousness is like sipping from a tsunami.
Whatever techniques we use to try to keep a sense of proportion in this maelstrom are going to come in very handy, if they work.
How humanity will step back from the brink -if indeed it manages to- will depend above all on that ability, to keep things in perspective.
The problem is that perspective is in ever shorter supply, like many other dwindling resources!
Happy Monday to you too.


'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 Mon Sep 18th, 2017 at 07:59:39 AM EST

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