A Brexit vote will not mean Brexit

If we want to keep peace, influence and a healthy economy, we should all vote for Remain.

1) Peace

Millions died in wars in Europe over centuries. Since the creation of the European Union, former enemies have become friends. They have remained friends since, and 28 nations now are part of this club. More want to join this club which is built on co-operation and compromise.

The European Union is not the only guarantor of peace, but it is an important element.

2) Sovereignty and Influence

Clearly, most sovereignty can be exercised by staying part of a club, where European governments meet on an almost daily basis (different parts of government, of course) all aiming to enhance the well-being of its citizens.

Democratic deficits in Europe? Yes sure, too much power, perhaps, for the Commission, and “Five Presidents”, none of whom has been elected directly by the people of Europe. And the EU is too easily captured by lobby interests of industry and neo-liberal agendas. But that is true of most national governments.

But, by leaving, that place on the top table goes. But rules and regulations, as Switzerland and Norway find, have to be adhered to.

The EU is an institution where compromises are made and deals are negotiated. None have directly caused any harm (the high unemployment in the South of Europe is an exception), all have essentially as an aim to make us wealthier and cooperate with each other. An element of solidarity, to help the poorer nations is woven into the fabric of the EU. All agreements and treaties been entered into in good faith by the parties making these. The UK, as the second biggest country in the EU, has major influence.

Why give this influence up?

3) Economy

The UK is the fifth biggest economy in the world. But if the value of the pound falls by only 10% after a Brexit, it becomes the 6th, after France. If the £ falls further, by one third (much less likely), the UK could fall behind after Italy and India.

The advocates for Brexit promise a land of hope and glory devoid of manufacturing and based mainly on services (according to their loony economist Professor Minford). This is to negotiate trade deals all over the world more beneficial than what is on offer now.

Let us be realistic. The UK lives at the moment by selling its real estate to foreign tax evaders who buy up London where supply is artificially restricted by the government. That finances to a large degree the largest trade deficit of any economy anywhere at about 7% of GDP. The reason that deficit is so big is because the UK’s entrepreneurs and industrialists cannot provide sufficient goods and services which the rest of the world wants to buy. They are insufficiently competitive on the world market, compared to, say, Germany or China. Trade deals are irrelevant here.

Further, the historic track record of the UK coming to negotiated beneficial trade terms is poor.

a) It is hard to pretend the slave trade was based on negotiation.

b) England went to war with China to sell it opium – enforced trade by gunboat diplomacy.

c) Later it lost control of its colony in America, which did not like the fact that they had to pay duty on the tea which the English traders sold it. Another trade deal gone seriously wrong.

d) And more recently, having had the Empire or later teh Commonwealth as a virtual captive markets for its industrial goods, the UK  nevertheless managed to lose all its competitive advantages in its former colonies, rather than become a major supplier of cars, trucks or machine tools.

But all of a sudden now trade is to flourish, based on new trade terms with the rest of the world, whilst rejecting existing terms with our biggest trade partner, the EU. That is sheer lunacy.

Only fantasists and propagandists like Gove and Johnson believe that Brexit will be good for the economy and trade, to tear up existing arrangements which firmly embed the UK in Europe. It will prove to be impossible.

We will have an arrangement, at best, like Norway with the EU. All the cost, all the immigration, but none of the sovereign decision-making.

How does that take back control? If people want to vote for Brexit, brainwashed into believing by a jingoistic press that this is in their favour, fine. Risk peace, good-will, co-operation, and the economy, by all means, if you are foolish enough.

What to do if there is a Brexit vote? Kick it into the long grass

What should David Cameron do if there is a vote in favour of Brexit? He should not resign, as no leader should resign in a time of economic danger to the nation.

But he cannot immediately start Brexit procedures. About 172 Tory MPs are for Remain, with only 132 for Brexit. And the rest of the House of Commons is mainly for Remain.

MPS

So, no Brexit vote could muster a majority in the House of Commons.

Cameron will not risk  a General Election, so a Brexit will have to be postponed. Which is just as well, as the proposers of Brexit have not been able to say in detail what a Brexit will look like. Cameron could rightly say that the country has no plan for Brexit, no plan on “how to take back control” and the Brexit plan has to be drawn up first.

So Cameron could set up a “Brexit Commission” to look in detail at the feasibility of Brexit and provide the country a framework which it could possibly vote for at the next general election. This  commission (made up of  Gove/Johnson/Patel/Grayling as well as employer, union and other NGO representatives) is to report in 2019.

It would have to liaise with the EU and other countries, so see what deal would be possible. It is to set out a detailed change to the current immigration system, to see if that would meet the needs of the nation and the electorate taking into account the rules of the EU. And the Brexit Commission would need to specify where exactly the sovereignty of the nation is hindered by the EU, and where it is enhanced.

We will find that a Brexit plan will be lunacy and not enhance power or wealth of the UK. Nor will it reduce immigration. Nor will it “take back control”. A Brexit plan will not be part of a Tory manifesto for 2020.

So the Brexit plan will be quietly shelved, along with Gove and Johnson. They can then join UKIP , if they want.

 

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