Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Brexit is too high a price to pay

by Frank Schnittger Mon Feb 18th, 2019 at 10:35:01 PM EST

From the very first line of the foundation Treaty of Rome, "DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe" the EU has always thought of itself as primarily about encouraging an ever closer union between the peoples of Europe as a means of ensuring peace on the continent. Ever increasing economic integration is an important goal in itself, but also primarily a means of creating inter-dependencies which make a resort to war increasingly unthinkable.

The success of this project is self-evident. There have been no major violent conflicts within the EU since its inception despite numerous tensions and diplomatic fracas. Seen in a historical context, this represents an unprecedented 60 years of peace. Seen in a geographical context, the EU is an island of peace surrounded by wars in the Ukraine, Kosovo, Syria, Palestine and Libya.

The EU has also been instrumental in resolving or ameliorating conflicts within N. Ireland, between Russia and former Baltic states of the Soviet Union, and between states on different sides of the former "Iron Curtain". It helped ease the path to German re-unification, and may one day do so for Irish re-unification as well.

Seen in an economic context, the difficulties being experienced by the UK in extricating itself from the EU illustrate the success of the economic integration project. It wasn't meant to be easy to resurrect the ghosts of militant nationalism, and the UK will soon find there is a considerable economic price to pay for doing so.

But just as the EU was primarily a political project with strong economic and social dimensions, so too is Brexit. Many Europeans seem puzzled by the UK's hell-bent determination to pursue Brexit even after all the evidence of economic damage has become more and more apparent. So if we are to understand the EU as primarily as a political project to build peace and prosperity, how are we to understand Brexit?


The mistake made by the Remain campaign has been to focus almost exclusively on the economic benefits of membership. But the longer these became established, the more they were taken for granted. Britons allowed themselves to be convinced that they could "have their cake and eat it" and negotiate "the easiest trade deal in history" because "the EU needed them more than they needed the EU". Once seen as "the sick man of Europe" the UK's economy recovered within the EU to become the leading centre of financial services on the continent, and perhaps the World.

Memories of currency devaluations, IMF interventions, national strikes and de-industrialization have faded to be replaced by pride that the UK is still the fifth largest economy in the World, on some measures. To what extent this was based on access to the EU's Single Market and Custom's Union will only become apparent to most Britons in its absence. I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had with Brexiteers who acknowledge that while there might be some short-term economic damage from Brexit, the longer term political and economic benefits will be worth it.

But the larger point is that for them, Brexit wasn't really about economics at all. It was about rolling back a tide of "Europeanisation" with which they were deeply unhappy. For a time, Europeanisation was a price they were willing to pay for the economic benefits attached to the EU, but once they because convinced that those benefits could be achieved in other ways it was a no brainer: Britain had to re-assert its sovereignty and re-take its place among the free nations of the world.

Some of this unhappiness was expressed in terms of a loss of control to "faceless bureaucrats in Brussels", an antipathy to high levels of immigration, a protest against austerity and a perceived relative loss of status, a rebellion against the status quo in general and "the establishment" in particular. But the bottom line is that they didn't like being treated as the equals of Europeans they had either defeated or liberated in war, or indeed which they saw as feckless or corrupt compared to their own upright, hardworking and high achieving selves.

In truth they never knew a lot about or cared much for whatever the EU was supposed to represent. It was fine if it made life easier as a tourist or as a businessman abroad, but basically the EU had no business meddling in UK affairs back home. "Europe" was what was happening across the channel among the foreigners. The UK was effectively a continent and world power all on its own.

Many commentators have referred to this mockingly as a grand nostalgia for empire, but it could just as easily be seen as a turning inwards to focus on unmet emotional, social, and economic needs. Members of the Eton and Oxbridge educated ruling class may dream of the UK regaining an independent role in a multi-polar world order, but for many ordinary leave voting and leave supporting Britons it was more about wishing to retain a slightly privileged place in a social and economic pecking order increasingly dominated by immigrants and forces they could no longer control or understand.

One of the consequences of the Remain campaign focusing on the economic problems associated with Brexit is that it doesn't explain why so few Leave voters have actually changed their minds even as the economic news becomes more and more foreboding. Some of this can undoubtedly be explained by the fact that few Leave voters have yet been personally effected by the economic damage Brexit is doing. Many are either retired or economically secure and so can cheerfully waffle on about the importance of sovereignty and freedom while others are suffering the consequences.

But the emotional drivers of Brexit remain much the same particularly among those who don't see themselves as having benefited from "creeping Europeanisation", globalisation, or economic growth. They see themselves as being squeezed by austerity, immigrants doing better than they are, and Europeans they don't know or understand running the show.

While Opinion polls generally show double digit majorities now supporting Remain much of this is due to older Leave voters dying off, and younger Remain supporters joining electoral registers. Despite their disastrous performance in government, the Tories are maintaining a slim lead in general election opinion polling, and Theresa May has maintained double digit leads over Jeremy Corbyn as preferred Prime Minister.

So one could be forgiven for thinking that not much has changed in the UK political landscape since the 2016 referendum and the 2017 general election. Brexiteers are still hell bent on securing Brexit even if this turns out to be an economically disastrous no-deal Brexit and few see Corbyn offering much of an alternative even if there is now a popular majority for Brexit being reversed.

Some Remain voters now even see Brexit offering a necessary and unavoidable catharsis forcing the UK to come to terms with a changed world order and deal with unresolved internal tensions which it would rather not have to do:

There is something surreal about these last days before Brexit - just 39 now. There is still no visibility on a deal, and no clarity on a no deal. There is no parliament that seems to have a grasp on managing the slide into the unknown, other than humiliating the prime minister in vote after vote and then proposing little as an alternative. The scene outside parliament is a collection of Brexit doomsday soothsayers and naysayers, each with chants and flags and signs and regalia.

Elsewhere, stranger things are happening: pro-remain campaigners have started stripping off, we are arguing about Winston Churchill and Boer War concentration camps, and children are marching in the streets chanting: "F**k Theresa May." It feels like the last days in the compound of a cult that once flourished but is now finally and fatally besieged.

The end of such a cult, that operates outside the bounds of common sense, is inevitable. Not only that, it should be welcomed. It is time. It is time for the country to come to terms with the fact that it has for too long been in denial about some of its fundamental flaws - and if a messy unplanned Brexit is the way to do that, then so be it.

These past few weeks are proof that Brexit, maybe even a hard Brexit, is now looking more likely. Yet, counterintuitively, it also looks like it is necessary. The country is paralysed and polarised ahead of next month's deadline in a fever of predictions, lies and anticipations that will only break when the reality bites.

Nesrine Malik goes on to say:

Also finally exposed is the unbridgeable gap, both economic and cultural, between centre and peripheries, between the winners and the losers. There is a double nihilism about Brexit. There are many who feel like they have nothing to lose from a no-deal scenario, while also savouring the prospect of trouble ahead. This is what happens when a country is fed a diet of crisis as glamorous film reel. You cannot fight this appetite for martyrdom with technical arguments about processing times at Dover: these perverse fantasies can only be vanquished by an actual crisis.

And that is why the Brexit reckoning must happen. A humbling must come to pass. From the beginning, Brexit created its own momentum. Once the question was asked - in or out? - all the grievances, justified or not, could be projected on it, with "in" being widely seen as a vote for the status quo. Within this frame, nothing else matters - not economic predictions, not warnings about medicines running out, nor threats of the need to stockpile foods. The remain campaign could not have done anything differently: it lost the moment the question was asked.

And so, maybe, in the end, we will finally believe that immigration is necessary for an economy and an NHS to function, that the inequality between the south-east and the rest of Britain is unsustainable, that our political class is over-pedigreed and under-principled. We might even believe that other crises, such as climate change, are real, too.

Maybe, in the end, the country outside Europe will find its stride by confronting its issues rather than blaming them on others, and forging its own way. But there is only one way to find out. What a shame Brexit is that path - but better to have a path than none at all.

But again, it is easy for Remainers to become philosophical about Brexit if they will not be the ones to bear the brunt of its worst effects. Sometimes a crisis can have a cathartic effect and change a country for the better, but sometimes it can also lead to an ever descending spiral of decline and despair. The last major European power to feel it was falling behind its rivals started a World War to try to redress that perceived imbalance...

Often times when I see Brexiteers spout their nonsense on the TV or in Parliament I get this almost uncontrollable urge to let them have an almighty comeuppance: to wish the hardest of hard Brexit on them followed by an inexorable decline. But then I remember it will be the weakest in British society who will suffer the most. I also wonder if the humiliation of the UK is in the EU's larger self-interest. After all the seeds of the Second World War were sown in the humiliating outcome of the First, and the EU is built on the principle that even the defeated have rights which must be protected.

But I think we are reaching a tipping point in the EU as well. Donald Tusk spoke for many when he wondered "what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely." If the UK decides to go through with a no deal Brexit it will find it has few friends in Europe offering a generous trade deal or even basic cooperation on many issues of common interest. Previously quiescent issues like Gibraltar or Sovereign bases in Cyprus could flair up and N. Ireland will become de-stabilized. The EU will become focused on addressing the problems of its own members and any travails the UK endures will barely register.

So the question arises whether Brexit is the only or the best way to address the political contradictions of the UK and whether the EU would be better off without those contradictions being refracted onto a European plane. My own view is that Brexit will be an enormous tragedy for both the UK and the EU and will cause long lasting and irreversible damage to both. The best option is still to delay and ultimately reverse Brexit before it becomes irreversible. But even I have to concede this is becoming less and less likely and a very damaging Brexit is in prospect.

EU leaders have been quite clear from the outset that "damage limitation" has been their prime objective. It looks increasingly likely that their efforts will have been in vain. The UK may come to resolve some of its internal contradictions, but at the cost of its place as a major power in the world. Remarkably, Brexit will have achieved the very reverse of its stated objectives.

I have previously asked the question Can a no deal Brexit be a good thing? and came up pretty empty. I still have seen no new evidence to change my view.

Display:
Often times when I see Brexiteers spout their nonsense on the TV or in Parliament I get this almost uncontrollable urge to let them have an almighty comeuppance: to wish the hardest of hard Brexit on them followed by an inexorable decline. But then I remember it will be the weakest in British society who will suffer the most.

Yep.  Exactly this.  Alas, lots of people who didn't want it get crushed.

Now the ones who wanted it though, and refuse to see the light?  Yeah, fuck'em.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 18th, 2019 at 11:17:26 PM EST
Making Athens Great Again | The Atlantic |

What happens when a society, once a model for enlightened progress, threatens to backslide into intolerance and irrationality--with the complicity of many of its own citizens? How should that society's stunned and disoriented members respond? Do they engage in kind, resist, withdraw, even depart? It's a dilemma as old as democracy itself.

Twenty-four centuries ago, Athens was upended by the outcome of a vote that is worth revisiting today. A war-weary citizenry, raised on democratic exceptionalism but disillusioned by its leaders, wanted to feel great again--a recipe for unease and raw vindictiveness, then as now. The populace had no strongman to turn to, ready with promises that the polis would soon be winning, winning like never before. But hanging around the agora, volubly engaging residents of every rank, was someone to turn on: Socrates, whose provocative questioning of the city-state's sense of moral superiority no longer seemed as entertaining as it had in more secure times. Athenians were in no mood to have their views shaken up. They had lost patience with the lively, discomfiting debates sparked by the old man. In 399 b.c., accused of impiety and corrupting the young, Socrates stood trial before a jury of his peers--one of the great pillars of Athenian democracy.

The people's tyrant: what Plato can teach us about Donald Trump
What can Plato teach us about Donald Trump? - BBC Newsnight

<pain>

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

by Oui on Mon Feb 18th, 2019 at 11:53:16 PM EST
What bullshit is that from The Atlantic? No mention of the dictatorship of the Thirty or the antidémocratique teachings of Socrates?

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 Feb 19th, 2019 at 09:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking News story ... 2,500 years after the fact!

I.F. Stone breaks the Socrates story | NY Times - April, 1979 |

    Because Plato turned the trial of his master, Socrates, into a trial of Athens and of democracy. He used it to demonstrate that the common people were too ignorant, benighted and tickle to entrust with political power. In Plato's "Apology," the contrast drawn between the nobility of Socrates and the grim verdict of his juror‐judges indicted democracy in the eyes of posterity. And thanks to his genius, no other trial except that of Jesus has so captured the imagination of Western man. Plato made Socrates the secular martyred saint of the struggle against democracy. He stigmatized it as "mobocracy."


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 08:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no other trial except that of Jesus has so captured the imagination of Western man.

He wrote that before OJ Simpson...

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 09:00:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Truth is Out There
search for Socrates' shroud and remains continues ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 09:19:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with looking forward to the purge in anticipation of the recovery is that one frequently underestimates the dosage required.

Trump has not yet killed the Republican party, as had been hoped by some when he first announced his candidacy during the primaries, and was hoped by some when he won the nomination, and is believed by some to be an inevitable result of the ongoing train wreck of a presidency. To the contrary, white supremeacist assholes have been emboldened by his march towards facist authoritarianism. If he lives another few years he may well win re-election. What dosage would be required before the curse of right-wing racist partisan assaholerly will pass? Total nuclear annihilation might suffice.

 

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 02:38:51 AM EST
"White supremeacist assholes" infest the US polity and -- this point is important-- they are not all "white," they don't all self-identify CIS, they aren't all filthy rich or illiterate but the want that semblance of "dignified", personally, individualized, meaningful work without the bother and integrity required of political participation with the whole of society one inhabits.

Modern parliamentary democracy elects representatives and these representatives constitute the government. Before the democracy came into power, the Greeks had been governed by various forms of government, including government by representatives. The democracy knew representative government and rejected it. It refused to believe that the ordinary citizen was not able to perform practically all the business of government. Not only did the public assembly of all the citizens keep all the important decisions in its own hands. For the Greek, the word isonomia*, which meant equality, was used interchangeably for democracy. For the Greek, the two meant the same thing. For the Greek, a man who did not take part in politics was an idiotes, an idiot, from which we get our modern word idiot, whose meaning, however, we have limited. Not only did the Greeks choose all officials by lot, they limited their time of service**. When a man had served once, as a general rule, he was excluded from serving again because the Greeks believed in rotation, everybody taking his turn to administer the state.
Subsequently, there remains quite bit of disagreement in Anglo-merican discourse about republican and democratic representations as well as the political institution --government-- thought to manifest benefit or injury upon "constituents." Popular apprehension and comprehension of term limits, voluntary or statutory, for example, is a simple yet brilliant test of purported freedom from the tyranny of idiots --however they "brand" themselves these days.

--
* equilibrium of dosages in Hippokrates, adapted by translators, yo, to Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (another "anti-democratic" philosopher), 4th cen. BCE
** This statement is not entirely true. Quite a lot of classical historiography documents the opposite effect to protect minority rentiers, oligrachy or patronage (Latin), in Athens. "There are great gaps in our knowledge of many aspects of Greek life" (James): Indeed this this admission recurs with alarming frequency in "authoritative" historiography. A vanishing amount of documentary evidence of "democracy" in other Greek city-states (Pelopp. or coloni) survives. Romantic interpretation of the political economy, expressed in this essay, does illustrate however how widespread, misunderstood, and corrupt this model of western hegemony is. I don't call it the "bibble", for nothing.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 02:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for your well reasoned response to my despairing bloviation. I agree entirely.
by Zwackus on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 11:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And to most Ancient Greece = Athens. And we know much less about other major Greek city-states, even Sparta.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 06:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Total nuclear annihilation might suffice.

But the algorithms will survive...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 08:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ultimately the EU is better off without the UK.  

I don't know the economic price that will be paid.  That will depend on changes - or not - to the EU politico-economic policies.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 03:14:41 AM EST
Ultimately the EU will be better off with Scotland, Wales, and England as members with rights and privileges appropriate to their position within Europe. The question is when will they re-apply?

  • Scotland, probably 2019.
  • Wales, probably 2020.
  • England, probably 2025.

^^^ guesses without any basis in analysis
by asdf on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 12:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
England will not be re-admitted, under any circumstances, and neither will it apply. In an ideal world it will become the new Switzerland or Canada. Less ideal would be a reverse colonization by India, Pakistan and China. Either way, it will barely be part of Europe.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 01:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about Wales?  Is it really capable of charting an independent course?
by rifek on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 04:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doubtful. Wales is really only a string of cities/towns along the M4 on the south coast separated and disconnected from a sparsely populated hinterland by a range of mountains. Its land border with England would become just as problematic as N. Ireland's border with the Republic if it became the external EU Customs frontier. It's proximity to England means it is the natural hinterland for England's city dwellers and holiday makers with many making it their second home. It is difficult to develop a distinct national identity if you are so integrated, economically and socially, with your bigger neighbour.

Still, a really bad Brexit could change a lot of things, and often not for the better...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 08:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I thought.  Wales just doesn't have the horses, short of the satire I saw a few years ago where they discovered gold in all the old coal mines the day after England sawed Wales off and shoved it out into the middle of the Irish Sea.  Even the governing body for solicitors is jointly English and Welsh.
by rifek on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 at 02:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with a no-deal Brexit, if it turns out to be a disaster as is likely, is that Britons will see EU "intransigence" as the cause of their misfortune. And the EU will have to tread lightly in the event of new Scottish independence or Irish unification referendums, because then it will be accused of plotting to divide the UK and take parts of 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 Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 09:50:13 AM EST
Let's walk back that conclusory statement, if only to examine limiting factors on adversity and any (rhetorical) amelioration implied.

What is the goal of UK gov which EU secession impedes?

What is the goal of EU gov which UK secession from the EU impedes?

Every "problem" is defined by a desirable future state of conditions (some set of tangible and intangible properties produced by human industry). And, no, alleviating all human suffering does not satisfice for an thoughtful answer on either account, in lieu of obvious pretexts as well as concrete, historical performance.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 02:23:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're thinking rationally here. It's not a reproach but...

Inchoate rejection of the transnational project is a necessary and sufficient explanation for the state of the UK herd mind. I suspect that May has done as well as anyone might, in articulating a political translation of that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 08:52:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure there is anything the EU can do, post a no deal Brexit, which will be perceived as "right" by the UK, and after a while the EU will simply cease to care - save for an abiding pity and sympathy for the circumstance that Ireland finds itself in.

The UK press and establish will bloviate as they wish and most in the EU will cease to pay attention or care. The two sides will drift apart, and any number of flash points will accentuate the process.

I do not rule out a trade war and military incidents around Gibraltar. Trump will cast his glowering gaze and dirty fingerprints over all. If BoJo becomes PM the EU will even lose the will to talk.

Everyone will simply hunker down and await the formation of a sane government in Westminster, and they could be waiting a long time. Scotland could well vote for independence, and N. Ireland for unity, but it will not be an easy transition.

If the EU were to thrive while the UK stagnates - or worse spirals into chaos - the stupidity of Brexit will become apparent to all, and the remedy obvious; But my fear is that the EU, too, will stagnate and ossify. There will be very few silver linings to encroaching storm clouds on offer.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 04:23:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure I agree the EU will need to tread lightly on Scotland and Ireland.  Both populations have been pretty open about their pro-EU views, and who knows?  Maybe this lunacy can damage the scumbag DUP beyond repair over time.

As for the Little Englanders griping about EU plots, meh, who cares?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2019 at 10:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, worse means worse. Not better. But life is tragic and sometimes it doesn't forgive little mistakes. Especially now that there isn't something effective to push back. Opposition, where?

Some parts of Remain (leadnotleave with Gina Miller!) have joined the unicorn hunt by asserting that Britain can have Cameron's deal back and keep the EU from being dominated by Germany. As if the delusions of Blair&Clegg weren't enough. Timothy Garton Ash -who I respect very much- writes columns pleading with the Europeans that friendly words by them may convince the UK to stay! It is just a sad cry of political impotence. One commenter simply replied: "Ok, I want you to stay!" exposing the excercise for what it was.

I can't really fault people for wanting to turn inward. Everyone wants a little Gemütlichkeit. And it's true that this isn't imperial nostalgia per se but a way of thinking very much bequeathed by empire&WW2 that has led to Brexit but also stands in the way of a realistic Brexit.

Britain was always free to leave. But where to? The internal contradictions have come to the fore and all these slogans like 'Global Britain' are just grasping at straws, trying to find some upside to the whole affair.

Leave was very much 'Little England' not 'Global Britain', which is a second-rate cousin to 'Cool Britannia' (itself a bullshit product of the PR department). For the true believers this may only find a happy ending if the British isles achieve levitation. Above all and beyond. Great and separate.

The 'separate' part is more realistic. For the rest of us it's just negative.

PS:

"There is a whole field of grass..." Definitely not helpful but funny.



Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 12:34:33 AM EST
Regarding the fear of 'Europeanisation'. Is it maybe true that the English don't mind non-EU immigration as much as the European influx? The [obviously] non-Europeans are easier to delimit against - Englishness safe. The EU people are more similar and therefore 'subliminally encroaching' on the culture. They may English may even end up being 'European' - gasp!

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 03:10:22 AM EST
I haven't been in England much in recent times but the racism/xenophobia I used to encounter was mostly against Muslim's and Pakistanis, Indians and Africans - all a result of Empire rather than the EU.  People where afraid that whole neighborhoods and towns were being taken over by "foreign" cultures and becoming effectively no go areas for the English.

So I was surprised that Brexit was seen as a solution to that issue.  But it may be that has changed.

In the "professional" circles I used to move in, all racism was decried and foreigners were well accepted and integrated. Some became more English than the English themselves.

But I have a suspicion it was different in more working class areas where east Europeans, in particular, were seen as competitors for jobs and perhaps pushing down wages.

East Europeans may also have become victims of English class snobbery as many worked in manual or agricultural trades which are looked down on by the "respectable" classes in any case.

The other suspicion I have is that people of Asian descent or heritage have become so numerous and powerful in many areas that they are no longer as vulnerable to racism. Its easier to pick on a few Romanians in your town.

I would not be surprised if many relatively recent immigrants actually voted for Brexit - to shut the door behind them and prevent competition from even more immigrants - especially if they were not from your ethnic background.

In years to come England may well become more Asian than European, more Muslim that Christian, and Brexit will enhance that process. That will also suit many EU27 racists and xenophobes just fine.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 12:18:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other suspicion I have is that people of Asian descent or heritage have become so numerous and powerful in many areas that they think they are no longer as vulnerable to racism.

FIFY. Not just the Asians - also the settled Irish that backed brexit. It always amazes me the willingness of people to ride the back of the tiger.

by det on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 03:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Europeanisation" is a bit of a malaprop, I think:
Malformed and amorphous to cover "cohesion" anxieties, "subsidarity" questions, and extra-territorial tests of EU gov "globalizing" bureaucracy, supremacy or "mission creep". Continental Europe's boundaries --distinctive cultural and political territory-- are not well understood.

"The map is not the terrain."

What's wanted, I think, from discourse through evolution of the  member-states' is some acknowledgement of the status that "citizenship" conveys to their constituents. Citizenship is a gift from government, in the first instance, not birth, guarded by some as jealously as others revile it.

Citizenship is a contentious idea for this generation, so far and long distant from centuries of concrete imperialism as the are. Violent conquest is the sword, so to speak, that has divided people into citizens and, shall we say, "non-essential persons" since the era of Greco-Roman civilization first formed. What is gratuitously accepted by generations of victors --status and "privileges" called "rights" granted-- is regarded with envy by those necessarily bereft of the benefits enjoyed by the citizens who possess them.

Those are the people, ethnoi, who rush into the breech wherever and whenever it appears. After all, Europeans have been alienated and insulated from the craft of conquest by distance and government. But breeches are not accidental. "Those people" are seeking and will always seek "citizenship" and the appearance of safety, ironically, so long as Europe is at war with ROW.

by Cat on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 03:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the motives are much simpler: You're not like me. For example, consider violence associated with sports: "You are wearing a shirt from a different team, therefore I will assault you."

It doesn't have to be defined by skin color or place of origin or language, it is as simple as "different."

Consider the situation in the southern USA. Aside from racism, there is also a strong anti-Yankee sentiment STILL in play. "You're not from here, are you?" is a routine comment heard by transplants from the north. Living in Alabama or Mississippi for 50 years does not make you a southerner if you had the misfortune to spend your youth in New England. And this is in a federal system where there are zero legal limitations on moving from one state to another, and the states are under the firm control of the federal government.

by asdf on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 04:21:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US South the hatred of northerners is BECAUSE of racism. It was northerners that freed their slaves and destroyed slave based capitalism in the Old Confederacy. Old times there are not forgotten, as they say.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2019 at 02:31:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why we should stop worrying and learn to love Brexit
So why should Ireland embrace Brexit? Here's why:

First, even the most ardent Anglophiles in the EU have been shaken by the nature, tone and implementation of Britain's negotiating stance since the referendum of 2016. From the self-imposed "red lines" of the prime minister, Theresa May, to the lack of understanding regarding the complexity of EU decision-making, the Brexit process has ruthlessly exposed the conceit and bloated self-importance at the heart of the Tory political class. While this has always been obvious to the majority of the Irish population (even in the post-Good Friday agreement, queen visiting, rugby in Croke Park landscape) for Brussels-based decision-makers this has been an eye-opening experience. Nobody now asks why Ireland needs a backstop. It's obvious to all. Dealing with the Brits is like being in a coalition government: it never ends well for the junior partner.

Second, with the British no longer part of the EU, Ireland can (for the first time since joining in 1973) set out a clear vision for the future of Europe. Up to now, Ireland's position on the further development of the EU has largely been defensive and negative. It usually involved hiding behind British positions on difficult issues. "No" to tax harmonisation; "no" to a digital tax and a shocking disengagement with combatting climate change. Yet, a renewed focus on the key drivers of Irish wealth - global trade and the European single market - could provide Ireland with a clear path towards a more positive and constructive engagement with their continental partners. And here, it will be possible for Ireland to act as a facilitator in bringing together other like-minded members such as the Netherlands, the Scandinavians and the Baltics (as is already occurring informally through the so-called "New Hanseatic League"). This mechanism can - if backed by diplomatic and political resources - act as a valuable counterpoint to the much-vaunted Franco-German core of European integration.

Thirdly, Irish public policy since independence in 1921 has been defined by the unwavering commitment to lessen economic dependence upon Britain. A fact that has been casually forgotten over the past decade of Anglo-Irish detente. Notwithstanding the often-ignorant rhetoric of Irish republicanism, it was not until the 1990s that the economic landscape emerged that allowed Ireland diversify its trading base. Brexit will further allow Ireland - as a committed and active member of the EU - to emerge as a key global location for inward investment irrespective of corporate tax levels (a point continually misunderstood in Brussels). Exports to Britain will always remain important for elements of the Irish economy (most notably agriculture and associated food and drink industries) but Brexit offers a real opportunity to transform Ireland into a global business hub within the EU. Ironically, it also facilitates the long held dream of modern Ireland's founders to limit economic exposure to Britain.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 04:23:53 PM EST
sounds more like Ireland attempting to become the USA's favourite prvider of US neoliberal policy into the EU.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 10:21:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty much his take. The author is a researcher for the EPP...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 11:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently his research hasn't revealed that the US has no policy to provide, at least not for more than a week or until Der Drumpfenfuehrer's next tantrum.  It reminds me of Nazi Germany's policies careening around, dependent on Hitler's latest rant.
by rifek on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 05:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly, Brexit has enabled Ireland to take an unchallengeable moral ascendancy in UK-Irish affairs in the eyes of the world. It's part of the coming of age of Ireland, after the successful de-Vaticanisation of society.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 02:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah. No.

In the first place, British "civilization" is a low bar to hurdle.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 03:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There aern't that many high bars, anywhere...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 05:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly not across The Pond here in The City on a Hill.
by rifek on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 05:09:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 01:26:45 PM EST
Although it could be a very targetted add if it appears only on Trucks which cover the Tower Hamlets area!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 02:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Please use the big chute at the back."

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 07:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry .... exit sign reads "fire escape" ... to be used in case of "hair-on-fire" only  😉

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 at 07:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a sort of funny story.

It lists a bunch of things that will happen on Brexit Day 1, and seems to be targeted at British citizens who live in Europe, or are planning to visit Europe. Nothing that would relate to a Brexit supporter.

by asdf on Sat Feb 23rd, 2019 at 11:31:20 PM EST
hmm, yes, coincidentally so great was my concern for the pair of British "ex-pats" bothered by tiresome bureaucracy in Cyprus, I consulted with gov.uk.

Living in Cyprus
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office appears to have thought of every inconvenience and disclaimer.

Further, there's a rather drafty index page of "Guidance and regulation", indicating preferred destinations, or most frequent FAQ requests. One never knows until too late, it seems.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 12:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For people's democracy called for in a referendum ...

Brexit 'must not, will not' be blocked  

Theresa May has vowed to Tory grassroots activists that she will not allow the referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU to be frustrated.

The Prime Minister is flying to Egypt for an EU-League of Arab States summit where she is expected to hold talks with key EU figures as she battles to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks.

[...]

Ahead of her departure, No 10 released details of her speech to a closed meeting of the National Conservative Convention (NCC) in Oxford on Saturday, when she told supporters the Government's focus on delivering Brexit must be "absolute".

Her comments came after three pro-EU Cabinet ministers signalled they could back moves in Parliament to delay Britain's withdrawal to prevent a "disastrous" no-deal break.

The intervention by Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke led to calls for their resignations by furious Tory Brexiteers - comments said to have been echoed in private by some Cabinet ministers.

Northern Minister John Penrose warned taking no-deal off the table could undermine Mrs May's efforts to secure concessions on the backstop.

"It could torpedo Brexit completely, leaving us in a `Hotel California' Brexit, where we'd checked out but could never leave," he said in an article for The Sunday Telegraph.

The Elephant Trap

"We'd have built an enormous elephant trap for ourselves, and there'd be no way to climb out."



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 11:31:53 AM EST
I don't get this "taking no deal off the table reduces our negotiating leverage" crap. From an EU point of view a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly preferable to dealing with May/ERG/DUP.

And the UK better believe No deal Means No Deal. The EU won't be rushing to cuts deals after a no deal Brexit either, except where they are very clearly in the EU's own self interest. MEGA - Make Europe Great again!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 12:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the hard brexiteers are terrified they won't get the no deal of their hearts desire and so are inventing all sorts of nonsense to justify it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 05:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You posted this clear, brilliant-as-crystal explanation of the actual balance of powers at gov.uk
You must understand that the Government controls all business in Parliament. No bill is discussed without its consent, no vote is meaningful unless the government wishes to adhere to it.

Opposition parties cannot propose anything, they cannot make law. they cannot force a new referendum, they cannot even influence the wording os said referendum.

this is why I have never understood all the noise in the media about Corbyn and what he thinks about brexit. His opinions are irrelevant, his desire, for or against a referendum, is irrelevant.

So the independent group can't achieve anything, except make lots of noise in the media (which appear to be the only group that takes them seriously). Their only ambition seems to be to ensure that the Labour party is weakened

Stand by it. Do not yield to temptation to psychoanalyze 300 MPs. That way lies a madding crowd, not "democracy."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 06:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Times has gone all-in against May and printed one of the nastiest and most accurate character assassinations of a politician in recent history, calling her the Death Star of British politics - someone who has no interest in, or any respect for any opinion other than her own.

May is simply a rather dim middle-shire xenophobe who epitomises "I'm British, I know what's what, and no one tells me what to do."

I'm sure she's being paid to push Brexit as a useful idiot. But I'm also sure that she sees it as a personal project. In order to prove to herself that she's a somebody rather than a nobody, Brexit must happen on schedule, no matter the cost.

If it kills her party, Parliament, and the country - so be it.

No lie and no manipulation is beyond the pale in pursuit of this glorious goal.

So yes - it's crap, as is virtually everything else she has said or done. And crap is all we'll ever get from her.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 08:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
since her legacy will live on in the history books.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 10:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Times or sunday Times? Is that an editorial? I may go to the library tomorrow just to read that

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 10:20:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Matthew Parris in the Sunday Times: Theresa May is the Death Star of British Politics.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 10:56:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish Matthew Parris would get off the fence and tell us what he really thinks of Theresa May...

Theresa May is the Death Star of British politics

Time and again I've protested that she may not be the answer but she didn't create this mess: she's just an unimaginative, unremarkable, perhaps wooden but dogged politician, overly cautious and rather shy. Time and again my informants -- MPs, former MPs, civil servants, special advisers -- tell me, eyes flashing, that I've got it wrong and the public have it wrong, and she's so much worse than that. She's not normal. She's extraordinary. Extraordinarily uncommunicative; extraordinarily rude in the way she blanks people, ideas and arguments. To my surprise there is no difference between the pictures of her that Remainers and Brexiteers paint.

Theresa May, they tell me (in a couple of cases actually shouting) is the Death Star of modern British politics. She's the theory of anti-matter, made flesh. She's a political black hole because nothing, not even light, can escape. Ideas, beliefs, suggestions, objections, inquiries, proposals, projects, loyalties, affections, trust, whole careers, real men and women, are sucked into the awful void that is Downing Street -- and nothing ever comes out: no answers, only a blank so blank that it screams. Reputations (they lament) are staked on her, and lost. Warnings are delivered to her, and ignored. Plans are run by her, unacknowledged. Messages are sent to her, unanswered. She has become the unperson of Downing Street: the living embodiment of the closed door.

And I am, finally, persuaded. Persuaded that Theresa May has not simply failed to unite two wings of my party, but that her premiership has driven them apart, into anger and despair; helped to turn a disagreement into a schism. Before healing becomes possible (one told me) she, and all who wait upon her and have surrounded her, must be hounded out of the party's cockpit, and every trace of the era of her leadership expunged. Another, careless of the proprieties, told me the political massacre should be on a Rwandan scale. For the first time I understood the passion, if not the logic, behind the self-defeating challenge to her leadership the Brexiteers mounted last December.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 11:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
soooo separated at birth from Arlene

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 at 11:37:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Arlene is but the village idiot to May's Death Star...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 25th, 2019 at 12:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To my surprise there is no difference between the pictures of her that Remainers and Brexiteers paint.

So she's the epitome of The Middle Way.

by rifek on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 05:16:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Brexiteers' position boils down to this: In the Goode Olde Dayes, immigrants came from OUR empire, and we controlled whom we let in and how we treated them.  Now they come for OTHER people's empires, and the terms are dictated by Brussels, including having to treat them as if they had rights.  Unacceptable!
by rifek on Thu Mar 7th, 2019 at 05:01:51 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]