Friday, 9 June 2017

Brexit is a mess - and I'm fine with it

I'm a bit of a rubbish Brexiteer. From the beginning I shot down most of the classic eurosceptic arguments. I made no promises of sunlit uplands and my estimations of economic prosperity are heavily caveated and set sometime in the distant future. Worse still, having learned a great deal more over the last year I could probably shoot down some of my own arguments as either as wrong or highly unlikely.

But then in my defence I've never really made the case that this is an economic issue. Having looked with an open mind at a number of studies, measured against my own understanding of the issues I'm pretty certain that Brexit is, economically, a kick in the balls.

You would think that would be sufficient to turn me into a remainer but then I keep coming back to that one single basic fact. I do not want the EU as my government. I want Britain to be an independent country and if we create laws governing social and economic policy then the authority to revoke them must reside exclusively with the people of the UK. That is what makes this process worth the pain - to a point.

In this there are some things we can let slide in that I'm never going to get too excited over aubergine marketing standards and I'm not going to go to the barricades over that. This is why I have no real objection to the single market. I don't deny it oversteps the boundaries but it's still a vast improvement on being in the EU.

More to the point, it's par for the course these days with any trade agreements having to comply with WTO rules and increasingly adopting common regulations and standards up to and including labour rights from the ILO. There is no absolute sovereignty as such. To take back full control you'd need to pull out of a number of treaties and conventions and terminate our WTO membership. I feel I don't have to outline why that wouldn't be a good idea.

In basic terms the sovereignty argument is a bit thin when you consider that when it comes to technical regulation we tend to opt for evidence based best practice. As some have noted, many aspects of the replacement for the CFP are going to look very similar to the CFP as it is now.

The one argument that still stands, though, is that we are overdue a political sort out. As much as this is a mess worsening by the day I'm watching it with wry amusement and delight. We have a way to go before we hit rock bottom but given the determination to get there I am confident we will achieve it.

We do not as yet know what the ramifications of the election are for Brexit. Though May has lost her mandate there is still no assurance of a more measured Brexit - and even if we do see a change of tack there is still every probability they will make a complete hash of it. Sooner or later Theresa May will be gone and someone even worse will be installed and soon after we will be out of the EU, in a mess and will probably see Corbyn take Number Ten. That's when you've hit rock bottom.

That though is where I reckon we probably have to go. Like a drug addict you cannot help them until they want to be helped and it's usually not until they're in a total mess. The only thing that will revive Britain and dislodge Crobyn is a self-confident conservative movement. We haven't had one of those for a very long time.

Last night I was watching the results roll in. Many of the names are all too familiar to us. Clarke, IDS, Redwood, Hague and the rest. These are the dregs of the Thatcher era and for all that we have had the Cameron episode, the Tory party is still basically the same beast with the same old donors and same old influences. Their back benchers are party hacks who come and go but at no time since the eighties has the party really undergone any sort of revival.

The Cameron era was just a very effective marketing campaign headed by a determined inner circle who were able to capture the Tory party in the same way Momentum captured Labour - simply because it has no bottom. There is no moral or intellectual foundation. It is just a branded vehicle which occasionally changes owners.

In this, if you think back there was never any philosophy or big idea behind Cameron. It was merely a matter of managing perceptions. Cameron positioned the Tories so as to vomit all the garbage into the Ukip sickbag in order to sanitise the image and capture the centre ground. Well, that dynamic is dead now. You have to pick a side and you have to offer a vision.

To that extent May, for a moment, had the right idea. She did indeed set out a vision. It just wasn't very conservative and it wasn't very appealing. There were elements I quite liked. I happen to think May is absolutely correct about citizenship and that really does speak to my provincial sensibilities but there was no real drive to it and May's big brother interventionism is more akin with Blair than Thatcher.

I'm not the only one to notice that there is a real gap in the market for a vibrant liberal movement on the right - but that is actually not going to happen until the conditions are right. It would seem that the new generation is not going to take our word for it that socialism sucks and they are going to have to learn first hand why us righties revile Corbyn. Lucky for us, Corbyn will give them a crash course and it won't take very long for them to realise their folly. That's when the conditions will be right for bold conservatives to come forward, unapologetically pro-markets. A movement with a resolute determination to take on the health industrial complex doing to GPs what Maggie did to miners.

Someone on Twitter posed the question today asking how bad does it have to get before we Brexiteers will change our minds. The answer is it will get pretty bad, it probably has to - but we won't change our minds. You see, the status quo may well be adequate compared with the path we are about to walk down but every adult in the land instinctively knows this mode of retail politics is unsustainable and there needs to be substantial change. Since this hollowed out shell of a Tory party is never going to have the political courage to do the necessary then we have to force the issue.

In that respect we're just giving ourselves a head start on Europe who will also have to re-evaluate their decaying post war paradigm. We are the early adopters - and this is why we are in the longer term going to be better off out of the EU because we'll have bitten the bullet and adapted to the new century.

It's probably going to take more than a decade to sort out but it does need sorting out. The economy can't go on like the and politics can't either. We can't put it off any longer and we can no longer be held to ransom by the left. For a long time now we have been in a political stalemate which cannot last simply because all ponzi schemes fail. We cannot prop it up with immigration indefinitely.

Britain's last great revival was born of a socialist induced slump. Without the political liberty to arrange our own affairs as we see fit, we can neither fail nor thrive. We can only stagnate. In order to have an economic revolution - and by the gods we need one, we need to first burn away the foliage so the green shoots can see the light.

I promise you it won't be pretty - and political forest fires never are but with politics being in the state it's in, it's only a matter of time before it all crashes into the rocks of reality. All the EU has done has kept the lid on it so that we can luxuriate in denial. Better that we face the music and get to grips with it rather than trying to put the genie back in the bottle. Change is healthy and it's long overdue.

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