Monday, 2 July 2018

The EEA is a necessary evil.

The more I look through the consequences of leaving the single market the more worried I become. If bungled (and there is every reason to believe it will be) then we are in for a rough old time. I'm using every platform available to raise the alarm but most people have reached saturation point and the people who most need to know are the least inclined to believe it.

I have instead taken to explaining what the single market is, how it works and the utility of regulation. My threads on twitter have favourable responses though the message does not seem to be sinking in with Brexiters who still have their hopes pinned on a mythical bespoke solution.

But then the process also reminds me what it is that I dislike about the single market and the EU in general. Through remainers may celebrate the four freedoms we should be under no illusions. They are primarily commercial freedoms which mainly benefit corporates and the business culture that goes with it is often parasitic.

In a lot of ways it's no different to gangland drug dealing involving bribery to buy the connect and then crewing up distribution on an ad hoc basis and dispensing with people as and when they become inconvenient or are no longer needed. It means there is capital to be made for those with capital and the rest of us are surfers on the waves of commerce. This is certainly true of nearly all major public procurement.

I am also reminded how this level of integration is a direct threat to national security. The emerging energy market combined with single market rules to disaggregate the energy sector makes us dangerously over-reliant on energy imports. It's convenient for politicians because it requires no real input from them but eventually a nation not in control of its own energy supply is one robbed of its political sovereignty.

This is why leavers have been right from the beginning. Gradually our infrastructure has been wrested out of public control where all developments are geared toward the pan European nationless region - reducing us to serfs grazing on the land. Moreover, energy policy is leaden with globalist political agendas none of which are accountable to us.

There is, therefore, a lot to be said of the necessity to "take back control". On paper the single market is a fine piece of trade technology which enhances commerce but in practice it's purely technocratic, lacking any meaningful democratic control and commodifies people. Businesses no longer train because they don't have to - and this is why we see a generation of young men left behind.

Moreover it is difficult to argue for trade liberalisaton when rail and military contracts go to German companies while we shut down our domestic capabilities. Liberalism has its limits. We should also be alarmed by just how much can go wrong by way of engineering EU dependency into the system. No responsible government should ever have allowed this level of integration.

The more we see this model bedding in we see that it tends to favour the middle classes with money-go-round infrastructure and military spending, leaving the bottom two deciles to rot or eke out a living driving uber cars and delivering pizzas. We then see ideas like universal basic income creeping in to basically keep the plebs fed and watered while those with locked in privilege live out their carefree lives.

This is where government essentially becomes a sociopathic from of people farming where the decisions are made almost entirely by remote bureaucrats working to a design without consultation. The Serco state.

I am therefore, in principle anyway, in favour of leaving the single market. The problem is that if we are going to leave the EU then we need to do it in such a way that airports and roads stay open and we don't endure rolling blackouts. Forty years of technical integration is not easily undone and not all of it is worth dismantling. We also need to face facts that a high level of trade infrastructure integration is both necessary and desirable.

In an ever integrated world the battle for popular sovereignty is a continuum and if it isn't under threat from the EU then it will come from elsewhere. There is always a trade off. The only real guarantee of it is a functioning democracy with an engaged populace. This doesn't happen with the EU because it's too remote and as much as people don't understand it, they don't want to. Even on a UK scale public engagement is not what it should be.

What I do anticipate though is a great deal more engagement when it comes to new trade deals where there will be more public discussion over standards and food safety. The left will be particularly keen to shout about possible threats to the NHS or those dreaded fluoridated ocelots.

For the time being though, the EEA still presents itself as the only viable means of phasing out our EU membership. Though I might detest the single market especially combined with our outsourced state, destroying it all without an alternative in mind is not a particularly clever thing to do. Much though I might enjoy it.

Brexit could well have been a revolutionary moment had there been a revolutionary movement behind it. But what we see now is a UKIP easily distracted and without purpose, captured by the anti-islam right wing while the rest of euroescepticism is an atomised bag of misfits absorbed by the free trade right in the Tory party.

There is no plan, no agenda and the opportunity for a genuine political revolution has been squandered. If we have come this far only to leave the EU in pursuit of the intellectually barren ideas of the free marketeers then the technocracy of the EEA, for the time being, is preferable. At the very least it keeps the lights on and the trucks rolling - which is more than we can entrust our Westminster miscreants to do.

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