Thursday, 30 November 2017

The system did not have democracy in mind

Very occasionally I look at my Brexit compatriots and wonder why on earth I aligned with these muppets. I mean, they really do talk some crap don't they? But then who, honestly, has a working command of trade mechanics and how the EU works? In the grander scheme of things, hardly anybody. I could maybe scratch up about a hundred people from my bubble with a rounded command of the issues - and for all the remainers like to sneer, I don't think they have a particularly sophisticated idea either.

Consequently there are two Brexit worlds and never the twain shall meet. There is the philosophical Brexit, which in my view the leavers win hands down every time, and then there is the technocratic Brexit where it seems that leavers are genetically incapable of comprehending the issues. 

A glistening example this week comes from Brendan O'Neill, who, of late, seems to set the benchmark for Brexit stupidity. But then from a layman's perspective, he is absolutely right. The people of the UK have voted to leave the EU and to control their own laws accordingly. That in itself shouldn't be all that controversial but the mechanics of trade muddy the water. Northern Ireland, furthermore, just makes it impossible. 

In this it comes down to a choice. If the UK wants to diverge from the EU regulatory model then there must be a hard border. This is because the EU cannot compromise. It is bound by its own legal construct and then there is the WTO. The rules must be obeyed. This global order of rules is such an article of faith that it cannot bend to exceptions even in such a case where enforcement could very well lead to a political destabilisation and violence. That leaves only one thing left on the table. The Brits will have to lump it and carry on conforming. The system has thwarted democracy. 

It matters not that there is no particular value in regulatory divergence in this instance. What is said here is that when it comes down to it democracy has to take a back seat. The other message coming over loud and clear is if the UK does diverge then the EU will place the integrity of the single market over an above peace. So much for EU dogma. 

Of course, this is all highly subjective but the system we have built is so rigid that even having left the EU we find expressions of the democratic will come with such miserable consequences that we are bound forever to do as instructed. This is precisely where we didn't want to be, which is why we needed to leave far sooner than we actually will. The problem with carelessly allowing the drift into technocracy is that, as Brexit demonstrates, powers are much more difficult to repatriate than they are to give away.

Howsoever, we are where we are so it is is the job of politics and politicians to find a compromise. We have to somehow marry the technocratic Brexit with the philosophical Brexit in a game where neither side can begin to comprehend the other and we've put an impossibly short timescale on it. Why? Simply because some words written in haste on a page somewhere in the Treaty of Lisbon say it's two years. The system was never built with democracy in mind.  

This is why Brexit is only really the beginning of a far more involved process. We have spoken previously of the double coffin lid scenario where we punch through the layer of EU rules only to find we are tangle in a different web of rules and constrained in similar ways. We will also find that the WTO (combined with the rest of the UN regulatory system) means that sovereingty as imagined by Brexiters barely exists at all. 

As this global order ossifies we will find it takes on the same character as the EU, adopting much of the same dogma and operating according to the same set of globalist values, influenced and dominated by the globalist intelligentsia, all of whom subscribe to all of the same convictions from command and control quasi-liberal economics up to and including climate change. 

In this it's easy for the blowhards to denounce regulations as petty infringements on liberty but we are about to discover as we diverge the precise utility of it - not least as food prices start to climb. Many leavers will come to question whether that marginal increment in sovereingty was worth having to live without heating. 

That said, the UK is not the only one to run in the the limitations of democracy inside the framework of the current legal order. Certainly the Greeks have learned that expressions of democracy are next to useless as a member of the Euro - and sooner or later a refugee quota will test Easten European tolerance to the limit. 

In effect, we have spent the last half century building an elaborate cage of rules and systems for the better functioning of commerce while utterly neglecting the human propensity to break systems. Sooner or later, it will all come crashing in for no other reason than the fact that no system can ever withstand the human need to evolve and challenge the constraints placed upon us. It is the cycle of history. 

In this instance we are at the very end of the post war settlement. Though the WTO is a relatively young institution, it is the manifestation of a seventy year old system devised long before internet, containerisation and automation. Humanity is evolving to a point where the systems of yore and the economic models of the present increasingly have less relevance. Rather than asking where we go from here, our terrified establishments are doing all they can to preserve the old world.

As much as this is down to the fact that any new order will undoubtedly threaten their power, they simply have no idea what the new mode for humanity will be. Is it to be a technological anarchy they cannot control?  Can governments any longer hold dominion over us? They don't know and they are in no rush to find out. That is what they are afraid of. If governments are no longer at the centre of power then tyrants no longer have a means to control us. That is not in their grand design, and freedom is the very last thing they have in mind. 

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