Living In The Now

Living In The Now

Alan Hill  | Feb 11, 2019 11:28

Let’s be honest, Brexit has brought out the worst in everyone; from jingoistic little Englanders to neo-Liberal Europhiles and everyone in-between.

From those who voted leave because they (wrongly) believed that leaving the EU would shorten the queue for a doctor’s appointment or make it easier to get a child into a preferred school or voted remain because they (also wrongly) believed that the UK couldn’t make trade deals where and how they wanted without the help of Brussels.

So many bubbles have been burst and so many myths have been disproved that there are only two facts that remain. First, the investment in social welfare by consecutive governments going back to pre-Thatcher times has been nothing short of scandalous. Apart from law and order, health and education have been far and away the worst hit public services. And second, there is little to no intention to suddenly greatly improve public spending under a Conservative government

After close to three years of Brexit talks and negotiations in my view here are only two immutable facts: first, Brexit is an unsolvable puzzle. And that is because there are simply too many issues that are simply not open for negotiation where no compromise is possible. The second is that in this day and age, parliament and the entire British political system which is, or at least has been, the envy of the world is simply no longer fit for purpose.

Forget the ludicrous House of Lords, which is simply a place that successive governments reward their own supporters who have made some contribution, either financial or intangible to the cause of the government of the day.

I am talking about a House of Commons where MPs simply either do not vote their conscience nor see themselves as either representative or delegates of their constituencies any longer.

The blatant self-promotion and self-interest are staggering.

Brexit has shown MPs to be a self-serving rabble no longer worthy of our support. The current nonsense where the government simply continues to ask for more time to (not) come up with an acceptable plan has lowered the entire country to a level of farce and our standing in the world to its lowest point ever.

One of the many reasons we cannot agree to trade terms with several countries is that they are no longer able to take us seriously.

As far as Brexit is concerned, it has become a subject where the outcome has become secondary to the process. Does anyone actually realise that the UK will be departing the EU in six weeks or so? And while there will be an adjustment period, or whatever they are going to call it, the fact is that after 29 March the UK will be in a kind of limbo.

Brussels won't care what London is doing, the chaos at ports and airports will create an economic slowdown which is not fully understood due to Project Fear on one side and the incredibly blasé attitude of those who wish to leave at any cost.

However, my interest has been piqued by a deep dive into Brexit that hasn’t really been talked about……. The future of the EU.

Now, we all know that Remainers want to stay within the confines of the EU family while Brexiteers are looking to cast off the shackles and stride out on their own.

But whether Remainer or Brexiteer, what does the future hold if the UK were by some incredible miracle to remain.

No one knows.

For example, the UK knew twenty years ago that it didn't want to be part of the single currency. There was no need for a referendum, the people just accepted that it was not for them

Why was that?

Because the UK believed that following the debacle of the UK’s membership of the ERM that its economy was not suited to the strictures of the one size fits all straitjacket that the members of the eurozone now have to comply with. There was no flag waving outside parliament demanding that the UK join. Just imagine what would have happened in 2008 and beyond had the UK been a member!

I know that the EU and eurozone are two different entities. But remember, I am looking to the future!

So how is Brexit any different to the UK’s attitude to the European Monetary Union? No one knows what the EU will look like in five, ten- or fifteen-years’ time.

It is pretty clear that it will be a darn sight more of a Federal Superstate than it is today.

All the remainers are shaking their heads knowing full well that the UK (if it remained in the EU) has a veto so it doesn’t have to approve anything it doesn’t want to. Tell that to the Italians, Greeks and Cypriots who have been under the thumb of Brussels/Frankfurt/Strasbourg and have no idea how they will emerge from that shadow.

There is little doubt that like the euro, the UK won’t want to be part of the Superstate, so why all the Brexit worries?

Over the next generation, the plan is for the EU to evolve (if it survives) into one large state with harmonised social welfare, a single taxation policy and the pressure will be for those who are not members of the single currency to get on board as it will be seen as the next logical step.

The issues facing the EU presently are structural. Italy is in a recession Spain probably is too. Germany and France are close to following, while the more peripheral nations like Greece and Cyprus, are still clawing their way out of the last downturn/recession/crisis as I have already said. The ECB can't provide what the entire eurozone needs to thrive as individual nations any longer (not that it ever could)

Yet, all the UK looks at is 'the now'. They don’t want to be cast adrift from the wonderful club that is the EU. It is a place where they can sell their goods to a captive market who are honour bound to buy their stuff before looking elsewhere. Spain and Holland can provide 70% of the UK’s tomatoes and 80% of its cucumbers or so it is said.

Brexit isn’t about today, 29 March 2019 or 31 December 2020. It is about long-term prosperity, the ability of the UK to make its own decisions and the concern is clearly that it will become something that a large majority of the UK population won’t want to be members of, but by then it will be too late.

So, whether it's a hard Brexit, May’s Brexit, delayed Brexit, no deal or people's vote, be careful what you wish for.

Alan Hill

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