Category Archives: Economics

Brexit, the four directions: nadir

The EUref results map

EU Referendum Results Map

Last week, I wrote and posted a series about the four possible directions the UK can go from where we are.

From a worm’s-eye perspective, the fourth option is least-worst: but the people most likely to face negative consequences for carrying it out and saving the UK from catastrophe or disaster, are the same MPs who would have to vote for it.

And regardless of how bad it is for us in the lower income bands, MPs are all in the top ten percent by income just from their salary: they have a generous expenses system, heavily subsidised food and drink at work, complete job security until the next general election, and a nice golden parachute even if they lose their seats then: they will not directly suffer from the economic disaster of soft Brexit, and though the catastrophe of hard Brexit might hit them, they’re better insulated against it than most.
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Filed under Brexit, EU referendum, European politics, Politics, Tax Avoidance

Brexit, the four directions: part 2

Boris Johnson in front of a Take Back Control posterThere are four ways the UK can go from here with regard to Brexit, and all of them are bad. Read the first direction: hard Brexit, or no deal.

Second: soft Brexit, the EU’s deal

Hard Brexit will be unthinkable catastrophe for the UK, and cause some damage to each of the EU-27 countries. EU-27 are prepared and ready to offer a deal to the UK, but as EU-27 are better-prepared to negotiate, have better negotiators, and are in a stronger position (they can survive the damage done by no-deal Brexit; it is uncertain whether the UK can or not) the deal for the UK on leaving the EU will be set in terms that will favour the EU.
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Filed under Employment, EU referendum, FairTrade, Politics

Brexit: the four directions, part 1

There are four ways the UK can go from here with regard to Brexit, and all of them are bad.

First: hard Brexit, or no deal.

On 29th March 2019, the UK leaves the EU. If no deal has been agreed to, on 30th March 2019 the UK becomes a “third country”, in EU parlance – outside the EU, not part of the customs union, no access to EU agencies or EU funding, a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – and between Spain and Gibraltar.

The inevitable and foreseeable consequences of this aren’t pretty. While Brexiteers have tried to argue with me that the countries of EU-27 won’t “let” this happen because hard Brexit will damage them too, they ignore two key points:
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Filed under About Food, Brexit, Corruption, Supermarkets, Tax Avoidance

Strip Greece

Bread and milkPrivatisation of national assets. Deregulation – grotesquely, bakeries and milk are specifically mentioned as no longer to be subject to pesky government interference. Bread and milk. Removing workers’ rights to strike, to collective bargaining, to their legal rights in the wake of mass redundancies. No matter what the Greeks voted for, no matter what they wanted their government to do to help them: no democracy allowed.

This is a replay of another war: but not seventy-five years ago, only twelve.

GreekDemand_1One of the plans for the conquest and plundering of Iraq that went awry for the Bush administration was that all Iraqi nationalised assets were to be privatised. Saddam Hussein’s government had nationalised about 30% of Iraqi industries: the plan post-conquest was for the Coalition Provisional Authority to pursue policies that, as Donald Rumsfeld said in the Wall Street Journal in May 2003, ‘favour market systems’ and ‘encourage moves to privatise state-owned enterprises‘.

Eurogroup Demand page 2But, as the Bush administration discovered, their planned timetable of conquer, plunder, then hold elections, made the selling of the plunder unlawful: only a properly-elected government can lawfully sell national assets. A government established by foreign conquest explicitly can’t do so. Bush declared victory in Iraq on 2nd May 2003. The first post-conquest democratic elections were held 30th January 2005. One certain reason for the 18-month delay was that the Bush administration was trying to find some legal loophole that would let their planned mass privatisation go ahead.
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Filed under Economics, Justice, Poverty

Independence and full fiscal autonomy

Keep Calm And Look Through Your Rose-Coloured SpecsTo me it seems obvious: an independent nation has full fiscal autonomy.

A devolved country within a nation does not.

In my view, and the main reason why I voted No in September 2014, the SNP plan for “independent” Scotland – to be a country without its own central bank – was not independence at all: the only way I think our situation could now be worse would be if Yes had got the majority and we were now facing a situation where both monetary and ultimately fiscal policy would be set by George Osborne from rUK to iScotland.

If you have rose-coloured spectacles you may suppose that Osborne would naturally make decisions that would benefit and profit iScotland.
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“Well, this is bad on so many levels.”

Alexis Tsipras - not wearing a tie

“One clue that the leader of Greece gives no f$$cks about his country defaulting: not wearing a tie as he addresses his government.” Rob Lowe, on Twitter, 29th June 2015.

Rob Lowe is an actor. Sam Seaborn is a character on the West Wing who played a lawyer who was also a Deputy Communications Director in President Bartlett’s White House.

Rob Lowe, 2012No one expects someone whose education began and ended in a US high school to understand or think or even care very much about the Greek and EU economy. But even so, Rob Lowe’s assertion that it’s all to do with Alexis Tsipras’s failure to wear the correct gentleman’s haberdashery must be in the running for Silliest Comment Made.

“We wear sweaters. It’s a Tommy Hilfiger ad.”

However, Owen Jones’s riposte was … not good.

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Filed under Economics, Poverty

Cameron, Clarkson, and gross misconduct

Hitting one of your co-workers at work is gross misconduct; an offense for which you can be summarily dismissed.

Philip Hammond, Brian May, Jeremy ClarksonIf it is true that Jeremy Clarkson hit a Top Gear producer, then the BBC have no option but to sack him. (Clarkson was, reputedly, on his final-final warning, though presumably the BBC were thinking more of something along the lines of a “joke” about sexual abuse at the BBC, such as Clarkson tweeted in May 2013, or some other racist or sexist jibe on the show, rather than a clear-cut case of gross misconduct.)

Two eyewitnesses are reported in the Mirror to have told journalists that Jeremy Clarkson’s bad temper was kicked off by his getting back to the hotel and discovering that as the kitchens were closed, he would get only only “soup and a cold meat platter” instead of the steak dinner he’d wanted.

An onlooker said the star, who had been drinking rosé wine, launched into an expletive-filled tirade using “every bad word you could think of” and ranted “so there’s no food” when he was told he would not get the steak he wanted.
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Filed under Employment, In The Media