Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Question, Two Stories & An Answer

The Liberal Case for 'Leave' by Roland Smith at the Adam Smith Institute, is I think a very fine attempt or option to use if you are asked or are asking yourself:-
"How Should I Vote in this Referendum?"
I pondered how to answer this question in a form that is useful to any questioner. I hope I can provide such an answer given I've spent a fair amount of time trying to understand it myself. But as I pointed out in my first blog post, it's tricky. I've managed to come up with lots of different answers, ideally short and simple and essential. But often they seem end up too "deep in meaning" or too densely packed even if the volume of words has been successfully stripped down.

An effective way to answer the question is to first assert that there is not a simple answer or if there is, first there has to be a story. Then, well, if the story is good, we shall see if there really is a simple answer at the end of it, shan't we?

Let's begin: Roland Smith above starts very well:-
For the Remain side, we are required to anticipate what may happen over the next generation which, if the last 40 years are anything to go by, will mean a gradual growth of EU power into more and more areas of competence - the ratchet towards “a country called Europe”.
There's two very succinct forms for describing this accurate statement:-
  1. "The EU is leaving us."
  2. "Would we join the EU today from the outside?"*
*The generally acknowledged answer would be No. Whether or not for status quo reasons or because the Eurozone (No Maastricht 3 Opt-Out) and Migration and more would be too recognizably divisive and unpopular it matters not for the thought exercise. 

The real substance of the argument is concerned with, given we are a member, it seems impractical to leave. And in fact finding out what the arguments are that do not apply and which do, but are not widely known, today, is the key to setting realistic and accurate expectations of what "Leave" leads to:-
In mapping out where this country should go to, one should first consider where it came from and why. We are, after all, a member of the EU so one might ask the question: If it was so awful, why did we join in the first place and why is there still a significant lobby supporting it?
Let’s bypass the line that says the UK electorate were sold the then EEC on a false premise. Instead let’s look at the circumstances in Britain around the time we joined the EEC and then agreed to stay as a result of the 1975 referendum.
This is quite a practical approach to the beginning of the story. That said my own personal take on the story very much does equate the
  1. FROM: "quality of communication"
  2. TO: "quality of arguments"
  3. FROM: "quality of decision-making"
  4. TO: "quality of results"
This has been, for me, the major substance of most of these blogs. However they're not mutually exclusive, in fact I think the story here for simplicity is being recounted at "4." above only which is possibly most pertinent to what people want to find out.
On a longer view, Britain was a country in decline. Since World War II and particularly since the Suez crisis of 1956, Britain’s empire and its confidence had declined as it grappled with a new post-imperial future. The USA and the Soviet Union were the two blocs that now mattered in the world, each having their own large economic trading zone (the USA itself and Comecon).
Until I read The Great Deception I did not know where it came from, but reading the Legacy News-Media, such as in particular during the "noughties, The Guardian, I could not help notice an extremely virulent strain of "inferiority complex" concerning the subject of the European Union and our membership "leashed" as such an attitude and tone betrayed the primary commanding emotion when this subject was repeatedly brought up and to which most of the communication was curtailed by. Here I think is a significant contribution, from well before I was alive and coincidentally described in the book, of which a new edition will be released:-
The Great Deception: Can the European Union survive? - EU Referendum Edition ~ Paperback – 7 Apr 2016; by Christopher Booker (Author), Richard North (Author)

"Britain joins the deceit

From Britain’s point of view, the story can then be understood better in terms of  psychology  than  of  rational  political  calculation. Britain’s change of heart over ‘Europe’ around 1960 stemmed more than anything from her post-Suez loss of national self-confidence and from the onset of that collective inferiority complex which resulted from comparing the performance of her own faltering, obsolescent economy with the new-found ‘dynamism’ of her Common Market neighbours."
I'm not old enough to have any awareness of this and nor did I cover this history at school in any great detail. But I did notice that "inferiority complex" communication that got me curious about the EU and our politicians non-sense communication of the predictions vs results subsequently. A few years ago I first read the above The Great Deception and only recently noticed this line in it which fitted with my own observations independently some years later.

Since then as Roland Smith writes, the ruling story or narrative has been this:-
Being “for Europe” symbolically represented a future, outward-looking, cosmopolitan and internationalist mindset. It confirmed that you were part of the new jetset or had aspirations in that direction. It was about “getting on”.
Conversely, being “against Europe” seemed to mean you wanted to cling to the old or existing ways that were failing; that you were parochial, old fashioned , narrow-minded, unreasonable even, and the fact that the more extreme ends of the political spectrum were “against Europe” — a coalition of Tony Benn and Enoch Powell — just reinforced this narrative.
It seems to me, this narrative developed as justification for decisions already taken, to explain them after the event and not understand that actually the decisions taken seem to have an "emotional/psyche" basis to them at the leadership level of the UK. And at this "strategic level" subsequently the mere matter of disseminating it as the "ruling orthodoxy of good" seems to have been a secondary manifestation: The above "Story of Europe" in the form of the EU is born and rules for the next 20 years until it hits it's first major "reality check" in Margaret Thatcher and Maastricht/European Single Currency Treaty.
That narrative has largely stuck ever since: Of Pro-EU people being more enlightened, younger, more liberal and largely more educated than their anti-EU counterparts. That’s despite some very dramatic changes that have subsequently happened in the EU and in the world, sometimes behind the scenes.
Coming back to the quality of communication, if you have ever for an extended period of time checked the headlines of the major Legacy News-Media on Google News you'll find the narrowness of views and the orthodoxy of the main political faces on both sides of the subject, like an avalanche of low quality information. This I think explains the prevalence of the above narrative in the light of:-
This was the Marrakesh Agreement that gave birth to the World Trade Organisation (the WTO). The agreement was forged in the early 1990s following 12 years of negotiations and finally confirmed on 1st January 1995. This agreement represents the moment globalisation was born. It didn’t take long for a new phenomenon of G8 protests to take hold.
Unseen and barely discussed in the 1990s, globalisation was beginning to eat into the logic of a political European Union at the very point it was striding towards statehood with a single euro currency.
At first I proposed a question, then you may have assumed I proposed a Story (above)? Here's a cautionary tale:-

This is the Story that I'd like to tell in this blog:-

 You can watch this at the BBC iPlayer site (UK geo-restrictions)

To summarize: An island of 3 million people with debts of >~70bn$. In comparison with other States in the USA: x2 rate of unemployment, x2 poorest than the poorest mainland state; experiencing a 9 year recession, leading approximately 60,000 pa loss of people, young and educated in particular with a 10% drop in 10 years of the island population emigrating mainly to Florida or Texas states (as US Citizens).

How did this happen? Government borrowing with historic and wider causes. There's a useful summary at Wikipedia here: Puerto Rican government-debt crisis:-

If you look at the summary with causes and consequences:-


  • 2.1 Suzerainty to the United States
  • 2.2 Disparity in federal social funding
  • 2.3 Costs of importing fossil fuels
  • 2.4 Labor cost
  • 2.5 Triple tax exemption
  • 2.6 Mismanagement and disparity
  • 2.7 Political stubbornness
  • 2.8 Economic depression
  • 2.9 Population decline


  • 6.1 Restructuring of debt
  • 6.2 Debt nullification
  • 6.3 More Autonomy
  • 6.4 Bailout by the US federal government
  • 6.5 Bankruptcy
There's something curiously similar here. I think there's a web of interacting causes that leads to bad decision-making with a final and very recognizable form:-
  • Government Over-Spending and Increased Borrowing leading to increasing Public Debt having knock on effects to financial systems and markets such as pension or hedge funds
  • Debt vs Growth that is unsustainable on the above.
  • Roll on effects on cuts and austerity: Teachers, Healthcare workers protesting ineffectually and caught up in the negative consequences on our televisions and newspapers
  • Emigration of people to find rates of work pay for example >50% higher than their present predicament. People thinking about the better opportunities for their children and seeing "no road to recovery".
Looking at this recent news article on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans Are Leaving in Droves – And Stirring Up the 2016 U.S. Election what is noticeable is the complex interaction with the political machines in the United States concerning Puerto Rico and very little analysis and resolution of actions on resolving Puerto Rico's fundamental problems.

I remember when I studied biology I came across a sub-discipline called "Island Biogeography" which is effectively what Charles Darwin or Alfred Russell Wallace were studying on their respective trips to The Galapagos Island and Indonesia. Micro examples that managed to capture Macro processes and hence make for more conspicuous examination of the dynamics and increase understanding of them.

By Ahnoneemoos - CC0,

In both the case of the UK and the case of Puerto Rico I think a failure of understanding of the complex interaction of original causes and very importantly the prevalent longer-term trends has resulted in bad decision-making. That in itself has led to further bad communication and "bad politics" that prolongs the problems politically, while not resolving them effectively.

Certainly running a nation's affairs is a challenging endeavour, but:-

Chapter 24 — Liberal Leader: Mackenzie King Said in 1935
“Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes that nation's laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.”
Accords somewhat with:-

5. No taxation or spending without consent
Our next milestone is the idea of annual referendums on government budgets, national and local. Whereas the American Revolution rejected taxation without representation, we go further and reject taxation (and spending) without consent.

This we call Referism. It relies on a political philosophy which is entirely compatible with The Harrogate Agenda, holding that, in the relationship between the British people and their governments, the people should be in control. The state is the servant not the master. Control is achieved primarily by holding the purse strings, where annual budgets must be submitted to the people for approval, via referendums. The catch phrase is: “it’s our money and we decide”. Governments are thereby forced to refer to the people for their funding, hence our choice of the term “Referism”.

At the heart of any government’s power is money. That is how parliament emerged as a force in the land, going as far back as 1215 when the tenants-in-chief secured the first draft of the Magna Carta from King John. The concession that more than anything else reduced the power of the monarchy was the principle that kings were no longer entitled to levy or collect any taxes (except the feudal taxes to which they were hitherto accustomed), save with the consent of his royal council. He who controls the money controls the Monarch. 

Each year we see the government of the day going through the routine of asking parliament for money, and we have to watch the charade of approval being given – only then to see vast amounts being spent on things of which the majority of us do not approve. Overseas aid is a classic example, where public approval would doubtless be withheld.

There must, therefore, be real control over budgets. The politicians cannot be trusted on this – it is not their money. The power must go to the people who pay the bills - us.  Every annual budget must be submitted to the people for approval, by means of a referendum. The politicians must put their arguments, and the people must agree, before any government can levy any tax or spend any money in the relevant period. We, the people, decide. We, the people, have the power to say no.In discussions about this demand, however, concern is often expressed that people would simply vote themselves more money. Fortunately, limited experience of referendums on taxation suggests otherwise. 
In the USA, however, if Congress does not eventually approve the budget, the administration can no longer pay its bills. That tends to concentrate minds. In the case of Referism, the people could stop the money, giving them a continuous power. By contrast, a one-off referendum, offered by the government for its own tactical advantage, is to concede power to the centre. Power resides with the body which decides whether there will be a referendum, and determines the questions. When there are annual referendums, as of right, power resides with the people.

Without people power, the politicians decide how much they are going to spend, and demand that we pay them. Consultation is meaningless as we have no means directly of refusing their decisions.  After the event, we are then graciously allowed to hold our elected representatives to account at elections. But can anyone really assert that the current election processes change anything, or indeed are capable of changing anything?

With poor Self-Governance the result will be "Asset Stripping" by "Foreign Actors" from the people who are Sovereign - but who lose that Sovereignty and Democracy in the grip of Usury.

Who should govern the UK? Not the EU nor our own Westminster Parliament.

We The People.

[Edit, 2nd April, 2016]: PETER OBORNE: Assassinations. Vendettas. The Tories' 30-year civil war is about to reach a bloody climax

Interestingly Peter Oborne recounts his own experiences from the beginning of the "first reality check" with our membership of the EEC/EU:-
  • ERM
  • Maastricht Single Monetary Treaty (EURO)
  • Debt-Deficit under George Osborne our present Chancellor
In all the above, a "crisis of confidence" lies beneath the "drama"/emotional motivations of the above actors. From Nigel Lawson to Lamont to Brown to Osborne, and especially Gordon Brown in my own opinion who's "egotism" is only matched by the scale of negative consequences of which he was purely one significant cog/wheel within a failing system of governance.

The consequences are all across Europe today. Oborne does not emphasis the underlying problems here, but the secondary manifestations he does observe and I suggest these are supporting evidence of the fundamental causes of dysfunctional systems of governance in the EU and Westminster/SW1. Secondly the Daily Mail provides a graphic example of what stimulates peoples' interests: The emotional story overlaying the core causes which remain less visible. Just look at the side-bar of this popular online source of "news and media".