More Than Meets The Eye: Looking Into The Future
I have limited time and therefore will keep this blog shorter than it warrants. But secondly, I have to succeed at making a simple message, that is for consideration, not for proof or persuasion and hence it needs to be short. That consideration, is for the future, as I believe this Referendum as per the previous blog has merely been an exercise in "burning off emotions" in the political sphere: Arguments or Relationships 1st? Modern Family & "Emotional Digestion". Interestingly the commentariat all observe this without recognizing it for what it is; this is itself a process as opposed to randomness! Make your own mind up.
I think it is worth discussing a recent blog post: The least-bad Brexit model is still a bad model by "jaimelynchstaunton". To summarize why:-
- It's discussing, referencing and identifying what FLEXCIT is (or attempting to).
- It's treating it seriously as an argument (though it mixes some things up).
- It contextualizes a lot of FLEXCIT, The Leave Alliance which again is useful.
- It certainly focuses on the core fact that FLEXCIT contains the strongest technical arguments.
- It suggests that FLEXCIT is flawed because primarily it is weakest in the area of Political Relationships (as all Brexit plans appear).
- I personally think there's a lot of attempt at honesty here: Little details such as "the mispelling of FLEX(C)IT and the explanation of the acronym and so forth. Good job!
Hence I'd like to talk ABOUT and AROUND this argument. The details, I have to leave to more technically proficient bloggers some of whom:-
- Roland Smith (Adam Smith Institute)
- The Brexit Door
- Pete North
- Lost Leonardo
- Paul Reynolds
- The Boiling Frog
- The Sceptic Isle
First, this critique would have been very welcome 2 years ago and longer when FLEXCIT was already available. By that stage I'd done my own research on Brexit plans (god only knows why...) and eventually identified FLEXCIT as a quantum leap of quality and value greater than any other works. Now with 2 weeks to go until the Referendum date, the onus on persuasion is greatest to the detriment of assorting arguments more impassionately and impartially; so it would be deconstructive to get "bogged down in detail" given our arguments are retarded behind the "emotional burning off" necessary for the question of relationships at political level that this Referendum engenders and hence all the propaganda that is prodigiously produced to persuade people and hamper hence their ability to perceive and hence make a connected choice between What they know and what they decide is MOST POSITIVE (as opposed to LEAST NEGATIVE!!!). If only...
Indeed learning to live with those who disagree with you in democratic politics is where the free exchange of ideas and the competition between arguments hence for selection of the "fittest" aka most practical solutions to our problems is where we'll find greatest success as a society - if allowed to operate.
And that's precisely the heart of the matter.
In the previous blog I suggested the emphasis in this Referendum has been on managing relationships and hence primarily the burning off of emotions has taken open precedence to the actual arguments. This is detrimental to the above "heart of the matter". But there is an upside when considered against the blog's primarly criticism of FLEXCIT:-
"Least Bad Brexit Model" (EU Centric past data) = Failure to apply: Try and make decisions not only "as the world is now" but also "as the world will be"...
What is the primary criticism is "Relationships" here and it is above all a Political Question as such to resolve. One of the reasons FLEXCIT does not give "a convincing account explaing how Britain would gain EFTA-EEA (not EEA-EFTA!!) membership" is precisely because it will be a political future relationship question, not a definitive legal, economic prescription: It will be an accommodation one way or another in the event of Direct Democracy advocating a "Leave" verdict on EU Treaties Membership of the UK demos. And as such "the rights or wrongs" will be secondary to paraphrase Jared Diamond's provincial example in the last blog... however, so long as the UK acts in good faith to set up positive future dealings in how we conduct ourselves with our friends and neighbours!! And there is no reason not to: The UK can act as a force for good in Europe, for progression in prosperity to help the Eurozone's troubles de-coupled from Political Union and the Relationship Multiplier Uncertainty that that prescription or excessive conditionals on our relationship with Europe with the EU and with the rest of the world that that entails!
- "The most basic concern is simply that Flexcit does not give a convincing account explaining how Britain would gain EEA-EFTA membership. As I set out in The Norwegian Way there is considerable difficulty in this happening, since any EU member or EFTA member could veto it. It is possible, certainly, but suspect the A8+2 countries would push for UK budget contributions to stay at the level they are now, rather than the per capita level Norway pays them, before accepting the deal.
I also expect the EFTA states would push for a mechanism meaning Britain’s influence on EFTA’s direction was strictly limited, lest her size change the whole bloc’s dynamic."
- "Failing EEA membership, Flexcit sets out the ‘Shadow EEA’, which sees Britain unilaterally adopting all EEA single market legislation (including the free movement of peoples). The hope is that this would force the EU to continue offering single market access on current terms. Flexcit treats this disappointingly breezily: it assumes that with regulatory equivalence the WTO would force the EU to keep single market access open. This is mildly convincing in terms of NTBs and TBTs, but not in terms of tariffs or quotas, or the rights of UK citizens in the EEA. If the UK left the EU without a formal agreement, the EU would be obliged to apply the common external tariff (CET) to it regardless of the UK’s regulatory equivalence efforts.
If one or more EEA member had formally blocked UK EEA membership, it is difficult to see the Area’s members all accepting a de facto continuation (especially as, if Britain were not a formal EEA member, it would not be paying EEA-style contributions)."
- Yes we will make lots of concessions (it won't be purely "EEA-Norway" but "UK-EEA post EU" as part of smoothing relationships for the future.
- Yes the EEA is far from perfect and indeed holds a lot of it's own problems!
But here is where and why I think the author of the above blog shows their own conceptual understanding limitations:-
More To This Than Meets The Eye: Roland Smith's useful comparison between Leave and Remain and the eventual structure of them both
It just seems to conveniently "pop out" of this diagram by Roland Smith, interestingly enough. What I'm going to say is that there is far far more here than meets the eye if you have a fully informed intellectual architecture on what it actually represents behind the basic description, explanation of what is visible, let's start straightaway:-
- The UK is never going to join the Eurozone which must hold a new Treaty for more political relationship rules within it's members ie conforming them all disparate they may be. That is their current objective.
- If so, then the UK does have a choice to make (see Portes in his final sentence here): What is the alternative?
- EFTA/EEA is the only alternative described from an EU-Centric frame of reference: However this frame of reference is to WHAT WE KNOW NOW - only!
- If we change the frame of reference from the Political Relationship with the EU to the Technical Arguments Frame of Reference with the Globalization process, things change dramatically (I mean very pragmatically!).
- What the diagram actually shows behind the visible current picture is the genesis of the future:-
- Eurozone = Emphasis on Political Relationship with each other
- EEA Members (via EFTA ideally) = Emphasis on Technical Arguments decoupling from Political Relationship arguments.
It should be obvious that separating very technical issues (very possible to apply problem-solving solutions to for large networks of participants with an opt-in permissibility) from relationship issues (High Complexity that is not very easy to decompose and hence resolve).
And I think here we have a very succinct reason against greater political integration with the EU; certainly the EZ needs integration to resolve it's flawed present state if that is any help at all? What needs to be done is to then allow the arguments on this Technical subject to flourish amongst experts who know what they are talking about instead of politicians or journalists who mix up arguments about relationship amongst people with purely technical framework creations at a larger and larger scales...
And this neatly comes onto Relationships and Politics: I don't believe that the direction of positive politics for people is scaling up, but in fact it's working at the human experience level and that is Local Politics such as The Harrogate Agenda, here we see the alternative Revolution on this side of the divide that is possible in the messy domain of people's relationships with each other!
For example, Jean Monnet came up with the idea of Supranationalism to combat war in Europe. And yet after World War I the Reparations Contract set up the seeds of future discord and destruction from the German peoples' point of view again in World War II. Instead, if people had reconciled correctly their relationships with each other at a more human and more local and immediate level of compassion building, for example huge enterprise in French and Germans exchanging visits and hospitality with each other as people, friends and neighbours, we might have seen a more successful political development of peace amongst people for that time?
Instead the whole idea of Supranationalism as a prescription for how people can form relationships has merely led to economic ruin in the Eurozone and intractability of solvable problems such as technical barriers to trade due to poor politics.
The criticism in the blog on this subject of global influence:-
The author shows very narrow vision here in context of "EEA as the least bad Brexit." But in fact EEA is still very dominated by an EU Political Centric Europe at this stage and given the context to that I've attempted to illustrate above, we see that reversing the Frame of Reference, globalization of technical arguments decoupled from politicians and into the working bodies of experts where people do not mind having less national voting rights on, so long as the people are engineering solutions logically in areas which don't impinge on the form of human experience that constitutes how we choose to live that takes account of the multi-dimensional complexity of the way in which people choose to live that you cannot necessarily standardize! Eg The Road To Serfdom.
- "The Flexcit solution, despite being extremely well researched regarding the working and importance of global/international standards bodies, overstates their importance; and it overstates an independent Britain’s possible influence within them. While Flexcit and the EUReferendum blog et cetera show many examples of Norway or other small states influencing global rules, and thus influencing America and the EU, this is very selective sampling. It usually has to do with one of Norway’s few key sectors such as fisheries or oil: the UK is a much more mixed economy with far more important sectors.
No attempt is made to see in which cases Norway (or whichever state) is powerless or sidelined, and there is little discussion of the fact that the EU itself dominates many international bodies, and would be on guard against Britain directly opposing it.
- In any case, because most of these international bodies rely on consensus or soft law (industry best practice, codes of conduct), or the private sector, or a multi-layered procedure, it is hard to see how even a titanic effort of diplomacy in global bodies will compensate Britain’s lack of a vote in the EU institutions, except just possibly in the long term (beyond 10 years)."
The author is "hung-up" on WHERE these standards are made not focussing on HOW they are made: By people WHO KNOW!!
And that, my dear friends is something the UK can very positively contribute to towards the future!!!
We can drag out any number of supporting illustrations again from FLEXCIT here:-
"3. Flexcit feels especially weak when it moves beyond the EEA stepping stone and tries to show the potential of further ‘stones’. The idea of a free trading Europe orchestrated by UNECE (the United Nations economic commission on Europe), with Britain a principal architect, is very hard to swallow. Why would the EU agree to being superseded (phase three)?"
I can answer this question in principle: Decoupling the Political Relationships and the Technical Arguments, by assertion is clear: The former is a form of complexity that is very insoluble. The latter is a form that can be decomposed and computated as it were into solvable elements and in fact the more successfully it is decoupled from national politics the more effective as neutral framework for trade et al, the more successful it will grow, while the rate of change in the politically complex eurozone, I predict will remain "challenging". It could be that some of those nations need more exposure to the globalization process and the Eurozone via the EU will effect that in the future ON THEM (politically prescribed)... .
"8. There is a serious danger in overstating the Veto and Emergency Brake powers of EEA members. Using the veto (reservation) might, as I argue in TNW, be fine in limited product areas, but using it to stop an important EU law that the EU considers EEA relevant would trigger a political crisis. Likewise using the Emergency Brake on migration soon after exit would cause a crisis and probable suspension of the EEA system, and the EFTA EEA members would not allow Britain to join if it suspected the UK Government of entertaining such plans."Personally, my impression is this is merely for negotiations and utility in comparing:-
- What "empty air" David Cameron is able to negotiate under the false guise of "EU Reform" ie Opt-Outs IN Political Union vs
- What objectively verificable (Norway is an off-the-shelf-solution) negotiable under the superior logic of Opt-In OUT of Political Union.
Again I'll repeat conclusively: Talking about Relationships is presently an "EU-Centric" frame of reference referring to the PAST (and present currently). Talking about Technical Arguments which are solvable problems due to decomposition of complexity here removed from the complexity of relationships, more successfully in appropriate areas to create a neutral and intellectual global framework, is creating a frame of Reference to the FUTURE.
Making this distinction I hope clears up a lot of confusion of thinking. Using such categorization I think will allow people to look at FLEXCIT with a greater conceptual understanding and concerning solving Political Relationship Models: The Harrogate Agenda (breaking the problem down to the human scale more effectively represented).
Finally, it was considered given the timing of this critique that it would not be suitable to take it on now... in my opinion however: No Chance!
Democracy is about constructively engaging with criticism and the selection of better ideas by fair and true means; something our politicians so obsessed with promoting popular relationships with various categories of people will never be motivated enough to attempt at these "mass scales of unrepresentative politics" eg polling and turning people into "big data" points EU Referendum: a boring debate. One of the dangers of talking or predicting the future is the possibility of "big-headedness" about that which has yet to happen or may not happen: Who knows? But I think there's eminent common sense in discerning between our "Political Relationships" and our "Technical Arguments" and thereby making progress in both of them whatever the future eventually looks like.