Brexit is an economic catastrophe – the sooner it is dumped the better

Image: Garon S, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Eighteen months on from the Brexit referendum, the story that the ‘people have spoken’ is only one version of the truth. There was only a very small majority for leaving the EU: more than 16 million people were on the electoral register but did not vote, and a further 2 million were not even registered. It is now evident that many of those who voted to leave had no idea what this entailed, or the likely costs. Surveys confirm that enough people have now changed their position that, if there was a second referendum, a majority would now vote to remain in the EU.

But both the Government and the Labour opposition seem determined not to have a second referendum, despite the mounting evidence of the massive destruction Brexit will cause to the British economy. There is a daily record of companies preparing to leave the UK and establish themselves elsewhere in the EU. Cumulatively, the impact on GDP, employment and the public finances are going to be extremely large and yet these costs are simply shrugged off as if they were obviously worth enduring.

To take the most obvious example, let us consider banking and financial services, the only sector where the UK has established a global position. Many banks and associated enterprises have already begun the process of moving to Paris, Dublin, Frankfurt and elsewhere. These are highly paid jobs in firms that are very profitable and which account for a very significant proportion of GDP and government revenues. The CEOs of banks have been perfectly open about their planned shift to other locations, and have called on Government to re-evaluate their policies but to no avail. The consultancy and auditing firm EY has estimated that on day one of Brexit some 10,500 jobs would be lost in the City, and they had previously estimated that a total of 83,000 jobs would disappear.

Two EU agencies have already announced they will be moving to other locations in the EU – the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Agency, with a loss of skilled jobs. In the case of the EMA, the transfer of jobs to Amsterdam will be 900 – all highly skilled and professional. More worrying is that the move of the EMA will lead to disinvestment in the UK by pharmaceutical companies as they shift their clinical research activities elsewhere.

Other sectors have pointed to the impact on their ability to function if EU residents leave. In the higher education sector, around a third of academic posts are filled by EU citizens – with many of them in scientific areas – and many university leaders have warned of the effects on system capacity. The impact on construction, health and social services, on transport, on agriculture, on tourist and related services have been enumerated and yet are shrugged aside as if they were manageable and unimportant. How the UK will source the 40% of food that is currently imported and which sustains national food production, given the massive dependence on EU labour, remains a mystery.

Then there is the economic and social impact on EU residents, and the effects on UK residents living and working in the EU. Not least of the predictive costs are those on Ireland where 80% of exports are sent to the UK, and where there is a possibility that these will subsequently face import tariffs. The impact on Ireland is more or less ignored in the UK and instead the focus is on the issue of the border between the North and the Republic. While this issue is important, it is clearly unresolvable unless the UK remains within the single market and the existing customs union. To believe that there is any other practical solution is like believing the moon is made of cheese.

Employment will contract, incomes will fall, tax revenues will decline, prices will rise and the balance of payments will worsen. The sterling exchange rate has already fallen against all of the major currencies with a decline of more than 15% against the euro. The LSE has estimated that the impact of Brexit has already been significant and that the average household has experienced an increased shopping bill by £400, largely due to the fall in the value of sterling. The effects will not be confined to the UK; residents from the EU will be directly and indirectly impacted by the resulting shifts in demand and supply.

Brexit has already diverted the resources of Government and of Parliament at considerable cost. Governance has more or less come to a standstill as the Tories battle it out amongst themselves about what kind of relationship the UK will have with the EU. It has always been clear to anyone who knows anything substantively about the EU what would be on offer, and this really should not have been a surprise to the British Government. There was never any chance that a deal would be negotiated which threatened the stability of the EU, and this would be paramount in any discussions with the UK.

Key basic principles such as freedom of movement of labour, goods and capital were sacrosanct and would be retained at all cost. So would be the demand that the UK meet all of its financial obligations. It has also been made clear that no trade deal would be possible after Brexit except under conditions in which the UK accepted and applied the existing regulatory regime. This means that the UK could not be in a trading relationship with the EU if it deregulated existing labour, health and environmental standards – and would be expected to apply future changes as well.

A deal would have to be struck for EU citizens in the UK, and for UK citizens living in Europe, that protected all of their existing rights. These and other key elements of the ongoing relationship between the UK and the EU would need to be subject to the European Court of Justice. Finally, a deal had to be agreed that was legally binding on both parties to any agreement to prevent any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. In effect, this last requirement means that the UK has to remain a member of the single market and customs union.

Given these conditions, why would any rational government pursue Brexit at such immense financial and non-financial cost?  On the face of it none of this makes any sense given the easily predicted consequences of Brexit and the uncertainty created both in the UK and with our partners in the EU. Everyone has wasted resources over the past 18 months on negotiations and posturing that have led to an outcome that was always inevitable. One of the less evident consequences, but a cost nevertheless, has been a breakdown in national social cohesion and a release of ethnic tension. Putting this genie back in the bottle will not be an easy thing to achieve, with or without Brexit.

What are the forces driving Brexit given the above analysis? We now have more information on the funding of the leave side of the referendum, and after a good deal of pressure the Electoral Commission is finally doing some real analysis of the sources of funding. There can be no doubt that this funding was illegal and largely from overseas sources. In a series of articles Carole Cadwallader has documented the role that a very right wing American billionaire had in providing financial and non-financial support to a UK company called Cambridge Analytica. The purpose of this structure was to infiltrate social media with fake news so as to influence voting behaviour in the referendum. This process acted as support for the lies being told by Farage, Gove and Johnson and others who bombarded the electorate with falsehoods about extra funding for the NHS, swarms of Turkish Muslim migrants, and the threat from EU nationals to British livelihoods.

Also worrying is where most of the money for the leave campaign came from. It was supposedly provided by a millionaire called Arron Banks, but an analysis of his finances by openDemocracy suggests that he was in no position to make very large donations. So where did this money come from? This is presently under investigation by the Commission, but it is evident that it does not have the resources for such an investigation. Some of the funding was routed to the leave campaign via the DUP in Northern Ireland where the is no legal requirement to disclose the sources of funding.

This leaves it unclear where Banks’ money came from, except that we now have evidence of the role that Russia played in the US presidential elections and elsewhere. What is driving Farage, Mercer, Banks and their supporters? It is only too evident. They want to see the collapse of the post -war settlement in which the state actively intervenes in economic and social life in the interests of social stability and fairness in accessing social goods. They want to roll this back in the interests of the rich and the wealthy, and have managed to get Trump elected to pursue their objectives.

Brexit might yet do the same, and in the meantime, it has managed to divert the attention of policymakers in the UK from important issues such as how to reduce wealth and income inequality and associated issues of housing, jobs and pay. Brexit in their eyes is simply a source of instability that in the short and longer runs will enable them to bring about their ultimate right wing agenda. This includes a determination to deregulate the UK economy and remove regulations covering the environment, food safety, animal welfare and labour conditions.

But what of Putin: why would he be prepared to finance the leave campaign?  He has clearly been trying to undermine the EU for many years, hence his opposition to Ukraine joining the EU and to the EU sanctions after the annexation of the Crimea. Weakening the EU as was hoped would suit Russia just fine since this would further enhance Russia’s power in Europe. Furthermore, anything that weakened Europe’s military capacity would be highly desirable, as would anything that caused greater economic weakness.

Brexit is a failed process and will cause untold and unnecessary damage to the UK, the EU and elsewhere. The sooner it is dumped the better for everyone, including for those who voted for it given that most of the negative effects of Brexit will fall mainly on those living in the less favoured areas of the UK.

The question is: do we have political leadership capable of doing the obvious? The influence of big money is everywhere in politics – not least in the UK – and politicians are both too close to the rich and too isolated from the electorate. But it could all change. The Rand Corporation – a respected US think tank – recently published an assessment of the impact of Brexit on the UK . It has concluded that “a no deal Brexit will cost Britons £1,585 each. Even the softest Brexit of the customs union would damage the economy and any gains from leaving would take at least 12 years”.

Why would any Government, Tory or Labour, go down this route if it had the interests of the population, and of Europe, at heart?

  • Leviathan

    Oh Lord, paranoia and conspiracy theories abound!
    In fact the economic consequences of Brexit are far from certain and far from being certainly deleterious. I think we’ll muddle through.
    But the reasons for wishing to leave the EU remain the same and remain robust: the EU is a corrupt, bureaucratic, incompetent, unaccountable polity whose avowed aim, a United States of Europe, is incompatible with nationalism or localism; and many people (ignorant, ill-educated, backward-looking proles though they may seem) value their nation & their locale.

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      The EU is less corrupt and less neoliberal than the UK, so you can stop that nonsense. The economic consequences of Brexit are very clear: nothing good can come of it, the only issue is exactly how bad it will be. Moreover, the consequences for the working people — i.e. not the Tories — are unequivocally bad, with obvious indications of declining workers’ rights in the UK not to mention the loss of the right to migrate to EU countries for work.

      So no, this is not paranoia: this is reality. Your complacent nonsense about muddling through is typical Tory incompetence. You know where you can shove it.

      • Reginald Bowler

        “The economic consequences of Brexit are very clear”

        What rubbish you do talk.

        • ANGRY_MODERATE

          Nope, I talk economics and reality. I leave the rubbish to idiots like you and the other Brexiteers here.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            You can’t hold a reasoned debate with facts. Everyone here is a witness to that. You could at least try.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            You are not intellectually competent to interpret facts anyway. There is little point in debating with biased idiots.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            Go on, give it a try! Try not swearing, for starters, then I might believe you are older than 10.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            If you think I am younger than a middle-aged adult, this is clear evidence of your total lack of any grip on reality.

      • Leviathan

        Thank you for your reasoned and thoughtful response – always good to debate these issues in an intelligent fashion.
        I think the EU’s corruption is shown partly by the fact that their accounts have not been signed off for, ooh, how many years?, partly by the self-interested response to financial crises in southern Europe and partly by the shameless feeding at the EU expenses trough (as evinced, incidentally, by Mr Farage’s conduct); beside that then the UK Parliamentary expenses scandal, for example – which was met with widespread condemnation and at least an attempt at reform – pales into insignificance. As for neoliberalism, well it is yet to be demonstrated that that is an unequivocally bad philosophy but, even if it were, then the EU is at least as much in thrall to its tenets as the UK. And if Mr Varoufakis is to be believed, more so.
        Unlike you, I think the potential economic consequences are far from clear; there is a range of possible outcomes, not all of them bad. And the UK has been a beacon for the establishment of workers’ and human rights; why shouldn’t it continue to be so?
        From your disparagement of Tory politics I infer that you would rather outsource political control to a, I repeat, unaccountable left-leaning European bureaucracy than trust the will of the electorate in your own country. Many people would not.

        • ANGRY_MODERATE

          The sheer incompetence and corruption of the Tory party far surpasses such problems within the EU. The EU bureaucracy is far from left-leaning, unless you are a supporter of the extreme Right that has taken hold of the Tory Party and also UKIP. The EU is centre right, with several looney right countries such as Hungary, Poland and Austria. There are a few centre left governments, which have been unable to change the right wing political direction of the EU.

          AS for your hilarious and sad claim that “the UK has been a beacon for.. workers’ and human rights”, obviously you occupy a world of propaganda and nonsense. The UK since 1979 has systematically removed all workers’ rights and has done nothing to promote human rights: on the contrary, the Tories want to quit the European Convention on Human Rights. Of course, after 1945 the UK was as you describe — usually under Labour governments and is in a different universe now. If anything, the UK is the least supportive of workers’ and human rights in the developed world, along with hte USA. People in Britain rely on the protection of the EU legal framework — which they have now voted to abolish. This is mass suicide for the common people of the UK — and very useful for the billionaires and other crooks.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            Love it! What did the Labour Party do during its term of office from 1997 to 2010? As you say: “The UK since 1979 has systematically removed all workers’ rights and has done nothing to promote human rights” Did you forget Labour was in power for 13 years? You know, you remember, remember how the country lost all its money? There you go, it’s all coming back now, isn’t it?

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            Cretin.

          • BC

            “You know, you remember, remember how the country lost all its money? ”

            The country cannot lose all it’s money. It has a sovereign currency.

          • Chris Lovett
          • Leviathan

            You make a good point about the incompetence of the Tory party, though I hesitate to call it corrupt. Not sure the alternative is any better, mind. However your citing of the “looney right” countries in the EU ignores the fact that, in Brussels, these regimes are despised, dismissed and ignored by the unaccountable apparatchiks who actually formulate and implement policy. I stick by my assertion that these functionaries tend to be left-leaning; whether or not you believe that is a good thing or not, I prefer the will of a national electorate to trump that of a (largely unengaged) supra-national electorate.
            I also reiterate my belief that the UK is, and will remain, at least as supportive of workers’ and human rights as any of our continental partners – with the exception, perhaps, of the Scandinavian economies. There may be a difference in balance between supporting workers and encouraging entrepreneurship but one only has to look at the stifling red tape in France to conclude that the UK has that balance closer to a golden mean.
            I dispute your assertion that all billionaires are crooks but I do agree that the increasingly over-weening power of capital requires some restraint. As for the crooks themselves, their activities must be condemned and prohibited.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            I did not actually state that all billionaires are crooks, although the vast majority clearly are. You do not become a billionaire, other than inheriting money (which should not be possible for such large amounts anyway), simply by working hard or having a good business idea. The amassing of this sort of wealth requires creating a market monopoly or oligopoly and dealing aggressively with competition — as well as avoiding taxes. Any common person who behaved like this would be arrested and prosecuted on a number of criminal charges.

            As far as the Tories are concerned, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between incompetence and corruption or economic self-interest. But this is a political phenomenon well-known in the Third World and is actually a device to maximise the theft of a country’s assets. The Tories have introduced several Third World political practices to the UK, so this is no surprise.

          • Arthur Blue

            The record of all UK governments in supporting workers and encouraging entrepreneurship is patchy to say the least, and particularly dubious in the case of the current one. What has been consistently supported, both openly and covertly, is rentier capitalism.
            The EU is not much better, but it does provide some benefits, for UK citizens, in trade and freedom of movement which Brexit is poised to remove.

          • Leviathan

            Yes I know what you mean about the loss of freedom of movement: it’s a pity. But I think the expansion of the EU to relatively poorer nations has meant that that freedom is more attractive to citizens of those nations who can migrate to, and find work in, Germany, France, Holland or the UK than it is the other way round. I don’t under-estimate the inconvenience that Brexit poses to would-be UK expats but, one way or another, the tide is inward rather than outward. Wealth distribution is a fine principle but I wouldn’t mind a say in it,
            As an old git I welcome inward migration since I require young bloods to finance my pension, but I believe that nation states, sovereign states, should decide their own immigration policy. There are certain indivisible political and social groupings – no, not cities, not regions, but, rather, nations, united by geography perhaps, language, custom – that should indeed be sovereign entities.
            You mention rentier capitalism which, I infer, you and I both deprecate. Got any better ideas?

        • BC

          ” As for neoliberalism, well it is yet to be demonstrated that that is an unequivocally bad philosophy”

          It was proven in 2008 when the banks crashed. This was the cause of austerity by the way, not supposed Labour Party profligacy.

          “…but, even if it were, then the EU is at least as much in thrall to its tenets as the UK. ”

          Simply untrue. The UK and the US are the centres of neo-liberalism. In the the US there are 41 million people living below the internationally recognised poverty line with 8 million having no income at all. This is considered to be a good thing because it keeps wages down and profits up.

        • Chris Lovett

          The EU accounts have in FACT been audited and signed off every year since 2007. You fell for the lies.Oh, and Mr. Varoufakis advice to Mr. Corbyn was to argue for remain.

          • Leviathan

            As I understand it the EU changed their own auditing process in 2002, splitting their budgeted accounts into two categories: the first (the largest) portion that auditors were indeed willing and able to sign off on; the second (and smallest, though still absolutely large) portion that the auditors were not. Thus the EU presents a set of accounts to which their auditors (owned and funded by the EU by the way – just saying) can give a clean bill of health and keeps the other “irregular” (read: potentially fraudulent) part separate. In 2015 this second part amounted to 7 billion Euros.
            So, yes, the EU does have fully audited and signed off accounts; unfortunately they are only partial accounts.

    • BC

      “Oh Lord, paranoia and conspiracy theories abound!”

      No. It’s called realistic and credible analysis – of “Fake News” if you support Donald Trump.

  • James Martin

    George Soros, his money and influence is never far away is it ? makes sure he is outside the jurisdictions he interferes in.

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      Flagged as anti-semitic propaganda. Go fuck yourself, half-wit.

      • CockneyblokefromReading

        Can you add anything to a debate, you know, like reasoned argument, without acting like a 10 year-old? Try not swearing. Try countering someone’s argument with facts rather than opinion. Try being a grown up.

        • ANGRY_MODERATE

          I repeat: anti-semitic propaganda. You are the child, with silly ideas in your deformed head.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            Superb, another example of your massive intellect.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            Go fuck yourself, wanker. Let’s use words you are familiar with.

  • CockneyblokefromReading

    This is a truly appalling article. Why is this website named ‘opendemocracy’?!?
    You can’t in all seriousness suggest that because people didn’t bother to vote, the vote result shouldn’t stand?
    “It is now evident that many of those who voted to leave had no idea what this entailed”
    This is complete an utter tosh. David Cameron made it plain enough – 28 times in a single TV interview – “Leaving the EU means leaving the single market and customs union”. That was echoed by George Osborne – time and again. We all knew what we were voting for, and for the majority of people it was to regain control of our borders because of the EU’s insane immigration policy. Economics simply don’t come into it!

    “Surveys confirm that enough people have now changed their position that, if there was a second referendum, a majority would now vote to remain in the EU.”
    A total lie. Simply go to the YouGov website where they actually explain it. Even the pollsters who carried out the poll for the Independent’s inglorious headline this week have had to state a disclaimer.

    The FACT is that our population is rising by 400,000 a year, and that is NOT SUSTAINABLE! We can do nothing about the birth rate, nothing about the death rate, so the only tool we have left is that of immigration control – which is exactly what we will now have. Germany and France will not! Watch what will happen to them in the next ten years.

    I say again (for those who can’t figure it all out): It doesn’t matter if Brexit cost a million jobs, it doesn’t matter if it seriously harms our economy, it doesn’t matter if it causes massive wage increases…a 400,000 people a year population rise is NOT sustainable. Get it?

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      Cretinous remarks. It was an advisory referendum that did not reflect the “will of the people” at all. This is the point of the article.

      AS for your ignorant remarks about immigration, this merely indicates that you are economically illiterate. AS well as being racist. Typical Brexit voter.

      • CockneyblokefromReading

        Lovely example of your intelligence, couldn’t have asked for more. Thanks, because I’m just about to blow your puerile remark away:

        “We will implement what you decide”
        At the bottom of page 20
        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517014/EU_referendum_leaflet_large_print.pdf

        “Racist” Brilliant! You see, anyone who says that now shows more about themselves than anyone else possibly could. You just can’t help but show your ignorance, can you. You’ll exhibit it with every opportunity offered.

        • ANGRY_MODERATE

          You uneducated Brexiteers are all the same — full of your arrogant spite and so fucking sure you know how the world works, when you are clueless. Go and get a decent education and stop polluting the discussion pages.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            I exposed that your opinions are worthless by explaining that you made an error about an ‘advisory referendum’. You can’t counter it because you have been educated by me, and you can’t handle it. Now, I have to go to work, and you, well, you’re late for school, again! It explains a lot.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            You are a cretin. The referendum was not legally binding. I am not interested in links to propaganda.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            So you are stating that the government’s leaflet on the referendum was “propaganda”? Just to be clear, is that correct?

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            Yes. it is. I suppose you are stupid enough to believe anything they tell you.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            So the leaflet that SUPPORTED your position on the EU was propaganda, just so that we’re all clear on that one?

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            The whole debate was a fiasco. I have never supported any Tory crooks, whether it was Cameron or far right Tories. They are all lying scumbags.

    • BC

      “The FACT is that our population is rising by 400,000 a year, and that is NOT SUSTAINABLE! ”

      We have an ageing population and that is what is not sustainable. Without immigration, the productive part of the population will be too small to support the economy. Most people understand that.

      So a static population is NOT sustainable. Get it?

      • CockneyblokefromReading

        BC. We have a population of around 68 million; what would you like it to be? Let’s start with that question, then progress.

        • ANGRY_MODERATE

          That’s a stupid question. There is a big difference between another 10 million educated and skilled people, compared with 10 million uneducated lazy Brits who whine about foreigners taking their jobs.

          And BC’s point is about the old-age dependency ratio: the proportion of people retired to those in work who have to pay for their pensions. Immigrants work and pay taxes to support UK pensioners: got it now?

    • Arthur Blue

      A continually rising world population is not sustainable, and that is a problem which cannot be addressed by simply building anti-immigrant walls. No such wall has ever held over longer periods of time.
      As far as the U.K. population is concerned then the sustainable population could be either higher or lower than the current one, depending upon factors like our own food and energy self-sufficiency, and consumption patterns. The big population problem right now, however, is that we have an ageing population, and one where the general level of skills is not keeping up with technological developments.
      Currently we need migrants, particularly younger ones with skills. We also have an obligation, on humanitarian grounds, to accept a proportion of refugees ( some of whom of course could have useful skills ). Whatever our absorptive capacity really is, it is certainly a good bit higher than current policy admits.

  • Mombasa69

    What a load of old crap lol

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      Don’t look in the mirror, is my advice, if you don’t like seeing old crap.

  • ANGRY_MODERATE

    Welcome to all the half-witted Brexit trolls who just arrived. I suppose you think you are really clever, fucking up our country in order to promote your far right racism and general nastiness. Or perhaps you are not even British voters: who knows what trollery is going on, especially organised by Putin.

  • indierockhead

    Putin was financing the Leave campaign? Oh dear, more fake news. Outside meddling in our election? Well that would be Globalist George Soros funding open border shills like OpenDemocracy. Hey George have you checked how your money’s getting spent on these poorly written propaganda pieces? I guess $18 billion doesn’t get you much these days.

    • BC

      “Putin was financing the Leave campaign?”

      We don’t know who it was. That is the point. Why won’t they tell you?

      • indierockhead

        I’m merely repeating the author of the pathetic article above. I’m interested in facts, not baseless speculation by somebody with a political axe to grind. Facts like Open Democracy being funded by George Soros for example.

        • Red

          Pretty funny to dismiss fake news about funding from Putin only to jump right ahead with the exactly the same argument you’ve dismissed by just changing a name, Putin to Soros. Ah, irony…

          • BC

            I think it’s more likely to be plain old fashioned Antisemitism…

          • indierockhead

            It’s 2017. Playing the ‘race card’ doesn’t work anymore.

          • BC

            Again, it’s speculation – though I have no idea why you think racism is no longer relevant. Soros has little or no influence on this web site (with the possible exception of the oD Russia section). The facts (remember them?) are that he is rich, he is Jewish and some people are so far out to the Right that they consider him to be Left. The difference hereis that he is LISTED as a donor. There is no secret funding.

          • indierockhead

            You do understand the terms ‘Racism’ and ‘Playing the Race Card’ are two different concepts don’t you?

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            The question is whether you understand anything at all. The evidence suggests not.

          • indierockhead

            Aww, the triggered little remoaner monkey is gracing us here with his presence. Go away little boy, it’s adults debating on this thread here. I’ll get back to you when you’ve got something coherent to say tumbleweed.

          • ANGRY_MODERATE

            It never ceases to amaze me that ignorant morons think that calling themselves adults (and calling others children) is how to win arguments.

            Go fuck yourself, retard: nobody else would want to.

          • indierockhead

            “I’m interested in facts not baseless speculation”. What part of that statement are you having trouble with comprehending?
            You can’t interchange the names because Soros is a proven fact, and Putin, (in the absence of any current evidence), isn’t.
            Try and grasp the subtleties of what’s getting said in a statement before commenting on it.

        • BC

          “I’m merely repeating the author of the pathetic article above.”

          No. You’re not. The author floats this as a possibility.

          “I’m interested in facts, not baseless speculation by somebody with a political axe to grind.”

          But you’re not interested in the fact that £450 million was laundered through the DUP by an unknown donor. Nor are you interested in the fact that the government refuses to investigate the source of this money. You’re very selective about your “facts”, aren’t you?

          “Facts like Open Democracy being funded by George Soros for example.”

          Oh! Here we go. The great Jewish conspiracy theory. Soros hands out grants like sweeties. The amount he gives oD is relatively small. He has no input into content whatsoever and I doubt if he’s even recognise the name if you mentioned it to him.

          • indierockhead

            I don’t disagree with you. I would be very interested in good investigative journalism to ascertain where this £450 million came from. I think big money (both open and dark),funding the Left and the Right, and buying elections in the West, has been a stain on our democracies for decades; a true subversion of the will of the people. What I am sick of is the ‘Muh Russian’ narrative, with Putin as the master string-puller getting Trump elected and Brexit through. I’m calling it out for what it is; Horseshit.

          • BC

            I disagree with the Russia theory too but there is a case to answer. Personally I think the money will have come from VERY nasty private sources in the US but my speculation is of no more nor less value than anyone elses’s.

            What dark money has funded the Left? Or do you mean New Labour?

          • indierockhead
          • BC

            That’s to the Clinton Foundation which is not remotely Left unless you’re a politically neutered American – in which case you have no idea what the concept of Left means.

          • indierockhead

            (a) A question of the Overton window being moved old chap. I’m sure Leon Trotsky would have considered the DNC a bastion of Right wing Kulak Capitalism. (b) I’m not American. (c) Try and put into practice the Virtue Signalling, Anti-racist Cuckery that you are so keen to preach on this forum.

  • Jonathan

    Regardless of someone voted Leave or Remain, the truth is, once Article 50 is triggered, there is no turning back.

    There is no second referendum on the agenda because it would be meaningless. The EU themselves confirmed that today. It wouldn’t be impossible, but 35 territories would have to agree, each with a veto, and there would be major conditions that the public would not accept. We need to accept Brexit reversal is off the cards.

    Many EU countries see Brexit as a great opportunity for them, especially France and Germany who wish to replace London as the financial capital of the world.

    Both campaigns promised/threatened things that have not happened or are unlikely to. The campaigning is over and now the government need to implement Brexit with a long term agenda. It will be impossible to please hard brexiters, remainers and soft brexiters. There seems to be limited strength and consistency from our side and I fear that we will end up with the worse of both worlds (in without the power to input anything towards policy)

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      It is not correct to state that invocation of Art. 50 cannot be rescinded. There are political issues for other EU countries, but there may be enough goodwill… This is most likely to occur with a new Left government rather than with incompetent Mayhem and her band of Merry Trolls.

  • simon

    The Tories are avoiding talk of a 2nd referendum in the name of party unity but ironically unless the Tory govt hold a 2nd referendum it is likely to prove electorally disastrous.Brexit will produce both winners and losers.The losers will be bitter about it and they will include many who voted Brexit and then they will whine `why did we not have the chance of a second vote`.
    It is dishonest of any Brexiteer to claim that people knew what they were voting for in 2016.Nobody did. I know nobody who expected a Brexit divorce bill of £40 billion plus or in mainland UK grasped the complexity of the Northern Ireland border issue.
    It is also dishonest of Brexiteers to claim a 52-48 vote is fully democratic.
    Incidentally the bookies odds on the day were 3/1 Leave i.e if you had held the referendum on 4 separate days the bookies believe Remain would have won on 3 out of the 4 days. Not that bookies odds are always accurate.
    The current odds on a 2nd referendum taking place are 5/1 and I`ve backed that as I believe the real odds are a lot lower for the above stated reason that some Tories have to realise the political risks to them if Brexit creates lots of losers and they have not given those losers a 2nd referendum the Tories will get punished for it
    I am uncertain what the result of a 2nd referendum would be.

  • Des, absolutely accurate! Nice to see an ex-colleague arguing the case so well. I’d be pleased if you could share my petition to revoke Article 50. As above I have many similar stories that you can see at the foot of my petition on https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-stop-brexit-c1f72095-d955-4504-9fa2-2c278d204e95?recruiter=622263122&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=petition_signer_receipt

  • Paul Ingrams

    Des, you wicked traitor you! How could you argue against granting full sovereignty to Boris Johnson and Owen Patterson, Iain Duncan-Shite, Govey and the Moggster, Rwedwood and Bone-aparte and the other swivel-eyed Tory loonies? They’re the ruling class, they deserve to rule, even if it’s only a small US prison colony off the coast of Europe. Mr Dacre (with his 56% salary increase to £2.5 mill. – where’s tat money coming from, surely not D Mail sales!) will be cross!

    Seriously, this is a most excellent article, making many good points that my own blog was making as long ago as 2013 and for the past year linking Brexit to billionaire disruptors and the white crusade…. Sadly I have an average daily readership of roughly less than five, but we’ll ignore that.

    Where do I sign?

  • Andy

    Brexit is ruining everything, rumors are that car plants will move out of UK Brexit. Many companies where we live are going to move to EU. UK is breaking apart and it would be left with England and very poor. We voted Brexit but we were fooled by lying politicians leave campaigners. We want to change our vote to remain, but how. this stupid government won’t give us another referendum

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      Not “stupid” government — just incompetent and corrupt. The electorate has repeatedly voted for them, so one might claim “you get the politicians you deserve”.

  • Paul

    It is not just about economics. I ask remainders the following three questions, one – how is policy enacted in the UK? most people from the age of ten upwards can give a reasonable answer, my second question is what has been the biggest policy enacted by the EU? some people come up with the answer the Euro, you know that policy that has left a Mediterranean generation jobless or as graduates working in coffee bars in London and the third question is how is policy enacted in Europe? I have had two correct answers, one from a internationally renowned professor of organisational behaviour and design and other by a civil servant to a former secretary for state for Europe. I have probably asked in a region of 200 plus people, generally educated to a university level (or more). If we organise how we are governed in a manner that only a few understand then when people do not get what they vote for, the’ll blame “the foreigners” “the blacks” “the poles” “the Jews (followed by bankers) or democracy itself. The British Empire was bankrupted and destroyed by fighting the Second World War – that wasn’t about economics, it was doing the right thing.

    • ANGRY_MODERATE

      I don’t know what you think a remainder is: is it the animal that drives Santa’s sleigh?

      And your questions make no more sense, either. Policies are enacted locally. Perhaps you mean how are policies created. A totally different question. So, no, nobody from the age of 10 can answer a meaningless question — whatever you think.

      As for people not knowing what the EU policies are, this is a reflection of the low level of education on the matter across the UK and the lack of proper coverage by news media and schools. One of the chief protagonists of Brexit (Piggy Johnson) was engaged as a second rate journalist a decade ago, and spent his time writing lies and scurrilous anti-EU propaganda, as indeed he also did in the Brexit campaign. So, why are you celebrating UK ignorance? You should be ashamed of it.

  • indierockhead

    Why is this website deleting totally innocuous posts? Open Democracy eh? You Globalist shills should really practice what you preach.

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