Saturday, 11 June 2016

Brexit referendum campaign thoughts

To simplify wildly the main current in liberal-left thought is universalist. We believe that rights are for everyone. Logically we are committed to the position that a new immigrant to Britain, for instance, should be as entitled to benefits and public services as a British citizen born and bred here. Large chunks of the British electorate could not disagree more. They are communitarians. They believe that natives should have greater rights; that you have to belong before you can receive."

Nick Cohen

'It isn’t important whether you win or lose, so long as you survive. So long as your people survive. And that’s the only good reason for fighting that anyone ever invented. The survival of your people and race and kind. That’s the only victory that matters.'

Sir Harry Flashman (from 'Mr American' by George MacDonald Fraser)

SMILE at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget.
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.

G.K. Chesterton

What people like Polly don't seem to realise is that, rather like at the end of Animal Farm, her beloved bourgeois left crowd and the Neoliberals have become so similar as to be indistinguishable.

Comment on a Polly Toynbee article online


  1. If more people were educated enough to properly know what the EU actually does, they'd be totally against it.

    However, half-educated people ....people who don't understand that tariff zones were shown to be a bad idea in the 1840s so don't grasp that the whole of the EU has been built on a mistaken premise ....people who feel they are highly educated but don't understand why Continental-style Roman/Napoleonic law and French-Revolution-style "human rights" support police states while English Common Law _weakens_ state power and secures genuine freedom. Those people like it, and are deeply sure of themselves in liking it.

    In terms of the very confident half-educated - a broad middle-class mass who rule Europe, the EU is a very good thing.

    So sadly it's only a very few people with broader and richer educations who are against. Plus a large number with no education at all, but who sense, perhaps incoherently, that the consensus behind the Civil-Code-based tariff zone that is the EU is mistaken.

    The people in the middle, supremely confident that they are educated, are the ones who believe they understand the EU.

    They are the ones who staff it, who support it, and who condescendingly look down on the people they are amused (or "saddened") to note do not share their view.

    Mark Griffith

  2. I am so happy I am obviously less intelligent and uneducated compared to you Mark

    , oh sorry that should have been an AHA calling you a pompous, sanctimonious prig with an overinflated view of your own pseudo intellect.
    I read some Tripe from the Brexit camp but nothing quite as puerile as that load of offal you serve up as a comment.

    If anywhere is operating without a democratic mandate at the moment it is the UK with 11% of the populace calling the shots and Parliament that would happily suspend all human rights if it favoured security and the status quo.
    As for the economic implications I'll try and drag my obviously not a full professor only a doctorate Neanderthal brain and it's simple functions into some life and challenge you to justify your statement that tariffs don't work.

    1. Dear Paul, don't worry about quoting me here a bit out of context, even if it _has_ upset someone I've never met!

      // PaulChristopher, your belief in French-Revolution-style "human rights" confirms the way you describe yourself, since the Continental style of human rights are beloved of police states, and - as Isiah Berlin noted - strengthen the state instead of weakening it as do the much preferable traditional civil liberties we had in Britain until Blair started throwing them out of the window (eg double jeopardy, the right not to be tried twice for one crime).

      If you're really unaware that tariffs cause harm both to the country using them, and to outsiders, then you're in very broad company, PaulChristopher. This was the point of the debate over the Corn Laws which is what I meant about the 1840s, but
      for example, most cabinet ministers in most EU countries would agree with you.

      They fail to understand that this is why Britain continues to grow faster, both before and after joining the trade cartel.

      Ricardo's model of comparative trade (used to persuade people during the Corn Laws debate), viewed as completely solid by mainstream economists, clearly predicts that tariffs of the kind that the EEC/EU is designed around will cause higher unemployment and lower growth than those countries would otherwise have. Many, perhaps most, countries only joined the EU because they were bullied into it by the EU tariffs shutting out their goods. That was certainly the case for Britain and Denmark.

      French economics disagrees with Ricardo, and they have a conception of broadly-described "human rights" (which therefore don't protect citizens against states as well as English civil liberties). However, the fact that a country as naturally rich as France has 10% unemployment and riots because the government understands that their "human-rights"-based labour laws need to be reformed might make curious people question their ideas on trade and law.

      The euro currency itself - the prize project of the EU - is deeply thick, and this has caused appalling and unnecessarily high levels of unemployment all across the Union since at least the mid-1980s. Britain stayed out of this prestige boondoggle with great difficulty, and we were repeatedly insulted as being "bad Europeans" for not joining the doomed currency union, yet of course we were right all along, as evidence is now getting clearer by the month.

      The people who run the EU that I above refer to above as "very confident half-educated" have it seems yet to work out that British doubts about the euro were correct from the start. Of course creation of the euro itself was spurred mainly by French reaction to Britain pulling out of the Suez invasion in 1956 under US forex pressure on sterling, so it is redlined as "strategic" and therefore beyond criticism, intelligent or otherwise. //

  3. David in Banja Luka12 June 2016 at 21:05



    You lost your rag there!

    In your rage, spelling, punctuation and grammar, all went for a burton :).

    A pity you couldn't rebut Mark Griffiths post without abuse - always the last resort of the incompetent.

  4. He is usually angry - I am usually on the receiving end. Still let's try to be pleasant.

  5. Oh that’s awfully unfair Paul, I think I’m only angry with you up to half the time, and to date I have resisted the punch to the face when we have met. As for you David, I don’t think I need to bother with abuse as you seem to have that in hand yourself.

    Mark don’t worry about me either I’m perfectly sure with your attitude to lesser beings you annoy many people you’ve never met.

    My apologies for all in my delay in reply to MG’s kind response to my challenge., however I was stuck in the grubby business of making money and engaging in trade in the real world. Sordid, I know.

    While I’m aware of Ricardo's ideas and his work and it’s perhaps slightly adapted usage by Cobden and Bright to support their arguments in support of free trade, I don’t think they were anything but peripheral to the repeal of the Corn laws, that was political expediency to prevent a general election, which backfired with the reading of the ICB on the same night. Oh yes , I think I see a glimmer of relevance to the current situation.

    However your arguments are still based on the same logical fallacies they espoused in favour of their Dark Satanic Mill owner sponsors, who understandably simply wanted to create wealth, mostly for themselves of course ,by cutting the price of bread and thus the level of wages they could pay and still have a functional workforce that didn't slow things down getting arms stuck in looms through hunger induced delirium, that could be producing cloth for the World and Empire. Ricardo was a theoretical genius and a formidable intellect to a point, he was doomed by his own slavish adherence to his own dogma and disdain for the real world problems it created.
    However I digress , as I recall Ricardo placed three conditions for free trade to create mutual benefit:

    Capital must not be allowed to cross borders from a high wage to a low wage country

    Trade between participating countries must be balanced

    Each country must have full employment.

    Hmm what a quandary , since none of these conditions exist anywhere at the moment ( or then ) and since every country is pursuing an imbalance of trade in their favour, especially the UK it’s a shame the real world spoils a beautiful theory.

    it would of course be fine, if everything could be produced everywhere at the same time under the same conditions of production, oh hang on that doesn't happen does it? Tomatoes ripen in Spain under the eyes of low cost labour while poor old Denmark and it’s highly paid labour force still shivers and dreams of salad. Chinese Steel is not produced to either the same standards of quality, safety or environmental performance as Welsh or German. Without tariffs within the EU zone we would have been more flooded than we have been, retaining only as we do the quality specialist end. Without tariff barriers to entry all of those global car makers who have come to the EU from the States and Japan would have shifted their entire production to China long ago to shorten the supply chain and benefit from the low manufacturing cost. For low manufacturing costs read people who are prepared to accept less to fill the profit line because they have no other choice. I’m a little tired tonight to continue onto the Euro and Capital controls,
    but I’m only a Human Dark Satanic Mill owner.

  6. One last point though Mark, I saw your uneducated mass or as Burke would have put it ' Swineish Multitude' exercising their rights of Mobocracy in Marseilles and find the idea that you grant them some innate naive revelatory ability as to the effects of tariff zones on their blighted lives hilarious.

    Still theoretical economists and Ultra's have always been happy bedfellows and whichever way Brexit goes there will be a hell of a rent to pay for the exercise.

  7. I am to blame. Mark commented on this on Facebook and was replying to someone who in a very haut en bas way said that intelligent people favoured staying In. I copied his remarks. He is not at at all an intellectual snob and suffers fools very gladly. I see you argue for protectionism - yet people complain when Trump favours it.
    As for Marseilles football riots, they was the kind of violent young Englishmen who won at Crecy. They were provoked by Russians.

  8. I argue for a rather messy halfway house form of protectionism, with none at all within the EU not the full blown American writes all the rules type espoused by Trump, with it's states exceptions and California's aims of drawing 20% of the worlds profits into it's coffers, were it a nation state it would already be heading for one of the most successful per capita ever, soon to hit number one to the detriment of all others including it's host.
    You know my usual stance on Russians and that's simply not the case a great number went prepared to fight, I have commented before about Thackery's pickpockets and cut throats used by Princes to do their business in the world, and had I seen our own young Harry leading the charges, beer bottle in hand against the French lines in this Shakespearean anniversary year instead of attending his Grandmothers birthday celebration it might have raised a patriotic glow even in this cold breast , however all I saw was a bunch of mindless thugs bent on destruction, which I suppose is why 97% of them support Brexit rather than the higher reasons Mark grants them. They may have been Harry's rough shod men, but the French police were the same French who repelled Abd ar Rahman at Tours, I thought given the current existential threat and your wider thoughts for Europe you might have celebrated that instead, though reports on Tours might have led to as much confusion in the British or Russian press
    " the men of the north stood as motionless as a wall" reported a monk at the scene "they were like a belt of ice together , and not dissolved as they slew the arabs with sword and axe in a single day"

    However the muslim chroniclers called it differently , while conceding defeat " The hearts of Ahd and his captains were full of pride and wrath and they began the fight and dashed the ranks of the Franks, many going down until the setting of the sun when both armies were parted by night but in the grey of the morning the moslem knights returened and hewed their way into the crusaders midst"

    Two reports on the same hooligan fight, Martell won and wrote the european history and with Marsailles each side has written theirs. Being an apologist for their actions by dressing them up as heirs in this Agincourt year rather than thugs does little to endear yourself to me. Of course why neither Farage, Johnson or your beloved Gove have condemned their actions outright ( and neither would Trump ) is they know they rely on their votes.

  9. That's a very disgraceful thing to say about UKIP, Johnson and Gove. It seems to me that it is you not Mark Griffith who is the snob. You seem full of anger whenever you write here.
    I have always distrusted the EU - it's not for free trade just for a superstate and internal free trade is an attribute of states. A European superstate might work but we do not belong in it.

  10. You know what , I think I am a snob when I see mindless violence enacted and demagoguery used to justify it, Farage was placed at the head of the queue because when questioned on twitter in fact acted somewhat as the schoolboy protaganist " well they started it" * for " they " read anyone not British and therefore implicitly untrustworthy, then roll out the " x " spirit for X insert , Dunkirk, Crecy, Normandy, Jutland or Balaclava whichever seems most appropriate. Though he stopped short of being stripped naked to the waist, beer bottle cross of St George resplendent but camouflaged on his pink flesh shouting " come on lads let's give those Frogs and Bolshies a taste of British spunk "

    No what I saw was a as usual a bunch of beer powered low brow thugs ( as opposed to high brow thugs like me ) who went out looking for violence and confrontation and found it, except this time in the end they were the ones who fled the mele crying foul for England a sorry bunch of heirs to the Hundred years war . I'm rather glad I stayed abed.

    1. Sigmund Freud said this.
      "Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbour is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favourable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien."

  11. I agree completely, I am fearful of UKIP because I feel that base self preservation and this almost cartoon version of real world Sovereignty, in a trans national age is actually a retrograde step for Britain and when harnessed by those of other motives will eventually lead to great hardship , as was the case with Britains small farmers after the repeal of the corn laws.


  13. You're really rather petty Paul removing that comment then appropriating the quote. I would have given you more credit up until that point.

  14. I decided not to allow personal insults on this blog. Since you don't like it I have removed the words of Lord Russell too.

  15. The Marseille prosecutor, Brice Robin, said 150 Russian hooligans behind much of the violence that broke out in the city before the England v Russia game were “trained to fight”.

    Robin spoke after a weekend of violence in the host city for the European Championship Group B match on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

    The prosecutor said he did not think the Russian hooligans were “professional” but they “were extreme”. There were 12,000 Russian fans in Marseille who travelled to the city by train, he said.

    “There were 150 Russian supporters who in reality were hooligans,” Robin said. “These people were well prepared for ultra-rapid, ultra-violent action. These are extremely well-trained people.”

    About 35 people have been injured, including a 50-year-old English fan who was left in a critical condition with severe brain injuries after being attacked by Russia supporters armed with iron bars.

    Robin said while “almost of those who were wounded were British,” England supporters were also responsible for some of the violence. He said 20 people have been arrested – including a 16-year-old England fan – and 10 of them (six Britons, an Austrian and three French) will face immediate trial.

  16. Oh no! Don't tell me Russian hooligans are superior to English ones. It must be the fault of Western decadence.
    Like the league tables for literacy, numeracy and happiness, our hooligans have plummeted to mediocre third world levels. Only Brexit can ensure our triumphal march back up the table to 93rd place.