Looking for a mirror for the Brexiteers

I am troubled at the moment. I am deeply saddened by the state of our politics and the possible consequences to this. We are blindly walking into a possible self-induced recession and even if this doesn’t happen, we will be poorer as a country for the foreseeable future. And to make matters worse it is all our own doing. So what next?

As brexit reaches its final conclusion how will this play out in the coming years. As Britain falters internationally and becomes poorer what are the likely outcomes for our current decisions.

Immigration will go down. This is already happening and as higher skilled jobs are reduced in the UK, EU immigrants will stop coming to this country. It has been shown in numerous studies that EU workers take jobs that we don’t do. They do not lower wages and do not take jobs from locals. This means when they leave and locals don’t want the low skilled jobs, the jobs will more than likely move with the workforce. A global jobs market. Fewer jobs means less money in the country affecting the supply jobs and services. This happened to devastating effect in the mining & mill towns and they have never recovered. Extend this across the country.

Deregulation: To make this work we will be told to lose our regulations in the workplace to become more competitive. This means losing your workers rights and increasing zero hour contracts. We have the lowest unemployment ever, but this includes anyone working one hour a week. Those contracts do not support families or society but will be pushed as the answer. The attachment shows the devasting effect this can have.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/How_debt_kills

NHS sold off? We are currently hemorrhaging nurses and doctors to the EU, who feel unwanted and abused by our current administration and society. This means the NHS is struggling to function and the only way they can effectively work through these problems is to privatise parts of the system. Once this starts it will be very difficult to stop. The US are desperate to buy into our healthcare and when we are at our most vulnerable the Tories are likely to sell out to these companies and the drug companies increasing costs, to ensure they get a trade deal.

£350 million brexit dividend: The lies that are still peddled about the money we will receive by leaving the EU is incredible. It has been shown that just getting our civil service to replace the EU civil service will cost us more than we pay at the moment. We are losing money as our economy grows at a slower pace and we become less efficient as we don’t have the people who we need to work in the economy. No dividend, just higher costs for the country. Who will pay for this in the end? Less benefits, lower wages, higher food costs. The poor will pay proportionally more and lets not forget, they were the ones who really went for brexit.

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/news/latest/new-report-reveals-cost-brexit

Increased Nationalism: I have often said that when this started, I was no fan of the EU. I did not truly understand how interconnected we were and how much they do for us all. For me, it was about being part of a global nation where we all worked together, with diversity as a strength. We have already seen the abuse foreigners have received and quite frankly it sickens me to see the country become so inward looking. On BBC question time recently, people/immigrants were talked about purely in what they brought financially to the country. Is this the same for all the Indians, West Indians, Australians? Are we just interested in what they brought to us financially or can we recognise that they brought cultural differences which have helped the country to develop into one of the most open, tolerant societies in the world. This is all changing with the brexit movement. Once the blame is pushed onto parts of society for all the problems and they are removed, these poeple will just move onto the next group and the next group. History shows that the bigoted will always blame everyone but themselve. Everyone else will always be the enemy. Where will this stop?

As ever, the rich people in power will ensure that tax loopholes remain and they can stay protected against any of these disturbances. Our society will be become less tolerant and the blame will continue to anyone except the liars who brought us brexit. They will never accept responsibility and the poorest will be hardest hit. I hope I am wrong on this. I don’t see how I can be if we leave with no deal. I still speak to some brexiteers who talk of a nirvani after leaving the EU, yet offer no evidence. Just the statement we are British. I hope this is enough. This once great nation has shot itself not just in the foot but perhaps terminally as Northern Ireland and Scotland look to leave as we did the EU and who can blame them. Then all that will be left is a bunch of English nationalist blaming the world for our demise. Yet all they need is a mirror.

 

The self destructing Baby Boomers: Mark 2

This is my second attempt, as my wife thought the first was a little harsh. So lets try again!

It was interesting to see a recent study showing people believe life in the ‘past’ was better than it is now. Those baby boomers who are forever looking back to their childhood are just disappointed with what they have today. This bitterness hit its ultimate peak when a large majority voted for Brexit.

So, has the generation that ‘never had it so good’, lost it and live in a worse time? I have to say times were simpler in the past. You knew where you were, who you were and what your life would be like, just by knowing where you were born.

The industrial north, from where I originate, allowed a good 20% to attend grammar schools and the rest would work in the factories, mines or mills. You were working class and women stayed at home and the empire ruled. Those certainties in life and the patriotism of the generations of two world wars was a constant reminder of what Britain stood for. For a lot of people these certainties were not barriers but comforts for their lives.

The baby boomers grew up with these certainties. They also grew up with what Britain had achieved in the two wars and an arrogance about the British empire, what it achieved and what it meant to be British in the world. The evil of fascism had been defeated and liberalism was giving freedom and choice to people in this country and abroad. As we became more prosperous, immigrants came in to do the jobs we did not want to do and Women were emancipated.

This is scary for people who do not understand or can influence their surroundings. They feel lost in a country they don’t recognise. This insecurity has been nurtured, manipulated and helped create an atmosphere where we now call Europe our enemy. Where public bodies are the decried and identity politics has meant all reason for some has gone.

This is a political failure of our liberal establishments, who have ignored the poor in this country for too long. They scoffed at the thought we would ever leave the EU and so did not engage and inform on Europe. The Baby boomers who always saw Britain as independent still think we can pick up where we left off. What they fail to remember is that we joined the EEC because we were the sick man of Europe. We were struggling, going to the IMF for loans and although other issues were at play in those times, the EEC was the security we wanted and needed. The conservative manifestos for thirty years all wanted more integrated business relationships (Single Market and CU). Yet all we have focussed on is the negatives and an undemocratic push for greater integration. Our reticence has been right, staying out of the Euro and Schengen, so we can control our borders and finances, but a lack of opportunity to vote on the Lisbon treaty in the UK and a fiddle of the votes on the continent, has meant a suspicion about who controls Europe. Again, this has been exaggerated and democracy is being strengthened within the EU institutions. Like any new democracy, it is not perfect, but arriving at the right place.

The baby boomers, who have seen no war in western Europe, believe they have witnessed a decline in the UK status. No longer a strong independent country, but now just part of a club. Not a single strong voice, but one lost in the voices of the EU. Yet, we were losing this voice anyway and this is the best way to bring peace and prosperity to a wider region and the world.

What we have failed to do is look after the communities that have changed so much and sat back expecting thanks for the changes. Although they are wealthier and living in better housing, the poorest do not see the benefits of the global world. Health and education has improved immeasurable, but they are less likely to take advantage of this as the poorest tend to be the least educated and have the poorest health. They perceive a sneering ruling class looking down on the way they live and reject its advice. This is a failure of the government and the fascists in the UK and US have seized this opportunity. It is easier to blame immigrants and the EU, than tell people if they don’t work hard at school they won’t get the same opportunities. This though is not the EU or immigrants fault, but personal responsibility, to better their life and their children’s. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” JFK (and yourself). Wise words which need saying now, too many in this country expect it all to be done for them.

The Baby boomers are in the twilight of their lives. They have free health. They are richer than any demographic group in the country and they live in a country that has been safe, secure and prosperous within the EU. The uncertainties and freedoms they fought for, could soon be lost as fascism rises and Brexit reduces our ability to have the freedoms the EU has given us. The peoples vote for a second referendum would be an opportunity for this generation to step up and allow future generations to have a better future, with choices. At the moment, they will be passing on a poorer, less tolerant and insular country. Everything past generations fought against.

An Englishman’s castle is his Home.

I am starting to feel sorry for the Englishman. Once he used to rule the waves and now the Scottish have their own parliament. The Welsh have their assembly. They don’t even rule at home anymore as Feminism has brought equality there. These lost souls have been struggling for years to find something they can fight for and so we were given Brexit.

It is interesting how the majority of Brexit voters are white males, lost and fighting their demise into equality. What I find most interesting is the convoluted arguments they make to justify these feelings of hurt, one of which I would like to tackle. Sovereignty.

Sovereignty: The Authority of State to govern itself or another state.

As ever, this is not about fairness or democracy but about power. There are people who feel we are losing our power to influence and control. Yet the move towards shared sovereignty, where we join groups to ease trade, travel and politics, is to give a little away to gain a lot. Are we soon to abandon the UN and its international court of justice? We have moved from fiefdoms, to the first king Egbert in 827, to eventually having a king of England. Wars were a constant blight on England from all parts, stopped by a Union with Scotland. Strength in numbers allows peace, which allows trade, which allows innovation, equality and freedom. This is why Winston Churchill was a driving force for the broken European states to join together after the war to create a trading alliance. He also foresaw that this would eventually become political. It is the logical conclusion to maintain peace and prosperity. Each step in our long history has led one area to lose some sovereignty over themselves, for the greater good of peace. We are currently throwing this away.

So, does the UK even make its own laws anymore? If you listened to the Brexit debate you would think Westminster have been twiddling their thumbs for the last few years as up to 70% of our laws come from the EU. It may not shock you anymore, but this insane use of statistics to manipulate public opinion is simply not true.

The first point to make is that there is a difference between law and regulations. The EU predominantly creates the regulations for Agriculture, Fisheries, external trade and the environment. This is what we joined in 1972, that as a trading bloc we would all follow the same rules. British MEP’s are part of this democratic process to create the regulations. There are many who argue that the common agricultural policy and fisheries have been bad for the UK, but with both, a scientific approach is prevailing and improving the policy. Some may have noticed Cod is back on the menu in the UK and I would suggest poverty in farming is more to do with the supermarkets than the EU, with their subsidies. Even the house of commons library warns “there is no totally accurate, rational or useful way of calculating the percentage of national laws based on or influenced by the EU”*. Therefore when you hear UKIP/Brexiteers say ‘they know’; you know they are lying.

It seems then that the laws that genuinely affect our lives: Welfare and social care, education, criminal law, family law and the NHS have little influence from the EU*. It is the failure of westminster that causes the issues in this country, not Brussels. Except, I hear you cry, the convention of human rights Act in 1998 which has so blighted our country. Without it terrorists would not be free and that european court would not be continually changing our decisions.

This is again wrong. The first mistake is to confuse the European court of Justice (ECJ) with the European court of human rights. Something I did until researching this blog. There is a brief description about the differences in the attached link.

ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/the-court-of-justice/

The ECJ is mainly concerned that the countries within the EU follow the regulations that have been set and queries from this. This is not the courts creating laws for us to follow, just making sure we follow the rules that have been agreed. This will probably make little difference to the hardline brexiteer because they did not make the rules, so they are not fair. We obviously did, just that we agreed them with 27 other nations. A tremendous achievement in my book.

The European court of human rights is independent of the EU and ensures we treat people with equality and respect. I can understand how the ruling class have an issue with equality in terms of gender and race, feeling that they are losing their supremacy must hurt their feelings and ego’s. It is just a shame they were able to hide it behind the sovereignty issue.

So, we have a situation, that as a club we follow the same rules and we have become very successful as a nation being part of this club. From the sick man of Europe in the 1970’s, to ones of its powerhouses all while in the EU. We have the ability to pass laws to affect the nation in the way that will truly support a fair and egalitarian society and if we don’t follow the rules of the club, or we don’t treat people properly then a higher court than our own will tell us to sort it out. We may feel we lose a little of our sovereignty when this happens. Good, we should be treating people properly in the first place. So the questions is; is it worth it? A strong economy, a diverse population, human rights and an empathy for others is enough for me to say yes. I dont think the EU is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is merely 24 years old, compared to the hundreds of years we have had to create our own democratic system. We should be in the EU driving change for all the people of the EU and being a strong voice within. Not allowing ourselves to look back and turn into the sick man again, but worse, sulking in the corner because we can’t have it all our own way.

* Fullfact.org – an independent fact checking website, run on donations if you can support.

 

 

 

Intolerant Britain?

 

It is always interesting how stressful events bring out people’s true nature. A friend of my wife was walking down the street with her children and accidentally bumped into a man and apologised. The obvious reaction is to accept the apology and move on. Yet what happened next unfortunately does not shock me, as it appeared she had managed to randomly bump into a bigot and a racist. This is relevant because she is a British Asian. He first aggressively told her to watch what she was doing, which was an overreaction in itself. But when she asked him not to swear in front of her children, he responded by telling her not to tell him what to do in his country and that he thought ‘we had sorted immigration out’.

It is a revolting story, but unfortunately with BREXIT, it seems to be starting to be a common one. So, are there more racists in the country and why is immigration seen as bad for this country?

Let’s start off with removing the excuses. Immigration is not bad for this country. It has never been bad for this country. I have a couple of graphs that show GDP and immigration in the country over the last 60 years.

GDP

GB GDP 1960-present

 

immigration
GB Immigration 1950-present

Source: World Bank

Now correlation does not mean causation, but the one thing that stands out is that immigration does not affect the economy in a negative way. When immigration is increasing, so does the nation’s wealth, its GDP. Statistics can be used to show many arguments, but the large rise in immigration over the last 20 ways seems to be having a direct impact on the large rise in our GDP. There are obviously more factors than just the number of immigrants, but it would appear it helps. In a recent report*, just before the BREXIT vote, it was shown that immigrants have a net contribution of around $2 billion a year. That only 15% claim tax credits, showing the other 85% earn a good wage, so they are not ALL on low incomes. The report showed this was because nearly half the immigrants have a degree. I remember seeing this report, but it was not highlighted in our mainly pro BREXIT press. It should also be noted that while we had this mass immigration, we also had unprecedented levels of employment as well and the statistical zero unemployment (below 5%). Yet the common misconception is that ‘they’ are taking ‘our’ jobs. This ludicrous suggestion falls flat when evidence shows ‘they’ tend to do the jobs ‘we’ don’t want to do.

Some people like to claim that the public services are put under greater stress because of immigration. Yet industry, the NHS and universities have openly acknowledged that without this immigrant population, we would struggle to even offer basic services or have any growth. So, if there is a failing it is the politicians who have failed to resource the areas that have been impacted by an increase in numbers, such as funding extra doctors, hospital and school places. It is not the immigrants, who are supporting our economy, fault.

Does this mean that I think immigration control in the EU does not need to change? No is the simple answer, but not for the reasons so often reported. Free borders is the desired scenario. When this was conceived, we had 12 stable economies within the EU and so you would never have mass migration. When the eastern bloc countries joined, it should have been expected that people would want to improve their worth and get jobs that paid a decent wage and where they could enjoy that wage. Something we aspire to. For me though this ignores the impact in the departed country. There are now villages in Poland where the demographics show very few young people and the villages are dying. It is also causing issues with their infrastructure with a lack of nurses, doctors and teachers. This is holding the growth of these countries back because the very people who go out and are entrepreneurial are the very people who are likely to leave to follow their dream. This is the only reason we need balance of immigration, with some controls for both countries, and once the economies are balanced, we can then have open borders again.

So, what about this open racism. Are we more racist or at the very least less tolerant of immigration. Who are these people who can attack verbally, or physically, British citizens in the street? They will be white. Male. Likely to be poorly educated on a low wage. They will feel it is someone’s else’s fault that they don’t have much and look for someone to blame. Preferable a female in the street or a lone male when they are with a group. I don’t think there are more of these racists in this country but with the likes of UKIP they have become emboldened and feel justified in their thoughts. An example is the ‘ban the burka’ from the bigoted UKIP Party. Now like all believable lies there is always a small truth to the comments. The first is that with a burka we cannot use our surveillance on individuals who wear them. This is true. Yet if that thought process is continued, we should ban the hoody (the desired clothing for the criminal fraternity who are predominantly English and white), scarves, a variety of hats and even the comedy glasses with fake nose and pop out eyes. Yet these have not been mentioned because the root of the ban is a racist, bigoted thought process. They also throw in that it would help integration. How does attacking a community help integration? How does forcing individuals into doing something, make them integrate and happy in that country? What is needed is dialogue as to why women should feel they are not forced to wear the burka from their own community. That it should be a matter of their choice.

So, the racists are emboldened and the consequences are there to be seen. That is why UKIP is Fascist and should be fought at every turn. We cannot change these people’s minds in the short-term, but they should be too embarrassed to openly abuse anyone whether immigrant or not.

The intolerance though is my biggest concern. When I see twitter and Facebook repeat the lies of the Daily Mail headlines and then follow it with some offensive bile or excuse why they have not got something, I despair. When all the evidence shows that immigration is hugely positive to the economy and culture, why have we been fed lies over the years with the newspapers negative headlines? This again is a failure of our politicians. Complacency from the liberals thinking no one would believe such rubbish. They did. Failure, because it allowed cheap excuses for their and individuals failings. Failure by the regulator for not stamping out the blatant lies printed time and again in the headlines, which is proven for people to just read and make their own presumptions.

Finally, as with any of this, it takes away from what we are actually talking about. It is our humanity. The people who come over here are people. Not immigrants, but people wanting a better life. When I described my wife’s friend as British Asian this was wrong. She and I would describe her as British. She has lived here all her life, been part of the community and is now bringing her children up in this country. She is as British as the rest of us. By putting people in groups without the word human, we do in fact dehumanise them.

We need to remove the cloaks of what we think it is to be British. These people who want to go back to the 1960’s, for whatever delusional reason, forget that we had just fought 2 world wars, not for the white English-speaking population, but for the common values, freedom, equality and democracy. That is the only test of Britishness, not the accent, the colour of their skin or the denomination of their church.

 

*The research report – written by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini from CReAM – provides an in-depth analysis of the net fiscal contribution of EEA immigrants in each fiscal year since 1995 – See more at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1113/05112013-ucl-migration-research-salt-dustmann/#sthash.ggiIueGv.dpuf