New battle lines

Of course, Brexit was never going to be just about leaving the EU. Our internal political system is in turmoil. The fitness for purpose of our democracy is under question. Personal relationships have strained or broken.
Everything we took for granted about our country and our political beliefs is shaken. Britain – or more precisely, England – is in the throes of growing pains.
As soon as you hear someone say “Never since the Norman Conquest has England…..” you know they are defending a castle in the air.
And yet…..there has been no confusion in England as great as this since the Civil War, which was not a simple battle between flashy Europhile Royalists and plain russet-coated English Parliamentarians, but a mess of ideologies, prejudices, opportunism, superstition, nostalgia, pragmatism, courage, cowardice, principles, convictions, compromises and betrayals.
The 17th century English Revolution was a great experiment in republican government. There is nothing great or experimental about Brexit – the right-wing reality is a reactionary coup d’état in the interests of the few, not of the many sincere democrats who voted for it.
There is no coherence, no leadership and no civil disobedience yet. If they come, let’s hope they are not in battalions.
Andrew Carrick Gow Cromwell Dissolving the Long Parliament in 1653.
Oil on canvas, 1907. Auckland Art Gallery. Image: Wikipedia
One of the most tortured bodies in this mess is the Labour Party, the country’s only hope for domestic welfare and the protection of public services, which lost votes in the Election because of the leadership’s fudged Referendum policy, and will be unelectable again if it doesn’t support the Single Market.
 “Two things are now clear: Brexit involves a series of political choices, an our future relationship with the EU will be inferior to the one we currently enjoy. Sitting on the sidelines is therefore not an option.
For the Labour Party, the challenge is huge. The majority of Labour voters backed remaining in the EU, but a significant proportion did not. As a party we campaigned to Remain, and most of us do not believe the challenges facing the country are best solved by leaving – quite the opposite – but since the referendum we have failed to reach
a common and coherent position…
So, the choice is clear. We can sit back and wait for the consequences of a hard Brexit to become so severe that it topples this terrible Tory government.
Or we can stand up for those who will be worst affected and fight for membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.
Future generations will not forgive us for inaction or for perceived complicity in a Brexit that damages our country and our economy.” Catherine West MP
THE VITAL LINKS:

New report: Busting Lexit Myths

The Labour Campaign for a Single Market

and the leaked Government report on the adverse effects of Brexit on Britain


Thank all our gods, he’s here again to cheer up a dreary post: the irresistible Will, of the People:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Manet

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In the light of a cold winter’s day

“The Treasury’s analysis shows that the UK would be permanently poorer if it left the EU”

antarctic-1

Analysis of the long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives has been published by the Treasury.

Details

This document assesses continued UK membership of the EU against the three existing alternative models:

  • membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), like Norway
  • a negotiated bilateral agreement, such as that between the EU and Switzerland, Turkey or Canada
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership without any form of specific agreement with the EU, like Russia or Brazil

The Treasury’s analysis shows that the UK would be permanently poorer if it left the EU and adopted any of these models. Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU. The analysis finds that the annual loss of GDP per household under the three alternatives after 15 years would be:

  • £2,600 in the case of EEA membership
  • £4,300 in the case of a negotiated bilateral agreement
  • £5,200 in the case of WTO membership

The negative impact on GDP would also result in substantially weaker tax receipts, significantly outweighing any potential gain from reduced financial contributions to the EU. After 15 years, even with savings from reduced contributions to the EU, receipts would be £20 billion a year lower in the central estimate of the EEA, £36 billion a year lower for the negotiated bilateral agreement and £45 billion a year lower for the WTO alternative.

Extract from GOV.UK website

Vasily_Vereshchagin_(Russian,_1842-1904)._The_Road_of_the_War_Prisoners,_1878-1879
Vasily Vereshchagin The Road of the War Prisoners, 1878-1879.
Oil on canvas,
Brooklyn Museum. Image source: Wikipedia

Single Trading Nation at Sea

“The tectonic plates of the world economy are shifting. With an independent trade policy, Britain can put itself in a strong position to benefit, opening up access to fast-growing markets across the world.” Liam Fox, in The Financial Times, 11 November, 2017

Ships_at_Spithead_1797The imperial British vision of free trading Ships at Spithead 1797
Image source: Wikipedia

Shame on Britain, shame on all of us if we let it happen

“It is worth your knowing that the proposed agreement [between UK Government and EU] directly affects our family. We now have nowhere our family’s right to stay together and live as as a family is guaranteed.

In the UK, my wife is not, it transpires, eligible for permanent residency, because she didn’t have private health insurance (it’s essential for non-UK EU nationals living in the UK – who knew?) when we had our daughter – and so, in the official view, benefited from NHS support illegitimately (this was not queried at the time, and we were not billed).

As a result of today’s accord, I no longer have the right to live in Italy. It is now discretionary: Italy can make me apply for temporary leave to stay, and reapply for permanent status.

Both I and my wife, despite her native citizenship, would both be subject to systematic criminal checks, and could be deported before appeal. And, worse still, our exercise of free movement to any other EU states is now defined as a “life choice”, not a right. Theresa May has totally caved in on our rights, to save her own face.

It is a shameful day for the Government, and for the UK, for allowing them to get away with it. We were encouraged to be European in our outlook and the practical details of our lives, which we have built around the idea of being citizens of the EU. It will be a bleak day for us all if the European Parliament votes to accept these terms.

Mark Alexander

The impact on EU Citizens residing in the UK of the British Government’s agreement with the EU that ECJ will guarantee their rights for 8 years only, not for life

Scorched Earth

Brexit’s gift basket to you:  barren agriculture and expensive imported fruit. Without freedom of movement, British fruit orchards and vines will rot. The Garden of England will be a wasteland. Outside the Single Market, the growing number of working poor will not be able to afford nutritious fresh food.

“The biggest potential impact of Brexit is on agricultural labour. Kent has had eastern Europeans picking fruit in recent years, but we’ll all starve if the labour issue is not sorted after Brexit….

Brexitbasketfr
Balthasar van der Ast Basket of Fruits c. 1625 Oil on wood, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.
Image source: WGA

“We want a resolution to allow us to have freedom of movement for labour to pick the fruit. This is something that affects all fruit farmers across the south-east of England.

“I’m hoping it will be sorted out and I hope they won’t close the doors, as if there’s no one to pick the fruit, we’ll have to import everything”

Every day brings new evidence that Brexit will only favour the rich, eating and drinking what they like, paying low taxes at the expense of the poor, who will get poorer and unhealthier until they will be seen as sub-human, just as they were centuries ago. Brexit is retrograde and degrading.

Social justice, national health standards and equality of opportunity will be remembered dimly as an Arthurian dream. Our grandchildren will never taste an English apple or pear, and will think strawberries and raspberries were fantasy fruits.

dessert

Post-Brexit Unaffordable Luxuries: English raspberries and blueberries photo © MHP

Brexit risks sustainable and ethical food standards.

If you are British and care about Britain, take a bite out of the fruit of Knowledge and tell your MPs that you don’t want Brexit.

It is an obscenely stupid project, a stinking, rotting fruit that we are all being forced to eat from whether we voted for it or not, whether we’ve had second thoughts or not. It is shameful, humiliating, monstrous that we have brought our country to this nadir.

Abandoning the whole damned thing, licking our wounds, counting the wasted £billions, is better than acquiescing in the scorched earth policy of Brexit.

SamuelPalmergardenatshorehamSamuel Palmer In a Shoreham Garden c 1830 watercolour. VAM. Image source: Wikipedia
THE GARDEN OF KENT BEFORE THE BREXIT FALL

This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Shakespeare, King Richard II

 

Reunite or Self-Destruct

Second Brexit referendum has 16-point lead as half of Britons back new vote, opinion poll shows

Orpheusand EuridiceOrpheus and Euridice by G.F. Watts c. 1890

Humans are selfish by instinct, like all animals. We are narcissistic, like no other animal. We reason, like no other animal. We squander our natural gifts, like no other animal. We are cruel, like no other animal. We have more regrets than any other animal. We cannot bring the people we love back to life but we can make at least one sensible decision for the common good before we die. (Noelle Mackay)

We, the people, must demand another chance to let our true voice be heard, not the one manipulated last year by a reactionary, zenophobic, racist coup d’état.

We must be able to accept or reject the deal being negotiated to Leave the EU.

And, we must be able to reject Brexit entirely. No reasonable person could claim that the EU is perfect; no reasonable person could claim that leaving the EU under the present conditions is anything but catastrophic.

It is time to stop separating personal from universal destiny. We are all implicated.

Whether you voted Leave or Remain, this Brexit is a mess. I’d have written “a dog’s breakfast” for a cheap laugh if it wasn’t an insult to dogs. There are too many cheap laughs in this world at the expense of things we should value.   “Only connect”.

Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy circa 1777 by Thomas Gainsborough 1727-1788
Gainsborough, Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy c 1777. © Tate Gallery.
Is there nothing else than the love of cute animals that can unite people?
Does humanity loathe itself so much that it will extinguish itself?

Only the delusional, or right-wing billionaires planning to turn Great Britain into Little Englanders’ Tax-Haven Ltd, could still want it. The hopes of idealistic Leavers have been betrayed, the worst fears of Remainers have been exceeded by reality.

It is still legally possible to reverse Brexit. Common sense and self-preservation demand it. “In a healthy political culture, this would be a moment for reappraisal” Ian Dunt.

The present Prime Minister has been too weak so far to turn us back from a suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade on a national scale.

horsedelacroixHorse Frightened by a Storm, watercolour by Eugene Delacroix, 1824. Image source: WGA

Our democracy should serve the national interest, not destroy it. If our representatives in Parliament don’t have the guts to revoke Article 50 themselves, we must advise them ourselves through another Referendum – not a second referendum, but the third since 1975.

Last year’s referendum was advisory. A responsible government would never have allowed the public a vote on an unfeasible option. No government is infallible. Nobody is infallible. History will condemn the political leadership of our times – that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook.

If history is about ordinary people, not who and what kings and queens had for breakfast, ordinary people must show the future what a human being should be.

Sovereignty lies in Parliament, not the “Will of the People”, a meaningless slogan unless it includes the right to change our minds. If anyone insists that the 2016 Referendum was binding, then they should consider that the 1975 Referendum to stay in the EU was also binding.

Never again should an elected representative of the people have to say, as Margaret Beckett did, “I believe this will be catastrophic for my constituents, but nonetheless I feel duty‑bound to vote for it.”

Nuts.

In future, recanting MPs might have to put one of their hands in the fire before they betray the interests of the people.

Our generation is seeing the British dream turned into a nightmare created by ourselves. STOP IT.  Brexit will be the worst mistake ever made by a modern democratic nation.

Let’s stop Brexit. 

Bored with Brexit? Tough. I’d have given up this blog, ranting at an audience of two, if it wasn’t for the biggest cause of in our lifetimes. It’s not just British lives that Brexit will ruin. The fate of nations is in our hands.

Stop Brexit, I’ll stop boring you.

girl withcageripplRippl-Rónai, Girl with Cage 1892 Oil on canvas
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest.
Image: WGA

Wanted: 24 Heroes and Heroines

IF YOUR’E A CONSERVATIVE MP
AND NOT NUTS,

SAVE BRITAIN NOW

“The Conservative party is the most successful party in the democratic world, precisely because their reputation is that they don’t go nuts and become ideologically zealous…..all it would take here is a couple of dozen brave Conservative MPs.”
(Nick Clegg in conversation with Richard Thaler, The Guardian)

Does the judgment of posterity matter nothing in the age of instant fame? Can’t the reluctant Mythical Tory Saviours be moved (I just deleted ‘bribed’) by sugar-coated promises of everlasting fame and glory? They can be put into an exclusive club, and have as many titles and honours and free canapes and wet towels and holidays on private islands and TV appearances as they want in return for saving Britain by saying “Sorry, I was Wrong”.

Why is it easier to lead millions of people into hell than admit you made a mistake?

“There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense”
Jonathan Swift, in The Tatler No. 63 (September 1709)

9 heroes and heroinesMaster of the Castello della Manta Nine Heroes and Nine Heroines (detail with seven figures) 1411-16 Fresco Sala Baronale, Castello della Manta, Saluzzo. Image source: WGA

FIGHT BREXIT – SAVE BRITAIN – STOP BREXIT

Brexit is NOT inevitable