Labour, Brexit, and the Left-Wing Revolt Against Global Elites

June 27th, 2016

Among the more interesting storylines to emerge after the Brexit vote was how Labour blew it. Despite having a leadership far more Europhilic and in favor of transnational statist government than even Tory insiders, Labour’s support of Remain was markedly tepid, starting right at the top with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

Less than a month before the historic EU referendum, the team assembled by Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union was worried about wavering Labour voters and frustrated by the opposition leader’s lukewarm support. Remain campaign operatives floated a plan to convince Corbyn to make a public gesture of cross-party unity by appearing in public with the prime minister. Polling showed this would be the “number one” play to reach Labour voters.

Senior staff from the campaign “begged” Corbyn to do a rally with the prime minister, according to a senior source who was close to the Remain campaign. Corbyn wanted nothing to do with the Tory leader, no matter what was at stake. Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister whom Cameron vanquished in 2010, was sent to plead with Corbyn to change his mind. Corbyn wouldn’t. Senior figures in the Remain camp, who included Cameron’s trusted communications chief Craig Oliver and Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign guru, were furious.

So to Corbyn, a vote many in Labour leadership regarded as the most important in their lifetime took a backseat to his bitter hatred of even appearing with the Tories. “An old school socialist, the Labour leader had in the past attacked the EU as an undemocratic, corporatist conspiracy that threatened workers’ rights. He never looked the part to save Cameron in a referendum the Conservative leader brought on himself.”

From the same piece:

Hardened by close-run contests in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and last year’s general election, the strategists running Stronger In decided to follow the playbook that worked in those campaigns, particularly the 2015 Conservative sweep, and focus mainly on economic security.

It failed spectacularly. The depth of public anger over the influx of workers from other EU countries, and more broadly the rejection of political and business elites, was more significant than they had anticipated.

Also this:

Internal polling found just weeks before June 23 one in five Labour voters did not know the party’s position in the referendum. As party aides canvassed voters around the country, they discovered a deep well of concern about immigration.

Labour leadership no doubt found it quite shocking that so many traditional Labour strongholds voted in favor of Brexit. There were also a small but notable number of Labour MPs who supported Brexit. Some hail from those same hinterland locales that voted for Brexit, and thus could be said to actually represent the wishes of their constituents (try to contain your shock).

But Labour MP Kate Hoey represents a constituency smack dab against the south bank of the Themes in central London, an area that voted heavily to Remain. Yet Hoey was an early and notable voice for Brexit:

I’m tired of people thinking that only those on the right of politics are Eurosceptic. This is far from true.

The reputation of the EU has fallen sharply among many on the Left. The sight of the EU establishment imposing unprecedented levels of austerity on Greece was a real wake-up call. This was not a benign political institution guaranteeing social protection and international solidarity, but an unaccountable force bringing crippling pain on a people who cannot hope to repay the loans that are recapitalising their banks.

Meanwhile, the EU is willing to require ever-greater sacrifice to living standards in order to keep the Euro and the wider European “Project” moving forwards. Ever closer Union is what is on the tin – and even if the words are removed to satisfy the Prime Minister, the contents will still be the same.

The Labour Party has traditionally had a sceptical view of the European institutions. From Attlee to Foot, and until the late 1980s, Labour was predominantly Eurosceptic – but then, following three Thatcher victories, many on the Left looked desperately to Europe to block her policies. Wise Labour voices like Peter Shore and Tony Benn, however, argued that democratic faith in the wisdom of the public was a better guarantor than the benevolence of transitory political elites. They have been proved right as the EU is no longer motivated by Jacques Delors’ ‘Social Europe’, but is increasingly out of touch with the needs of its people.

Familiar voices try to scare us into believing that leaving the EU would ruin the UK, but these are the same people who told us that we had to join the Euro or face disaster. We stayed out of the Euro and have therefore been spared much of the chaos of that unsustainable currency – but we still give £7.3 billion net a year of our money to the EU.

How can we protect civil liberties when the EU forces on us unaccountable extraditions through the European Arrest Warrant? How can we ensure the jobs and growth that we need when vital contracts for work go to preferred bidders on the continent and not to British firms? How can we preserve and improve our public services when the Services Directives help force the privatisation of the Royal Mail and EU rules against state aid will make it almost impossible to renationalise the railways? TTIP is a gift to the multi-national corporations. I don’t trust the EU to negotiate on our behalf, and I certainly don’t trust it to be on the side of small businesses or Trade Unions.

The Labour Party is looking at radical policies to tackle the problems in our country. We need to take back real control from the unelected and unaccountable European Commission if we are to have a chance of implementing any of these.

My politics are very far indeed from those of Hoey, but she’s not wrong. Greece’s government may have brought upon the crisis by spending radically more money than they took in even after it became apparent they were going broke, but the EU responded in exactly the way described. It was born as an undemocratic organization, a fact the Euro crisis finally made apparent even to the those on the left, with the decisions of democratically elected officials overruled by unelected bureaucratic elites. And the self-serving agendas of those elites tend to be at odds with the goals of both left and right.

The question isn’t why Hoey supported Brexit, but why so many Labour MPs didn’t.

Other Brexit News:

  • Eight Labour shadow ministers quit.
  • You know who had a good day after the Brexit vote? Nigel Farage. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “In the end, it came down to the issue of immigration. The British people wanted to reclaim their nation. They wanted their nation to be their nation. They did not want it to turn into Germany. They wanted the hordes of immigrants camped out in Calais to stay in Calais. They had had had enough with British girls being ‘groomed’ by Muslim men.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Instapundit on the Brexit: “A lot of people felt powerless, and the political system not only didn’t address that, but seemed to glory in it.”
  • David Stockman sees Brexit not only as a revolt against the EU, but against the entire world financial elite’s low interest rate regime. “The ECB will soon be embroiled in an existential crisis as the centrifugal forces unleashed by Brexit tear apart the fragile consensus on which Draghi’s lunatic monetary experiments depended.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • As soon as the Brexit vote was announced, the EU announced that they were coming after people’s toasters and tea kettles. (Ditto.)
  • The previous Megan McArdle piece on Brexit was good. This one is even better:

    The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.

    Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

    In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit….

    A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia.

  • I’m always up for a good Morlock reference. And if you haven’t read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine (which you should, because it’s a great novel), that analogy is more apt than you know. In Wells’ novel, the Morlocks were the underground race that actually ran things, the ones that maintain the machinery the Eloi depended on to live. Just like those inbred redneck freaks from JesusLand (or, to use a UK analogy, those Northern monkeys), the Morlocks are the essential population that keep things running, not the beautiful, useless Eloi.

    Leland Yee Prison Update

    June 25th, 2016

    This is slightly oldish news. If you follow this blog, you know that former California Democratic State Senator Leland Yee was was sentenced to five years of prison after pleading guilty to one count of racketeering. However, until today I was not aware where he ended up doing his time, assuming he would be sent to one of the many federal prisons in California.

    Nope. Actually ended up at FCI Ft. Worth, a low-security prison (maybe that was part of his plea agreement).

    Brexit Aftershocks

    June 24th, 2016

    It’s shaping up to be an interesting day:

  • Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning. “Mr Cameron announced shortly after 08:15 BST that he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.” Current favorite to replace Cameron is pro-Leave MP Boris Johnson.
  • Under terms of the Lisbon Treaty, it will take about two years to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • World markets are going crazy.
  • The Pound Sterling is at its lowest exchange rate in 30 years.
  • Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted heavily to stay in the EU, while Leave won pretty much everywhere else, including Wales. Now there’s talk of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
  • Euroskeptic parties across the continent are calling for their own independence votes.
  • Obama continues to demonstrate his magic touch at persuasion.
  • I would say the panic selling is largely unwarranted; there’s no reason that UK can’t negotiate an orderly exit from the EU and continue to participate in the European Economic Area the way that Norway and Switzerland do now. There was talk before the Brexit vote that the EU wouldn’t go along with this out of spite, but if the endless Greece crisis has shown, Eurocrats negotiate their non-negotiable demands all the time, and I doubt even Angela Merkel is willing to put Europe through a deep recession (which is to say, deeper even than the current one the Euro seems to have engendered in perpetuity) just to “teach the UK a lesson.”

    More later…

    Brexit Wins

    June 23rd, 2016

    BBC News just called the election for Brexit. “UK votes to leave European Union with 309 out of 382 results declared.”

    No time to do instant-analysis tonight, but markets will undoubtedly be in panic-rollercoaster mode tomorrow. This will pass, but there’s a real risk this is the event that pishes the world into the cyclical recession that’s been looming for years now. Let’s hope not.

    More tomorrow.

    Could Brexit Win? Update: Leave Up By 800,000 Votes

    June 23rd, 2016

    Short answer: Yes.

    Medium Answer: Answer cloudy, ask again later.

    Early tidings were that “Remain” was polling ahead, enough so that even UKIP head Nigel Farage said it looked likely that Remain would pull out a win. But the “Leave” vote seems to be outperforming in areas where “Remain” was expected to be strong, and I’m not seeing any areas where the reverse is true.

    Looks like its going to be a long night for global market watchers…

    Update: Leave is currently up by About 800,000 votes. Including Wales which is, I think, a significant surprise.

    This Week in Clinton Corruption for June 23, 2016

    June 23rd, 2016

    This week’s roundup of Clinton Corruption is being headlined by Guccifer 2.0 revelations. The stuff released so far is interesting, but (and I say this as someone who thinks Hillary Clinton should be in prison) pretty weak sauce.

    Oh sure, it’s nice to have documented proof that the DNC and the media were out to support Clinton and to screw Bernie Sanders, but everyone already knew that.

    There are dozens of Clinton shoes (especially from Hillary’s own email server and the Clinton Foundation) still to drop…

  • Leaked Memo Teaches Clinton Staffers How To Break Campaign Finance Laws And Get Away With It (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Rush Limbaugh thinks that Donald Trump’s speech slamming Clinton’s corruption was effective. “She is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”
  • Here’s the text of that speech. Excerpt:

    Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft.

    She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.

    Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public.

    Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001.

    They totally own her, and that will never change.

  • Clinton’s incompetence caused the State Department to turn off email protection for State systems to accommodate her. Interestingly, the sentence “They were trying urgently to resolve an apparent conflict between the server’s built-in email delivery features with a version of “ScanMail for Exchange” security software from Trend Micro Inc. that had been installed on her server.” has been removed from the original AP story…
  • “Clinton IT specialist invokes 5th more than 125 times in deposition.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Judicial Watch Releases State Department Inspector General Investigation Records Related to Hillary Clinton Emails.” But I’m not seeing a “Download here” link… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • National Review Does Buc-ee’s

    June 22nd, 2016

    I can hardly resist throwing up a link to this Kevin D. Williamson National Review piece on Buc-ee’s, can I?

    Over the weekend, I stopped to buy gas at a Buc-ee’s in Bastrop, Texas, and was greeted by (in addition to a man dressed as a giant aquatic rodent) an A-frame sign advertising Buc-ee’s version of the minimum wage: cashiers, $12 to $14 an hour; food-service and car-wash help, $13 to $15 an hour; team leaders, $14 to $17 an hour; assistant, $17 an hour and up. Each job came with three weeks paid time off each year, which employees are welcome to use, roll over, or exchange for cash. If you want 40 hours a week, there’s 40 hours a week to be had; if you want more than 40 hours a week, that can happen, too.

    Everyone’s needs vary, of course, and I am not among those who believe that a two-income household is ideal for every situation. But I also believe that you can raise a family decently on $70,000 a year in Bastrop, where you can buy a perfectly serviceable house for less than $100,000 and where a nice, new one keeps you under the usual 2.5-times-your-income rule. Assuming a couple of raises and a bit of overtime, a married couple both working at a gas station could bring home something close to a six-figure income between them.

    He mentions the kolaches but not the fudge. He also omits something the non-Texan audience wouldn’t be aware of, namely of just how large Buc-ee’s is; the Bastrop location is bigger than most supermarkets…

    Shotgun Brexit Megapost

    June 22nd, 2016

    Imagine that there’s a thoughtful, in-depth introduction here that explains the pros and cons of the Leave and Stay positions.

    You’ll have to imagine it, because I have no time to write it and the vote’s tomorrow. Instead, have a quick-and-dirty shotgun scatter of Brexit links.

  • The economic case for Brexit. “The European project is controlled by statists and the one good thing it provides (free trade between members) is easily overwhelmed by the negative things it imposes (protectionism against outsiders, tax harmonization, horrible agriculture subsidies, bad fisheries policy, etc).” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Britain Doesn’t Need the EU to Thrive. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The fight over Brexit is symptomatic of a much larger crisis facing out-of-touch elites on both sides of the Atlantic.” More:

    The European Union’s bureaucracy and paper-parliament were set up to be as insulated as possible from the concerns of actual voters. Representatives to the European Parliament are selected by party elites as a kind of highbrow patronage. They invariably defer to the permanent bureaucracy, which acts like a transnational cartel, one that happens to be composed of governments. As Daniel Hannan, the rare Euroskeptic skunk to infiltrate the garden party that is the EU parliament, put it, “faced with a choice between democracy and supra-nationalism, the EU will always choose supra-nationalism.”

  • Elites ignore the populist revolt against them at their peril.
  • “A substantial portion of the Leave campaign views the referendum as a rigged process and the EU as conspiring behind the backs of the British people to launch a new round of integration.”
  • Everyone knows the Brexit vote is a sham.
  • A generally good piece about the myths of both sides of the Brexit debate, but when he tags Geert Wilders as a “genuine fascist,” he’s talking out his ass.
  • Brits buying gold.
  • Here’s a debate between UK Tory PM David Cameron and UKIP head Nigel Farage on the subject:

  • Finally, here’s Brexit: The Movie, a 71 minute film that lays out the case for the UK leaving the EU. Haven’t watched any but a tiny bit of either of these videos, but offer them up here as a public service.

  • This Week in Jihad for June 21, 2016

    June 21st, 2016

    This is more like “this last two months in Jihad,” it’s been so long since I did an update. But there’s a whole host of Orlando updates, and a lot of other jihad-related news, so let’s dig in.

  • “My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” I’m reminded of Gene Wolfe’s The Citadel of the Autarch, where there’s a character named Loyal to the Group of Seventeen.
  • And of course, this is after the Obama Administration’s FBI initially tried to release a censored transcript of Omar Mateen’s 911 call removing all mention of the Islamic State.
  • They even tried to change “Allah” to “God”. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instaundit.)
  • “The Obama administration and the liberal media have decided that when a radical Islamic terrorist kills Americans, the one thing the narrative cannot be about is radical Islamic terrorism….In fact, the reason that the administration and the media are so intent on downplaying the role of Islam is because they are afraid that if they told the truth, people might vote Republican in November.”
  • An early entry in the timeline on just how badly the FBI farked up the Mateen investigation.
  • Evidently the FBI dropped the investigation immediately after Mateen played the Islamophobia card.
  • And that was even after Mateen threatened to have al-Qaida kill a sheriff’s deputy and his family. Mateen didn’t have warning signs, he had warning billboards…
  • If you hadn’t already heard, Mateen was at the very least bijihad curious.
  • He also checked Facebook to see if he was trending during the massacre.
  • London’s new mayor and Muslim child rape in the UK. Zero Hedge offers a month of UK jihad news.
  • “At some point we’ll have a president who cares about destroying ISIS.” Clearly we don’t have one now… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Bahrain strips Sheikh Isa Qassim, the country’s leading Shiite cleric, of his nationality for being too cozy with Iran. Is this something? Maybe. Bahrain’s royal family is Sunni, they’re not quite the scumbags the Saudi and Qatar royal families are, and there’s a significant American military presence there.
  • Muslims attack Radiohead listening party in Istanbul. Cause I’m a creep…
  • Facebook bans gay magazine critical of Islam.
  • Speech by Milo Yiannopoulos at University of Central Florida in Orlando cancelled because police couldn’t guarantee his safety. One wonders if police in Orlando are capable of protecting anyone at all…
  • From here on down it’s mostly old news, but maybe you didn’t read it the first time around.

  • Two month old Mark Steyn column on Germany’s cowardice in prosecuting that comedian who made fun of Turkey’s scumbag Islamist president? Yeah, because it’s still worth reading if you haven’t already.
  • Islamic State’s brutality makes Kurds abandon Islam for Zoroastrianism. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Taliban kill over 60 in Kabul. They were evidently targeting Kabul’s VIP security team. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Woman hitchhiking to prove Muslims are peaceful raped and murdered in Turkey. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Muslims riot in Greece.
  • The Islamic State is openly recruiting members at the employment office in Malmo, Sweden. (Hat tip: Blazing Cat Fur.)
  • Is Saudi Arabia reigning in their religious police?
  • “100% Cotton” Means “10% Polyester” in China

    June 20th, 2016

    Here’s a lesson in caution when buying Chinese-made goods in the global marketplace.

    When it comes to the clothes I wear I’m both particular and cheap. I only wear 100% cotton, because Polyester and other artificial materials irritate my skin. I keep hearing that the new “polyfine” materials feel better, but every time I try to put on a poly/cotton shirt, I instantly go “Nope!” and take it off.

    Since I live in Austin (and work in high tech, where I can get away with it), I tend to wear cargo shorts in the spring, summer and fall. I used to buy them at Academy, but they haven’t had any 100% cotton cargo shorts in black the last few times I dropped by.

    So I did what everyone does when they can’t buy something locally: I bought from Amazon.

    Here are the precise shorts I ordered: All black, the right look, under $20 and 100% cotton.

    Or so the Amazon listing said:

    Amazon Shorts

    So I ordered them, and a few weeks later I get them shipped straight from China. Upon arrival, I see these tags:

    Shorts Tags

    (Note that nowhere on the Amazon page did it list “Gaok and Congs” as the manufacturer.) And this is the only material label inside the shorts:

    Shorts Label2 1

    I can’t read Chinese, but I had a firm suspicion what 聚酯纤维 meant in English, and an Internet search confirmed my suspicions. What Amazon sold as “100% cotton” were actually 10% polyester fiber.

    There’s always been a bit of caveat emptor when buying goods manufactured abroad, but one of the roles of traditional middle men was verifying the quality and content of goods before accepting them for sale. Amazon’s business model effectively eliminates that quality control role, letting consumers buy directly from global suppliers. This saves money, but frequently Chinese suppliers are willing to forgo such niceties as telling the truth about their products