Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’

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

Monday, 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.

    Brexit Aftershocks

    Friday, 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…

    Shotgun Brexit Megapost

    Wednesday, 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.

  • Tories Win Outright Majority in UK Elections

    Friday, May 8th, 2015

    David Cameron’s Conservative Party won an outright majority in parliamentary elections and will be forming the next government. Labour, after having managed to piss off almost everyone during last year’s vote on Scottish independence, was essentially wiped out in Scotland, all but one of their MPs replaced by candidates from the Scottish National Party, and right now is losing 26 seats. The Liberal Democrats were all but wiped out elsewhere, losing 48 seats, and UKIP managed nearly four million votes, but only a single parliamentary seat.

    These were not the results which most pollsters foresaw, none of which saw the Tories getting more than 285 seats. Between this and the Israeli election results, it’s almost as if media pollsters have a systematic bias in favor of the big government parties favored by media elites…

    Will Cameron govern more conservatively with an outright majority now that he no longer needs the rump of the Liberal Democrats in a coalition? Possibly. But if he reneges on his promise to hold a referendum on EU membership no later than 2017, expect to see a huge backlash against his leadership.

    Update: Final count is 331 Conservative MPs.

    Ukraine/Euromaidan Afternoon Update

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    Events in Ukraine are galloping at a furious rate:

  • Death toll currently at 26.
  • Yanukovych moves toward declaring martial law, though in the thinly disguised form of “anti-terror operations.”
  • He also just fired his army chief, presumably because he wasn’t keen on gunning down fellow Ukrainians. They’re also reporting that pro-democracy forces have seized the Kiev post office.
  • Lviv, on the Polish border, has declared independence from Yanukovych’s rule.
  • And soldiers there have “surrendered” to the Euromaidan opposition.
  • The Lviv defection is just one of many acts of defiance across the western Ukraine.
  • What we’re seeing in Ukraine mirrors Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968: the brutal crushing of freedom at the direction of Moscow.
  • The ten most important events of the last two days.
  • UK PM David Cameron issues meaningless hen-clucks of disapproval, without a hint of actual action by his government.
  • At least this cadre of European politicians and intellectuals is asking for real sanctions.
  • The European Investment Bank has frozen its activities in Ukraine.
  • Canada closes its embassy.
  • A live blog of the situation on the Conflict Journal.
  • Dramatic pictures from Independence Square, including considerable bloodshed.
  • Not including this one:

    More tweets and pics:

    More scenes from the Battle of Independence Square:

    David Cameron Suddenly Remembers He’s a Tory

    Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

    Well well well, maybe David Cameron has some cobbles after all.

    Cameron has generally presided over the “wettest” Tory administration the UK has seen since Neville Chamberlain, but today he delivered a veritable pipe bomb of a speech on the future of the European Union.

    First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.

    Also this:

    If Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.

    While Obama is certainly doing his best to make sure America’s portion of that last figure increases (driving down Europe’s share as a side effect), what Cameron is saying here is both obviously true and absolutely unacceptable to the Euroelite: The European cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable.

    And this:

    People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.

    Cameron basically stood up and pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes.

    Still more:

    More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the Eurozone. More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same – less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs.

    “Hey dumbasses: stop digging!!”

    And still more:

    I want us to be at the forefront of transformative trade deals with the US, Japan and India as part of the drive towards global free trade. And I want us to be pushing to exempt Europe’s smallest entrepreneurial companies from more EU Directives.

    These should be the tasks that get European officials up in the morning – and keep them working late into the night. And so we urgently need to address the sclerotic, ineffective decision making that is holding us back.

    That means creating a leaner, less bureaucratic Union, relentlessly focused on helping its member countries to compete.

    In a global race, can we really justify the huge number of expensive peripheral European institutions?

    Can we justify a Commission that gets ever larger?

    Can we carry on with an organisation that has a multi-billion pound budget but not enough focus on controlling spending and shutting down programmes that haven’t worked?

    And I would ask: when the competitiveness of the Single Market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?

    And here we have a Tory Prime Minister actually sounding like…a Tory! Who would have thunk it?

    Thatcher or Reagan he’s not, but this is bold stuff given the Eurocentric tenor of post-Thatcher UK governments.

    Oh: He also wants a referendum on EU membership by 2017.

    Reactions from the Eurocratic elite has been predictable: How dare Cameron slander our magnificently robed Emperor? And naturally all of them focus on the referendum than his substantive critique of the increasing collectivist, bureaucratic and unsustainable EU.

    Good show, Cameron old boy, good show. (Golf clap)

    European Union to Become SuperDuper European Union

    Friday, December 9th, 2011

    Let me see if I can get this straight:

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron, objecting to the Deutschland Uber Alles renegotiation of the Maastricht Treaty, is now causing the creation of a new SuperDuper Europe, with Germany reoccupying the Rhineland taking leadership of the whole shebang, finally erasing the rest of the continent’s reluctance at receiving orders from Berlin?

    I mean, when even the Europhillic New York Times says that “Twenty years after the Maastricht Treaty, which was designed not just to integrate Europe but to contain the might of a united Germany, Berlin had effectively united Europe under its control,” maybe the citizens of those stodgy old entities we used to call “countries” should consider the possibility that they might may be making a mistake. I am especially surprised that the non-Euro-using generalgouvernement Poland gave in so readily, as their previous experiences with rule from Berlin have been less than exemplary.

    But what’s sacrificing the last of your country’s vestigially sovereignty compared to the glorious dream of saving the Euro?

    Assuming, of course, that forging this Pact of Steel (including a 500 billion Euro bailout fund) actually saves the Euro, which is a dubious proposition at best. And at least one U.S. general says we should be prepared for civil unrest if Euro ends up exploding anyway.

    The irony, of course, is that David Cameron, the wetest Tory Wet PM since Neville Chamberlain, refused to give in to another Eurotreaty British citizens wouldn’t get a chance to vote on less than two months after refusing to allow a vote on the previous EU treaty British citizens were not allowed to vote on. It would be ironic if Cameron actually ended up pulling the UK out of the EU because, in a moment of weakness, he actually exhibited rare and uncharacteristic streaks of firm principle and common sense.

    Will the citizens of Europe actually get a chance to vote on this Reich closer European integration? Doubtful. Ireland’s Taoiseach is being “cagey” about a vote. (Translation: Fark no, you peasants won’t get a vote.) I doubt any of his brothers in Europe’s Permanent Ruling Class will feel any less “cagey.”

    Through a thousand small steps, from committees and working groups and consultations and emergency decrees, Eurocrats have done their very best to remove power for all important decisions from the hands of the people and entrust it into their own well-greased palms. And also, not so coincidentally, to avoid taking the blame for the ruin their cradle-to-grave welfare states, and the huge and ever-growing debts necessary to pay for them, have made of Europe’s once free nations and productive economies.

    Other Eurozone news, some possibly stale and out of date:

  • Jim DeMint says the best way for us to help Europe is not to help Europe.
  • Portugal’s economy is shrinking.
  • Moody’s downgrades French banks.
  • Problem: Possibility of sovereign debt default means bond downgrades. Solution: Create a bailout fund. problem: Downgrade of bailout fund. Solution: ?????
  • Europe’s Coming Inflation:

    For years, Europeans loved to lecture Americans on the both the safety and soundness of the continent’s banking system as opposed to our own, and how their economic system worked so much better than ours. Well, one lesson of the 2011 financial crisis is that many of their banks are probably in worse shape than the US banks were in 2008.

    At least our banks’ troubled investments were tied to real estate, which may rebound once our economy improves. Their banks are holding debt tied to some of the world’s least productive, no-growth countries.

    Why so underproductive? Most of the evidence points to the failure of the European welfare state.

    Europeans loved to lecture Americans on how government-run health-care and cradle-to-grave entitlements provided such safety and comfort for the masses. People supposedly didn’t mind paying higher taxes because it enhanced their standard of living.

    Until, of course, it didn’t enhance anything — and Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal face the collapse of their safety nets because they can’t borrow to pay for them anymore, even as unemployment is rampant. (Meanwhile, France is not far behind.)