Saturday, 15 July 2017

Deutschland uber alles

It's no wonder that the EU has copied that other illegitimate regime, Ian Smith's Rhodesia, in stealing Beethoven's ninth as its national anthem. That magnificent music not only gives the EU a majesty it doesn't deserve but it disguises the true nature of the beast.The only anthem which truly expresses the reality of the EU is Deutschland Umber Alles. That might prove too frightening for the little chickens in the roost.

Economically the EU is dominated by a holy trinity of German interests.First there is the insistence on building up huge trading surpluses-currently the biggest in the world-which Germany refuses either to redistribute to help the poorer states or to spend to stimulate the economy.

Secondly there is the  German insistence on a competitive exchange rate to keep their economy exporting powerfully. Despite the pleas of the US and the UK they always kept the DMark down. Now the Euro does the job for them like a series of guy ropes in which the poorer economies keep the overall rate down. So markets aren't allowed to work and the German exchange rate can't rise to rebalance trade and make it fairer.

Finally there is the old fear of inflation which makes Germany insist that debts is sacred and must be repaid. Money loaned to Greece must be paid back in full even if its impossible, and any country owing money must squeeze, freeze no deflate to pay it back. See Yannis Varoufakis on that

The result is that Germany drains all the other members, requires them to deflate and prospers at the expense of the block.The EU won't work unless German dominance is ended and Brexit is a side issue which distracts attention from that.Britain can plan for escape, Macron can preach a common economic policy, a common budget and a common finance minister but nothing can happen unless the Germans agree it. If it infringes their holy trinity, they won't.

Result deadlock.Everything waits, not for Godot, but for Merkel and Schaubel. But one thing is sure. They're much more aware of their national interest and much more determined to defend it than Britain's vested interests who want to continue the drain of the single market, or our rampant remainers who have no higher ambition than  to drag Britain back, pathetic and humiliated into the new German empire.

Monday, 10 July 2017



I'm happy to join the universal confessions of failure from the psephologists pollsters and pundittieri over the election. We all got it wrong. We assumed that Jeremy's past would drag him down, Labour's radical manifesto would be a repeat of the longest suicide note of 1983 and a nervous electorate would want to cling to nurse.All wrong. Mea very culpa 

The problem is why. Electoral analysis used to focus on  getting out the vote. Marc Abrams in 1959 and Butler Stokes in the sixties described two great tribes, membership determined by hereditary and conditioning, which grew or declined with demographics. Parties won or lost by getting the vote out

 This analysis was  replaced as party allegiances weakened in the seventies by the centre ground theory. The argument here was that parties had to moderate their ideologues to win the centre ground where, it was claimed most electors lived. Strong policies would frighten the middle ground so parties had to soften their approach, blandise their appeal and avoid frightening people 

In my view the centre ground was a kind of mushy, middle, the home of floating voters and people less interested in politics, more apathetic, less likely to vote, and less involved . This was a tribe with no strong party commitment whose confused perceptions could be  easily influenced by moods, fears and media

Blairites had a different view of the middle ground. They saw it as marginal territory between the parties where people could be mobilised by fear, altruism and hope . In the Blairite view Labour's task was to blandise its appeal , moderate its policies, soften its ideology and reach out from its core vote to win votes in the south and among the more liberal middle classes.

Different perceptions  pointing to similar conclusions, specifically that Labour should take its core support for granted, forget terrifying things like socialism and nationalisation, avoid frightening people, disassociate from the unions and present itself as a party of government, hope and goodwill to win the centre ground .In a conservative country with a malign media, respectability and the avoidance of fear were the way to do that. Keep Prescott and Skinner in a cage. Smile, wave and win

It worked for Blair. Labour won but then threw it all away because having moderated itself out of everything it had little idea of what to do next. It lost ground in its core areas like Scotland which it had taken for granted but to which it delivered too little to keep them happy.

 In the light of all this thinking Corbyn's defeat seemed certain.We were clearly wrong. Yet that doesn't tell us why. Could it be that a techtonic shift is taking place?. Is the middle ground  moving.?

 The people  have  been subjected to three decades of neoliberalism, cuts, underinvestment and frozen living standards.They're beginning to realise that though the rich have benefitted generously, austerity has neither improved their own position nor given them stable employment and better prospects The fat cats prosper The people stagnate .

In the face of all this its hardly surprising if the middle grounders have become a little fed up, living in a country that's going nowhere with a standard of living that's static, employment uncertain and debt accumulating. As a result their apathy is fading, their fears subsiding

As  fear looses its grip, radical policies begin to look more acceptable and Labour looks less frightening. However desperately the media and the Tory Party invoke the old bogey person images , warn of tax bombshells, or bang on about the absence of money trees, the middle ground is opening up for change..

This can  be a new beginning in which we can have a serious discussion and develop serious policies to  deal with Britain's real and pressing problems. Instead of pretending all's well,  playing Mr and Mrs Nice and pretending that we can make things better by doing not very much we  might be able to  recognise that Britain is in a mess and offer serious, even socialist policies for getting out of it


Labour did so well against all predictions (including mine) in the elections that it brings the prospect of power. After a long period of punishment, cuts, debt and frozen living standards, the electorate are becoming prepared to accept radical reforms. The middle ground has shifted our way and it's less easy for the media to scare folk off Labour by creating fears about unions, risky finances, state tyranny, rampant Marxism or Corbyn's BO.

With Labour's prospects improving in this way the worst thing the party can now do is fall apart in our usual fashion this time by opening up the old war over Brexit.Yet that's what Euro twerps like Umuna and the Chuckers, Chris and the Leslies and Gapes and the Gobbers want to do by their efforts to tie Labour to the single market. No deal without staying in the single market is their way of stopping any deal at all.

 Staying in the single market isn't leaving the EU.It's allowing it to continue to drain Britain. The electorate who voted to leave won't like it but BMW dealers, importers , French wine drinkers, the vested interests and all Britain's scaredy cat capitalists too frightened to compete in the world, can rejoice.Their fat livings are guaranteed. Eddie the Eagle economics of a country never quite making it will continue.

The Single Market is the Remainers' fig leaf . Its also worn by the CBI and the Engineering Employers whose directors put their love of the EU above the interests of their members. The Single Market is their way of leaving the EU while staying in it but so difficult to get and so restrictive if we do get it that the hope is that making it central will compel us to give up on Brexit and crawl back to Nurse.

Its benefits are largely mythical. Our trade deficit in it is around £60 billion a year. That's a drain of jobs, companies and growth out of Britain. We pay £11 billion. year to belong, which is a drain of dosh. It requires us to support agricultural protectionism and stops us buying food on cheaper markets, another cost of perhaps £20 billion in higher food prices.It allows British companies to pay their taxes in Luxembourg or Dublin to escape their tax obligations here. It requires us to contribute to adhesion funding for newer EU members, so companies like Nestle can be bribed to transfer jobs to Poland.

In short its a great deal for the EU but a bum one for Britain. The great beneficiary is Germany which accumulates the world's biggest surpluses which it will neither distribute to help others, nor spend to stimulate growth and help Greece Portugal or Italy .Germany drains the EU. Our problem is to stop it draining us Yet the Remainers who demand we keep it have no proposals to rebalance a single market that's not working for Britain.