Waging war on the people

What would you think of a government that purposely pursues policies against the public interest?

How would you characterise a populist leader who seeks to take back control from foreign elites, who uses vague exprestions of the popular will to carry out whole scale reforms?

How would you feel if you were part of a minority held to ransom in an attempt to force foreign governments to wield concessions?

You must imagine that I am talking about Turkey and Erdogan’s attempt to crush Turkish dissent after the failed coup. I am not. I am talking about Theresa May and her brand new Brexit government.

Brexit is against the public interest. It will have unaccountable economic consequences. It is based on lies and false dichotomies (EU vs the world). It is fed by misconceptions, populism and racism.

May is using the advisory, narrowly won Brexit referendum as an excuse to rain down fire on the nation. The Tories have chosen to elevate this destructive farce to a democratic imperative. They made the choice.

The minority I am talking about are not Kurds or Christians in Turkey, they are Europeans in Britain.

It is aparent now that the right wing establishment wanted Brexit not because it could care less about Europe,  but because it wanted the chance to remake the country without any opposition. Do not be fooled by proclamations of May’s supposed interest for those left behind. Wolves may offer speeches on vegetarianism, but they do not intend to change their diet.

The Brexit Tories with their business friends and far right supporting lackies are out to demolish Britain as we know it. The sleeping leftists of Corbyn are not interested as they hope to man the barricades of symbolic resistance as the place burns down. They are not interested in preventing catastrophe, they wait for the historic inevitability of socialism as all their apocalypse loving fanatical mates across the Channel.

All this should be obvious to the 17 million who voted for their own destruction. Seeing as they refuse to accept it, one could take the view that they deserve to suffer the consequences of their choice.

What do you think?



US politicians finally agree on something (that no-one saw coming)


Many things are happening in the new populist phase of American politics. Some are less expected than others. For instance, the GOP joining forces with the left of the Democrats in asking for the restoration of Glass-Steagall was not something many saw coming. The new Republican Party platform calls for restoring the law that separated commercial-banking and securities activities at Wall Street firms, a regulatory change advocated by both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The following offers some background on this law and how it is linked to the regulation of financial markets in the US.


Glass-Steagall is the offspring of crisis and a totemic legislation of the New Deal. Crisis can be (and many argue, indeed, it should be) a catalyst in developments in policy that can at times lead to rapid and wholesale reversals of policy directions. One such reversal was the expansion of regulation in the United States after the 1929 crash and the initiation of the New Deal by the Roosevelt administration. As a product of pressure from various sources, the New Deal was grounded in no single coherent or systemic theory. Perhaps the most prominent unifying theme was the popular conviction that an unregulated free market guided solely by the invisible hand of private interest could lead only to the dispossession associated with the depression. The Roosevelt administration responded to this popular perception (in sync with Keynes’ ideas) by offering the countervailing power of government, administered by disinterested expert regulators, in order to discipline the market and stabilise an economy that laissez-faire had all but destroyed. The result was a stunning expansion of administrative authority both within and independent of the executive branch. What is particularly interesting is that the state sought to set in place a regulatory framework that would prevent the re-emergence of circumstances that could lead to another bubble and subsequent catastrophic crash.


One of the most important legislative responses to the failures of the Depression (particularly in the banking sector) was the work of Senator Carter Glass, Representative Henry Steagall and other proponents of the Banking Act of 1933, known as the Glass Steagall Act. The Act’s backers were convinced that the banks had played a significant role in promoting unsustainable booms in the real estate and securities markets during the 1920s. As a solution to this problem it was suggested that commercial banks should restrict their operations to the acceptance of demand deposits and the extension of short-term, self-liquidating loans to finance the production and sale of goods by businesses. Banks therefore should be prevented from making unsound loans and investments that encouraged an overbuilt real estate market and an immense overexpansion of real estate values. The banks should also be discouraged from making investments in securities that undermined their solvency during stock market downturns and they should be restricted in making loans to finance the purchase of securities. Liberalisation that removes the above restrictions has since been shown to produce a banking system that is more vulnerable to systemic risk. Admittedly, deregulated financial markets generally promote faster growth rates by providing more extensive financing to consumers and businesses during economic expansions. However, by encouraging greater reliance on external funding, deregulation creates a higher risk that consumers and firms will become overextended and end up insolvent if external funding sources shut down during economic contractions. An example of this happening was the credit crunch of 2008. As Amato and Fantacci explain in their book The End of Finance, the reliance of the economy on ever-increasing availability of funding (known as liquidity) propels what is a market economy to its turbo-charged, crisis-prone financialised version, something the aforementioned authors equate with modern capitalism.


The financialisation that came to characterise US (and global) capitalism before the crash of 2008 was the product of protracted deregulation. While deregulation has been a dominant trend in the US since the mid- 1980s, it came properly into its stride in the latter part of the 1990s. By 1998 regulators and the courts in the United States had allowed banks to make substantial inroads into the securities and insurance sectors by exploiting loopholes in the Glass Steagall Act and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, both enacted with the memories of the Great Depression present in people’s minds and considered strong legal barriers to bank entry into the securities and insurance fields. The model of finance to emerge after the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act was based on securitisation and became known as the ‘originate and distribute’ model. A securitisation is a financial transaction in which assets are pooled together and securities representing interests in the pool are issued (see here for an explanation). Under the originate and distribute model, financial institutions would create assets (such as loans) then repackage these and sell them to investors. The resulting funds would be used to originate more assets which in turn would be re-repackaged and sold, recommencing the cycle. This model of banking recreated in a way the institutional framework that had led to the crash of 1929. By allowing the banks to lend not on the basis of deposits but on the strength of the money markets, the way was opened for the financial sector to depart from the fundamentals of the real economy, creating fictional wealth.


In confirming the return of universal banking powers to the financial holding companies, allowing the combination of commercial with investment banking, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act repealed several Depression era safeguards in 1999. Unlike the system of finance established in the United States in the 1930s, the new model of finance allowed competition between commercial banks and investment banks for securities business. As a result, opportunities for profit increased dramatically, encouraging investment banks to engage in ever more risky proprietary trading – speculating with their own capital to increase returns. A key boost to the trade of derivative financial products via the process of securitisation we just described was given by another major step in deregulation in the form of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. The new legal framework was not merely reflecting innovations in financial markets, but changes in the law spawned the so-called innovations. In other words, it was not changes to the markets that brought about the conditions that created the credit crisis but, crucially, changes in the law. The Commodity Futures Act suddenly and totally removed century-old legal constraints on speculative trading in over-the-counter (OTC) derivative financial products. It is useful to remember that derivatives were not always seen as a clever way to speculate but rather as a risk limitation technique. Derivatives were considered in US jurisprudence to be valid methods of dealing with risks of future events, and while hedging was legal, speculation in OTC derivatives was not and courts would not allow enforcement of financial bets whose sole purpose was speculation (as opposed to risk diversification). One way that the pre-2000 system dealt with speculative derivative trading was by moving it to clearing houses which assumed the risks associated with such transactions and kept the volume of trading low in order to minimise the exposures of the clearing houses themselves. This system operated fairly consistently on the basis of the common law (eventually codified by the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936), which retained the prohibition of speculative trading outside regulated exchanges. The Commodity Futures Act of 2000 represented the final blow to this system of controlled derivative trading. After the Act, speculative trading in derivatives was in effect legalised in the US with the result that a massive market in OTC products grew with-out anyone being able to assess the systemic risk effects of ever expanding volumes of trading.


The response, post credit crunch, at least in the US, has been to try and reverse the tide by restoring legal limits to derivatives trading outside clearing houses in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Will reinstating 1930s era regulation deal with the risks of further crises stemming from financial markets? It is correct that on its own this initiative cannot be a cure-all. On the other hand a more controlled, smaller financial sector has lessened capacity to destroy the real economy during one of its cyclical, self-generated disasters.


More on the issue of regulation and debates on reform post-financial crisis can be found in my book which can be obtained here and here.



Should Remainers make the best of Brexit?

A Militant Remainer’s Response to Prof Hix

The British media has done a great job infantilising resistance to the craziness of Brexit with stories along the lines of Remainers suffering bereavement, and having to work through their emotions. It seems that the creation of a brand new Brexit government headed by the anti-immigrant 21st century version of Thatcher has allowed everyone to accept the inevitable and fall in line. What was unthinkable only a few weeks ago, what was derided as suicidaly stupid by almost all experts, is now a matter for the civil service to organise, an issue for finding the correct negotiators to send to Brussels so we can “make Brexit a success”.

There is a lot here to unpick, but this is not why I am writing this post. I am writing this post as a response to the LSE Blog contribution of Simon Hix. In this blog post the author urges ‘militant’ Remainers to accept the inevitability of Brexit and try to work something out that will minimise the impacts. There is discussion about different models for Brexit and the way in which an EEA deal may safeguard to some extent the 4 freedoms (people, goods, services and capital), and why various approaches may take us closer or further from the status quo of full EU membership. There is a debate, to which Prof Hix contributes with his article, on structuring a pro-Europe Brexit, something that Remainers can put forward to forestall the most extreme dreams of Ukipers.

I actually thought this was an interesting idea and started investigating different models of not quite full EU membership in trying to see whether one would be appropriate for the UK, considering the Brexit mandate just received.

Then I stopped.

The answer to the Professor’s proposal is no. There will be no “pro-European” version of Brexit.

Leavers made this mess and they will be the ones to try and work out the impossible. Mr Davis, with his stunning ignorance of law and international trade relations will need to explain to us how he can work out individual bilateral agreements with EU members, when the EU has exclusive competence to discuss trade.

Liam Fox, with his background of doing the right thing by his friends will need to tell us how he intends to achieve splicing up the 4 freedoms to keep what he likes best.

Mr Johnson, will need to explain how his rhetoric of keeping close relations with Europe, keeping Britain at the heart of Europe etc will be achieved after just smacking the door in Europe’s face in an attempt to ‘take back control’.

Mrs May will need to explain to us (primarily) and Europe (secondly) how a career built on scaremongering about immigrants, hatred of human rights and due process, disrespect for British values and Thatcherite dreams will translate into a fight for greater equality and opportunities for those ‘left behind’ by the very policies she espoused all her life.

The best relationship Britain can have with Europe is to be a member of the EU. Everything else is unsatisfactory. Everything else is a bad deal. Everything else leaves us worse off. Everything else will be a disappointment not only to Remainers, but crucially to the 17 million who voted for Brexit.

And you know what? We Remainers should not help May’s Brexit government achieve a ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ deal. We Remainers should come out for what is right and true. We Remainers should make the case for Europe, for cooperation, for immigration. We Remainers should make a progressive case for Europe that contains the UK as part of the EU and strive to make the EU better from within. We Remainers should let the Brexit government and the Leaver crowds sleep in the bed they made.

And you know what? Even if we were to imagine, craft and propose a deal that can satisfy Leavers, something like EEA-minus, why on earth would Mrs May accept it? The truth dear reader is that we do not have the slightest idea what the Brexit government wants to do, intends to do, or is capable of doing.

Following the suggestion of Prof. Hix and proposing anything that is accommodating to Leavers means that we abandon the higher ground and we become complicit to the destruction of this country.

No collaboration, no compromise, no help to those who seek to destroy this country.

Let them explain to their mob the mistakes that they made. The country will emerge better off once they have failed.



The limits of choice 

Recent events, the Brexit referendum, Trump’s rhetoric, the Turkish coup have led to intense discussions about democracy, popular choice and the limits of consultation.

The referendum specifically has been a lot about letting people choose and respecting their choices. In fact these debates are nothing novel, there are centuries of reflection behind them, from Plato onwards. I too have contributed to library shelves on democracy and choice.

A bite-sized summary of this literature is that there are limits to the ability to choose and on the content of that choice. I had argued for instance when reflecting on Greece’s crisis that the Greeks should be given a choice between the horrors of austerity and the tragedy of Grexit. I had argued that they would suffer anyway, but the democratically selected pain was better than the other option.

Yet, I fought against Tsipras Greferendum, why? The reason is that choice with incomplete information amidst lies and populist propaganda is not democratic, it is the semblance of choice. It serves not the people, if anything it makes marginalisation worse.

The same criticism can be brought against the Brexit referendum. Was it choice? What does Brexit mean?  Was it a vote against migration and damn the consequences? Was it a vote in favour of more democracy? No one knows. What everyone knows is that it empowered a section of the establishment to do something. What this something is, we are all in the dark.

Was the Turkish coup an assault against democracy or the last attempt of the Kemalist establishment to resist the islamification of Turkey under a modern day Sultan?

Are there and should there be limits to democracy? Absolutely. Human rights and the rule of law are limits on democracy, and necessary ones.

Democracy does not mean mob-rule. It does not mean shouting slogans and then having the civil service figure out a corresponding policy response.

Tsipras Greferendum, the Brexit referendum, Erdogan’s win over the putchists mean something, but they do not necessarily mean democracy.


Making a success of Brexit, but for whom?

brexit reality
Our new Prime-Minister, Theresa May has promised to make a success of Brexit. I am sure she can do it. I am less certain it will be a success for the people of Britain though. The following expands on my recent post in The Conversation on the trade consequences of Brexit.

There is strong evidence to suggest that Brexit, if it also means loss of access to the EU’s single market imperils the fortunes of a nation who exports half its output to the EU. Brexit with access to the single market on the other hand entails significant costs of compliance and continuation of freedom of movement (which presumably is a source of great anxiety to Leavers) . This leads to a Norwegian of Swiss model of having all the burdens of membership without the benefit of influencing decisions as a full member. Could it be that the allure of a brave new world of international deals and worldwide trade expansion, outside the confines of EU rules and negotiators can compensate for the above? The following briefly examines the veracity of such claims and reflects on the future of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Britain outside the EU.

The country, presumably under its brand new leadership, is rapidly having to consider, plan and (if we believe the new PM) implement a British exit from the European Union. With all that this entails we are now forced by the decision of the people to address seriously the hopes of the Leave campaign as to the reality of a post-Brexit world.One of the key themes of the Leave campaign was the return of Britain as a global trading power, negotiating and concluding agreements under its own steam. This hope seems to rest on a number of foundations. Firstly, it assumes that the European Union is not in a position to achieve terms in trade deals preferable to those that any single member state could achieve. Secondly, it rests on the premise that other nations would be willing to offer equal or even better terms to the UK, as opposed to the entire Union.

Foreign investment and to a large degree trade are facilitated via Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). The UK has 96 BITs (in force) some of which are with (the newest) EU member states. It does not have BITs with the United States, Japan and the major European nations. The reason for the lack of intra-EU BITs is the Lisbon Treaty which gave the EU exclusive competence on foreign direct investment. This allows the EU to conclude comprehensive investment agreements such as the one with Canada in 2014. The EU is currently negotiating the TTIP with the USA and a deal with Japan.  Leaving the EU means that the UK will no longer be covered by multilateral agreements between the EU and other states and will seek to negotiate alternative bilateral ones. The UK will not be able to pursue new bilateral agreements with any EU member state. To link this with trade, in terms of WTO membership, the UK is a member, both through its membership of the EU and in its own right. WTO membership offers an avenue to the reduction of tariffs and a mechanism for resolving trade disputes, but does not constitute a free trade area agreement, nor does it contain provisions for significant aspects of investment.

Can Britain become a trade superpower away from the stifling clutches of the EU as it is often claimed? This is extremely unlikely for the following reasons. Firstly, trade deals take a lot of time to negotiate. The EU is having such a hard time concluding deals not because it is bureaucratic and sclerotic, but because it has to negotiate a long series of contentious issues. To take the example of the TTIP, negotiations have been bogged down by recognition and protection of agricultural products. It sounds trivial but it is not; trade in agricultural products is a major issue for negotiators trying to satisfy say on the one hand, French wine and cheese producers and on the other hand American GM crop growers and enhanced meat producers. Secondly, one could argue that the UK currently lacks the manpower to set up experienced negotiating teams and that it will take some time anyway before deals can even begin to be discussed. Further, arguing that any one country on its own (regardless of relative economic size) can fare better outside the largest trade group in the world is like arguing that a single employee can achieve better terms of employment negotiating directly with management, than through an organised union. It could happen, but in all probability it won’t. Last but not least, we are assuming that if other countries wanted to do great deals with the UK they will have the capacity to do so. During a new global recession sparked by the consequences of Brexit, even those who do want to do business with Britain may be unable to respond.

Returning to the TTIP, one has to wonder whether Brexit makes the UK safer or more liable to accept unwanted terms. It is widely acknowledged that the main driver for TTIP has been the UK. Without the British push towards liberalisation the deal risks dying a quick death, despite proclamations from both the EU and the US that a deal is expected by the end of 2016. If the UK seeks an investment and trade deal with the US, how likely is it that it will differ the TTIP? Considering the British desire for openness and liberalisation and the diminished negotiating power of a post-Brexit UK who can seriously argue that the environment and small farmers will be a negotiating priority? As regards other aspects of the negotiations such as access to courts and Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) who has any hope that the UK will resist attempts to solidify a pro-investor status quo?

Assuming Britain could even get its foot in the door (President Obama showed no desire to prioritise a lonesome UK over other nations), could we avoid a lowering of standards and ISDS? Do we have more in common with the USA in our method of doing business than with the EU? An illustrative example is consumer arbitration clauses. In the US, if your computer malfunctions after a defective installation of some software, you may well be bound to take any resulting dispute to an arbitrator because you clicked ‘accept’ on a licence agreement that appeared on your screen. Currently in the UK, losing access to the courts for consumer disputes is prevented by European legislation. Were the UK to negotiate deals with the USA directly, could it avoid the import of these practices? It would be extremely unlikely considering its relegation to junior trading partner status.

It seems that are heading for TTIP on steroids. Will the post-Brexit world be one where the UK sails away under its own steam? It could, but on someone else’s terms. The silver lining of Brexit may turn out just to be tin.
brexit cartoon

Welcome to post-Brexit Dystopia

I have explained in an earlier post that the only way around the Referendum result is to have a General Election that offers a renewed mandate to Remain. This can trump the Referendum, which in any event is of no legal consequence. The political weight of course is something else, but an election could be sold to the Leavers, if done carefully.

How can an early election happen?

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act prevents early elections unless a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole Parliament or without division; or a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.

Is it possible that the leadership of the Conservative Party seeks an election?

I do not think so, as the only reason for a early General Election would be to prevent Brexit, and the Tories seem to have made their peace with it. It is difficult to see how the establishment can benefit from it though. This seems to be a lose-lose situation whichever way you see it. See the following diagram.


What this shows is that there is no possible resolution to the Article 50 negotiations that pleases British voters and the other 27 European countries — without tanking the UK economy: Quantian‘s chart points out that there are basically three possible ways the negotiations could turn out — and each has major flaws.

1) “Clean break”: In this scenario, the UK just leaves the EU without negotiating any sort of alternative arrangements in place. This option could be disruptive for many EU citizens and businesses, but EU leaders wouldn’t have any way to stop it. And Brexit supporters in the UK would find it acceptable.

The problem: Just quitting would trigger a severe recession in the UK, as the British economy depends on free access to the European common market. Forty-four percent of British exports go to the EU, and the UK financial sector depends on free movement of capital between Britain and Europe. No British leader would knowingly crash the UK economy, so they won’t agree to a “clean break.” (There is a chance one could be forced into it, however. If Britain triggers Article 50, a clean break automatically happens in two years absent an exit deal between the UK and EU.)

2) “EEA + deal”: In this scenario, the UK negotiates a deal with the EU, which would allow it to remain in the EEA but would exempt it from other EU rules — most notably, free migration rules — that Brexit supporters hate.

The problemEU leaders seem unlikely to agree to this. They don’t want to reward Britain’s vote with favorable exit terms, for fear that voters in other countries (like Greece, France, or the Netherlands) will take this as a sign that they could get a similar deal. So while this solution would work for British voters and leaders, it’s unacceptable to European leaders.

3) “Annul vote”: In this scenario, British leaders call backsies on the referendum results and simply refuse to ever submit Article 50 notification. This would prevent the UK leadership from owning the disastrous economic consequences of Brexit, and European leaders would celebrate it as a step away from the brink.

The problem: “Leave” supporters in the UK would feel betrayed and very, very angry — and even some “Remain” supporters might see it as undemocratic. The political backlash against a UK prime minister who calls “Bracksies” could be immense.

So every option available to the UK leadership right now is either politically unviable or economically disastrous. Nobody in British politics has a good answer to this dilemma, which partially explains why Brexit hasn’t happened yet

But, where do the parties actually stand? It is no good us imagining a General Election as an escape hatch, if no one opens it for us.

The Liberal Democrats seem to wish to use the Election as a way to prevent Brexit.

Tim Farron for the Liberal Democrats

“I think it is right that in a general election we say to the British people that if you want to get out of the increasing economic mess that we find ourselves in, where we have lost control, [where] we are at the mercy of markets, people’s jobs are going, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed and we are not taking back control … And the fact that the key tenets of the leave campaign are now proved to be lies … it would prove legitimate for the Liberal Democrats to go into the next election and say we offer you a chance to reconsider,” he said.

To the suggestion that this was undemocratic, he replied: “On that basis we would never have re-run the 1975 referendum”, when the UK voted to remain in what was then the European Economic Community. With the Labour party imploding and the Tories at war, Farron is also looking to a realignment of progressive forces in British politics.

The SNP is against Brexit, but seems disinterested in UK wide politics, or saving the country beyond Scotland.


Nicola Sturgeon claimed (post results) in a press conference at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, where she was flanked by the Saltire and the EU flag, that it was “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will. Every part of the country voted to remain, and she said her government would now begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote if the Scottish Parliament decided it was appropriate.

The Greens want a progressive alliance, but not cleanly against Brexit, which is rather disappointing.

The message of the Green Party

Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians. We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit.

With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

Irish Republicans aren’t much help either both because they do not take their seats at Westminster and because they don’t care about Union wide politics.

Sinn Féin

Martin McGuinness has said that Sinn Féin will veto Brexit if the party can find a legal method to do so. He said that Sinn Féin is looking at the legal options available.

“Yes, we are looking at it at the moment, and our legal advisors are also looking at it also in the context of the implications for the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.”And you can be absolutely sure – if there’s a way to veto it, we in Sinn Féin will veto it.”

Labour is the big unknown. A successful coup against Corbyn, or a split of the party might create a strong constituency against Brexit, but there is no clear sign of this at the moment. There are precious few that support some reaction.


Labour MP David Lammy has called on Parliament to “stop this madness” and to vote against the referendum decision to leave the EU. In a statement on his Twitter feed, the MP for Tottenham and former Higher Education and Skills Minister said: “Wake up. We do not have to do this.

“We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament. Our sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the EU”. “The referendum was was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign’s platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn’t voted to Leave”. “Parliament now needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of lies and the hubris of Boris Johnson.”

Could we expect something from within the Conservatives themselves? I do not think so, there are even fewer of them with any desire to resist.

The Conservatives

Ken Clarke (one of few high profile Europhiles in the party) called on MPs to ignore the EU referendum result and follow their own judgement. The former Chancellor said  the vote was not legally binding and MPs shouldn’t have to follow it, despite a majority voting to Leave.

Lets look at the numbers:

Party Seats
Conservative 330
Labour 230
Scottish National Party 54
Democratic Unionist Party 8
Liberal Democrat 8
Independent 4
Sinn Fein 4
Plaid Cymru 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party 3
Ulster Unionist Party 2
Green Party 1
Speaker 1
UK Independence Party 1
Vacant 1
Total number of seats 650
Working Government Majority 16

Two thirds of the Parliament are 435 MPs. Even if Labour, the SNP, the LibDems and the Greens joined forces, it still would not be enough to trigger an election (293 MPs).

For the government to lose its majority, it would take a revolt of about 20 of its own MPs, presuming that the DUP and UKIP would side with a Brexit pursuing government.

Therefore an election cannot happen without the Conservative government wanting one.

The sad result of this analysis is that even though its crazy, Brexit is really happening, and there isn’t much we can do about it. I figure the only way to prevent it now is a serious economic catastrophe which brings the Conservatives back form the brink and convinces the country’s elite that a way out needs to be found. And why am I so insistent in arguing that Brexit cannot morph into an EEA deal everyone can live with? That’s because I saw the Venn diagram above.

I fear that Theresa May (due to take over from Cameron) wants Brexit and the party (with a core of hard-liner supporters in business) wants a stab at implementing Thatcher’s craziest fantasies. Welcome to post-Brexit dystopia.



A deal my Leaver friends cannot refuse

Ok Leave won, hats off to the team that pulled this off. It certainly touched a nerve. The Remain side did a God awful job. But, let’s see where we are at.

Leave promised a bunch of things including (but not limited to) continued access to the single market, limits to immigration and economic stability.

We have the following: an end to the recovery, projected recession, a choice of either access to the single market or immigration control, certain Scottish secession and possible trouble in NI again.

You can try and ignore the above as you dismissed warnings before last week, but I think you won’t.

So here is the deal. If Leavers agree to Remain we Remainers will do the following:

1) Make sure the Tories do not starve you to death by creating a horror “Singapore by the Channel” Thatcherite neoliberal dystopia (otherwise known as the Gove vision).

2) Campaign for and deliver a rethink of Europe.

You strongly said Europe doesn’t work for you. We grumbled for years that it does not too.

Here are some of the things that can and will be done:

We need a strict separation between the Eurozone and the rest of the EU. We need a permanent end to enlargement. We need a return to the core of the four freedoms and less centralisation. There is almost majority support for this across the continent.

We can deliver this from within with a UK leading the vision for a different Europe. You will remain unhurt by the Tories in the meantime. You have though to accept the four freedoms with no caveats.But don’t worry too much, the state the Referendum result  brought the country in means much reduced interest in coming here from anywhere else.

If you do not want this you deserve your impoverishment, you did enough to earn it. But you do not need to burn the house down to tell us it’s not nice. Join the call for a General Election so we can put in charge of these platforms of change those legally entitled to choose a course for the country, the MPs.

You can always choose dystopia at the ballot box, but you can choose better as well.