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Brexit Disassociation Not A Tory

No Longer A Conservative

On Wednesday, shortly after midday, the letter was submitted to the European Union that we were triggering Article 50.

Shortly after 10pm, my Margaret Thatcher mug fell down and broke.

Normally I would have been annoyed, but I realised that this was a sign from Planet Brexit.  This was the culmination of 9 months of being pissed off with the direction of the Conservative Party, particularly under the leadership of Theresa May.

It wasn’t exactly something new.  It has been a long process of anger and loathing experienced when agreeing with people like Liz Kendall against my own party, over and over again, on the biggest issue of the day.

Ever since I can remember, I have always supported the Conservative Party.  I liked them as a young primary school child, albeit more due to preferring the colour blue.  I greatly admired Margaret Thatcher in my latter primary school days – and recall feeling sadness when she left.

I was sad and somewhat fearful when Tony Blair won in 1997 – I claim to be the first person to call him Tony B liar – it seemed like I was the only person to see through the spin at the time.  I was the only Tory in Hull back then, though afraid to argue my case as violence often accompanied an appreciation of the Conservative Party (one still could easily get punched for saying anything good about Margaret Thatcher in certain areas of Hull).

At university I didn’t really care too much – I did have a feeling that the world owed me a living for being clever enough to get to university, but yet still did not consider any other party than the Conservative Party.  Alas, I never voted.

Since then I have voted for the Conservative Party in almost every election, even crime and police commissioner elections.  The only time I voted for another party, was for tactical reasons in a local election – Labour still got something like 60% of the vote.

Even Michael Howard’s “are you thinking what we’re thinking” didn’t put me off, though I did shudder a bit.

It feels very sad, but finally I have to admit that the Conservative Party is no longer my party.  I can no longer identify as a Conservative.

It isn’t just about Brexit, as major a part as that is.  However, it is the prism through which everything will be judged for the next decade or two.

I cannot see much happening in the next two parliaments which is not Brexit-related – the amount of bills that will need working on will take up a huge amount of parliamentary time.  Meanwhile, serious problems run the risk of going unattended – infrastructure, social care, NHS, prisons, pensions – the whopping great big debt from Labour’s Great Recession – there simply won’t be the time, and more importantly, the political will for necessary reform in key areas.

And I fear about what will happen to government finances after the next recession – because one will happen and we are still spending far too much money.

I do not want to be associated with a failing Conservative government – and not every Conservative government in history is (or should be) as revered as Thatcher’s, Major’s and Cameron’s.  Ted Heath’s abysmal consensus-crap is a fine example of a poor Tory government.

Also I do not like Theresa May.  Like Michael Howard, there is something of the night about her – the remainer that did no campaigning for remain who suddenly thinks the hardest form of Brexit possible is ideal.  Converted overnight?  Rightio.

In my opinion, the two worst bills came from the Home Office (by the way, still waiting for a reply to my job application, if you are reading) during the previous government – the Psychoactive Substances Bill, and The Draft Communications Data Bill (Snooper’s Charter).  And some awful policy like curtailing the amount of foreign students in the attempt to meet that stupid 100,000 immigration target.  Am I really using the word, ‘stupid’?

Then you have to look at her recent, really quite vile threatening behaviour.  Firstly to sack Heseltine from his advisory position for voting against the government.  Then for the pathetic sitting in the House of Lords whilst they were discussing the Brexit bill, like a headmaster watching naughty school children.  Now we have the threat not to co-operate on security with the EU if they don’t give us a good deal.

(Yeah I know it’s The Sun, but it is repeated in all newspapers).

Can you imagine what Margaret Thatcher would think?  The woman who held such great stead in co-operating with our European neighbours against the dangerous Soviet communist beast – which is hardly any less threatening right now.

There is the argument that I should stay and argue my liberal beliefs.  I am…was…a liberal Conservative.  The section of the party represented by Cameron, Osborne, Clarke, etc.

However the UKIP-lite tail of Bone, Redwood and Rees-Mogg (you know, the ordinary working-class people that have taken back control from the elite) and now not only wagging the dog, but they are controlling the dog.  There is no room for a liberal wing.  They are the dog.

Brexit has to happen.  It will be offensive socially and culturally to me and I cannot identify with the political party bringing it about.  It should be economically damaging, if not worse (though I always said that there was a small possibility that it may bring a small overall benefit).  But there is no option unless there is a sudden swing in public opinion over the next two years.

Therefore I cannot allow myself to be associated by supporting the Brexit government.

Then there is the question, who would I vote for if there was a general election tomorrow?

Unless there was absolutely zero risk of a Corbyn government in which case I might vote Liberal Democrat (oh for a proper liberal party), then without a doubt, the Conservative Party.

But as the least bad option.  No campaigning, no being a member, no espousing Conservative beliefs, no shouting “Vote Tory” out of the car on election day.  Begrudgingly voting the least bad option as my democratic duty.

I hope that it isn’t the end of my association with the Conservative Party.  I doubt it is.  They have moved away from me – I have not changed my politics much over the last 5-10 years.  It should be temporary.

Make Ruth Davidson the next leader and I’ll get those leaflets through as many doors as possible.

Categories
Brexit Cameron Must Go David Cameron

Cameron Must Go – NOW

I have awoken to find that the open, welcoming, free-trade loving country that I loved, has been replaced by an insular, backwards-looking nation that I simply do not recognise.

Today is a victory for racism.  Today is a victory for xenophobia.  Today is a victory for lies.

And I have never felt less proud to be British.

This was utterly avoidable.

Firstly, there was no need to call the referendum in the first place.  It was David Cameron’s choice out of party management – a need to placate those swaying towards UKIP especially after the two party betrayals from Reckless and t’other one who is even more forgettable.

It may have helped win the general election.  But that looks short-sighted now after a year in which the Conservative government have, quite frankly, repeatedly fucked up – tax credits, disabled, academies.  And now another one to add to the list.

Secondly, if you are going to call the referendum, then at least fight the damn thing properly.

Cameron should have been on the stage at all major debates – his wimping out from facing the likes of Boris & Farage (utter vermin) on stage in a debating style, rather than one after the other, will have cost us.  The public used to trust Cameron – they gave him an election victory despite disliking the Conservative party as a whole.

More importantly though, the campaign was overly negative, and featured far too much scaremongering.

Maybe that was the media wanting to concentrate on doom, and the ridiculous spin of the likes of Boris – for example when he said Cameron was forecasting World War 3 when he said nothing of the sorts.

The leave campaign was full of absolute lies, the £350m figure, the idea that Turkey is about to join the EU tomorrow, etc etc.  But there are enough people in this country willing to believe lies – just look at the amount of people that shared the #pencilgate crap yesterday.

Give the British people a picture of doom and they simply won’t believe it.

Where was Cameron in arguing the positives of immigration?  Where was Cameron in arguing for the future of a united Europe, one with increasing prosperity?  Why did everything have to have a negative slant?

Cameron is known as the essay crisis leader, but this was his dissertation and his lack of work has led to the ultimate failure.

David Cameron has to go.  And he has to go now.

But what about market instability, I hear you cry?

Well, the British people should have thought about that.  The British people may have voted to “take back control” (still not sure what that moronic saying means) but they have also voted for the pound to slide, a possible increase in interest rates, a possible increase in mortgage rates, a definite increase in prices of imported goods, a likely increase in inflation, a reduction in the value of their pensions, an increase in unemployment, etc etc.  Let them have it.

Unfortunately there are those of us that greatly valued our membership of the European Union that will suffer too.

And for this, David Cameron has to go NOW.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Labour/SNP were in power come Christmas.  It’s a victory for Corbyn too.

Categories
Brexit Economics Voting Remain

Why I Am Voting To Remain. Part 1 – Economics

Over the course of the next week, I am going to explain why I came to my decision to vote to remain in the European Union, in possibly 5 blog posts, separated into distinct chapters.

Like many, my mind was made up long before the campaign started – around a year ago for me.  There is plenty that I don’t like about the European Union in terms of how it organises itself so myself voting to leave was possible.  There was a decision for me to make.

The most important part of any voting decision for myself is the economy, as the economy affects almost everything that a government does.  Of utmost importance to me is a stable, open and growing economy.  I want us to maximise the potential of this country.  Not just for me, my family and my friends, but all of my countrymen – and in fact, all human beings across the world.

Before I go onto the details of the subject, I’d like to clarify two things.  Firstly I am sick of arguing about the European Union so feel free to comment – I might reply but I might not.  If you post a blatant unsubstantiated lie I will just delete it.

Secondly there is lots of bullshit out there on both sides.  I am not going to argue that western civilisation is going to end if we leave the EU, but neither are we going to win the World Cup or be given free super-powered toasters.  To my mind, there have been many blatant lies by the leave team and blatant over-exaggerations from the remain team.  I will try my best to exert a sober analysis from my viewpoint.

I may occasionally use robust language too.

Something I hear from Farage and co is that economists should not be trusted as they did not predict the crash in 2007/08.  The main reason that this was hidden from view was due to the bankers packaging up sub-prime debt with sturdy debt through such instruments as collateralised debt obligations.  This was way beyond my understanding of markets at the time, and I suspect many economists were not aware of this back in the mid-2000’s either.

Some economists did predict it, and so did I.  Albeit I was warning of a severe crash as early as 2004/05 – not realising what was going on in the world of banking.  I do have an economics degree so I have at least a pinch of credibility on this subject.

All economic reports that I have read, such as from PWC, the treasury or the IMF have stated that there will be a short-term economic shock if Brexit occurs.  Even prominent Brexit folk do not argue against this.

At best I’d suggest that we’ll scrape along with not entering a technical recession, ie growth around 0% for 6-12 months.  At worst a loss in GDP of say 6% over 6-12 months.  It will probably be somewhere in the middle, I’d suggest a 1-2% loss.  Maybe 3%.

Another main impact will be a loss in the value of Sterling.  We’ve already seen a slide in the value this week on worries of Brexit.  A vote to leave would likely see a further slide of 10-30% of the Pound, and also a smaller fall in the value of the Euro.

A credit report that I receive from a major agency stated “We also advise to factor in a further depreciation of the pound sterling, which would accelerate if the UK were to leave the EU, as the uncertainty stemming from the possibility of a Brexit is weighing on market sentiment.”

This may all seem quite abstract to you, however as we import much of what we consume, you will quickly notice increased prices on many goods – especially those from non-Euro denominated economies.  As the Euro will also likely fall in value somewhat, there should be less impact on what we import from the Eurozone.

It also means that you will have less foreign currency in your hands when you go on holiday.  I neither want more expensive goods or more expensive holidays.

The third main impact may also see a loss on the stock market – the FTSE 100 has already dropped below 6,000.  You may not care, but your pension is likely invested at least somewhat in the stock market.

On the bright side, a weaker pound would help those exporting to other countries – manufacturers for example.  And tourists – those visiting from America, for example, will have more money to spend.

Yes I am not afraid to argue where there could be positive effects of Brexit.  I’ve had to weigh up the pros and cons.

The possible increase in manufacturing/tourism could even lead to higher employment in those particular industries.

However, the likely recession would lead to job losses overall.  You may note that Labour’s Great Recession did not lead to as many job losses as other recessions, however recessions caused by financial crises tend not to involve huge increases in unemployment.  The government claim of 800,000 job losses upon Brexit is probably cock, but none of us can be certain how many jobs would be lost in a Brexit-vote economic shock.  400,000 to 500,000 job losses through the recession would be more realistic, in my view.

One industry that would likely suffer with Brexit is the financial services industry.  I can see you all crying into your mug of Yorkshire tea but financial services directly contributes around 11% of total tax take in this country.  The amount they pay in tax isn’t far off the budget of the NHS.

Whilst we are here, the idea that if we vote to leave, £350m extra is going to be spent on the NHS is absolutely bullshit.  Firstly the original figure is a blatant lie.  Secondly it seems as though the leave side have spent that amount several times already.  But most importantly, the likely recession and subsequent loss of output will mean that there is actually less money to spend on the NHS – not more.  I repeat that most Brexit folk also expect a short-term recession.

Anyway, back to financial services.  The whole of the city will not suddenly move to Frankfurt.  There are networking and clustering effects which mean much of the city will stay put in London – unless there was a major game-changer such as HSBC leaving entirely.

One of the problems comes through passporting rights, where banking firms within countries in the EU can trade in Euros without having a branch in the Eurozone itself.  This is part of being in the EU and there is less chance of Boris Johnson being re-incarnated as a walnut than those rights continuing with Brexit.

There could therefore be large amounts of business lost to the EU just through these transactions having no choice but to happen in the EU – potentially up to 0.9% of GDP.  I appreciate that you may not care about less banking jobs in the city, but I do care about lower tax take for this country, as that directly impacts the ability of the government to provide services without borrowing or taxing more.

Trade will also not be helped by leaving the European Union.

Currently around 45% of our exports go to the European Union.  Although the percentage of total worldwide exports to the EU is currently falling, the total value traded with the EU continues to rise.  At the moment, are there no tariffs and trade moves freely.  Containers sent to France are not rigorously checked like containers sent to China would be.  So not only are there no actual charges but there are no costs in terms of extra time or paperwork that there would be to non-EU countries.

Tariffs may or may not be applied to our exported goods if we left the European Union.  I simply don’t know.  A more realistic argument would suggest tariffs in some areas, particularly those were the EU has important industries to protect.  The single market in services is not yet complete and I would argue that remaining in the European Union would assist not only in the completion of this but also in ensuring it is most beneficial to the UK.

I accept that at the moment we cannot negotiate our own trade deals.  However if we left we would have to negotiate 53 separate trade deals within 2 years otherwise we will be subject to the normal WTO tariffs applied on trade.  This would make life much more difficult and expensive for exporters and likely totally negate, if not outweigh, the potential positive impact to exporters of a weaker pound.

I highly doubt that we would be able to negotiate 53 separate trade deals on equal terms to what we enjoy through a large trading block, let alone negotiate an equal or not too negative deal with the European Union itself – remembering that we export more to Ireland than China, India and Russia together.  And all in 2 years with our limited amount of negotiators.

Any good trade negotiator from another country would see the weakness of the United Kingdom’s negotiating position and take advantage.  The idea that we will leave the EU and suddenly find ourselves with amazingly favourable deals with the rest of the world is utterly preposterous.

It is certainly possible that we would be able to negotiate full or mostly full access to the European single market, but we would have to accept and implement all regulations set, not to mention the almost certain acceptance of free movement of labour.  Plus if the EU-US trade deal happens, this will likely set the benchmark for all worldwide trade regulation.

There are also more long-term impacts of leaving the EU too.  Of course, there are always more uncertainties as you project further in advance.

The reports I’ve seen all lay out a range of possible outcomes – it is in the realms of possibility that by 2030 there could be an overall slightly long-term benefit to the UK of leaving the EU.  This could happen.  Slightly more likely but still unlikely is that it would be a total disaster with a permanent loss of GDP of up to 10% – completely disastrous.

More realistic would be a long-term negative impact in the region of 1-4% of GDP, from my assessment of the analyses but I stress that this is within a range of possibilities from a slight economic benefit to a major economic disaster.  I also stress that this is permanent – not a temporary recessionary loss of GDP.

Before we joined the European Union, Britain was known as the ‘sick man of Europe’, similar to how Greece is known as this now.  I’d argue that Margaret Thatcher had a hell of a lot of more to do with Britain once again becoming one of the major economies of the world, but it is surely no co-incidence that being part of the European Union has seen our country and economy go from strength to strength during this time.

Personally, I am not willing to take a chance on my personal economic future, or the futures of those I care about, or my country.  That is the main reason why I will never vote Labour and the main reason why I will be voting to remain.

But there are other reasons too.  Next up I will be covering sovereignty.  And hopefully in fewer words!

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Brexit Corbyn EU Referendum Stick Together

OI! Tories. Stick Together.

OK.  I think the Brexit lot are nutcases.  Some of them make quite lucid arguments but many are fanciful – seemingly expecting a large pot of gold just for leaving the world’s largest trading club.  Not to mention the magical sovereignty – wow.  Get in the English Channel.

On the other side, the Brexiters amongst you probably think I am crazy for wanting to stay in a club with at least some democratic deficiency, possibly some corruption and some damn irritating rules that we have applied to our law book.

Boris used to be one of my favourite politicians but I cannot stand the way he has schemed and gone against what I see as his natural pro-EU stance.  I’m no longer sure I could vote for him as the next Conservative leader.

And I wish John Redwood would stop banging on about Europe as if it was the only thing that mattered to the public, when it is in fact the least of our concerns.

I can see some of you that back in May claimed David Cameron to be an electoral genius, that have now suddenly disowned him as though you’ve just found out he drowned your grandmother.

The above sentences are not the smoothest ever introduction to a political argument, and it isn’t going to be the smoothest period for us Conservatives between now and June 23rd.

I’ll probably have a few arguments in the next few months.  I may even say a few rude words to those banding around absolute bullshit, for example that 70 million people from Turkey will suddenly have free movement of labour within the European Union come October.  And certainly against those for whom leaving the European Union is a net curtain upon their semi-racist souls.

But whatever you think about being in or out of the European Union, even if you take the view that leaving is likely to bring a fairly catastrophic drop in GDP of up to 6%, as some studies suggest, this is absolutely nothing compared to the economic carnage that Jeremy Corbyn has planned for us.

The news yesterday that the failed Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is advising the Labour Party on economic matters is a reminder of the true danger that these economically incompetent politicians hold for us.

Yanis took the Greek economy to new depths last year, as capital controls were implemented to stop the remaining banks collapsing.  How anyone could have made the economic situation more perilous in Greece is beyond me, but he managed it.

Now somehow, this forceful chancer, who has about as much tact as Gordon Brown had love for Blair, has recast himself as a western ‘man of the people’ shouting down our alleged austerity as government spending continues to grow.

This character, is now advising the Labour party on economics.  You couldn’t make it up – yet this is deadly serious.

So whatever happens come June 24th, the Conservative party must heal, must come together, must forgive the referendum victors.  And must stop banging on about Europe.

Personally I think Brexit might be a disaster.  It also might work out fine.  But whatever the outcome on June 24th, no matter how much the result disappoints or even angers one side, and there will be some very disenchanted folk out there, we absolutely must not allow Corbyn and cronies anywhere near government.

We must stick together.  Whatever your view on the EU – the real danger is letting Labour back in.