Tuesday, 14 June 2016

#Brexit - The big Sovereignty lie

The biggest porkie told by the #Brexit campaign is that the UK is no longer a sovereign country as a member of the EU. The lie is peddled that Brussels makes all our laws and the UK has no say in any of this. How the Brexit mob have got away with this one is beyond me. This is complete nonsense and nothing could demonstrate this more clearly than the fact that we are having a referendum on membership. The truth is that the UK can leave at any time if Parliament decides it is so. There is no constitutional requirement for a referendum and Parliament is well within its rights to completely ignore such a vote (although such a move would be very stupid).

A long succession of UK Prime Ministers could have pulled us out, had it been Parliaments will. The reason Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron haven't is because Parliament has not wanted us to quit. This has been true of Labour and Tory governments as well as Coalitions and minority governments. At the last election, several parties offered a clear option of pulling out of the EU. The BNP, UKIP and Respect to name a few stood on anti EU platforms. Had any of these got in, they would have had a sovereign right to pull us out, without any debate at all.

There are plenty of rules and laws we abide by that are not made in Parliament. Many confuse the European Court of Human rights with the EU. This institution was set up by the British and is based on British law. We may not always like its verdicts, but any sane person would recognise that ultimately it protects us in a way that national laws don't (ask victims of Nazis and Serb death squads in Bosnia). There are also treaties that tie us to quite fundamental commitments. Under the NATO treaty, we would find ourselves at war with any country that attacked a member. If Syria was to attack Turkey our treaty commitments would oblige us to assist Turkey.

The UK have signed all of the treaties that bind us to these commitments, because we are fundamentally a decent society and we recognise that we need to exercise our position in the world as a responsible member of a team. The UK is not a country that could survive in splendid isolation. We import food, cars, trains, energy, computers and raw materials. EU membership guarantee us preferential rates for these. It may well be that in the fullness of time the UK could renegotiate such deals independently, but anyone who guarnatees this is not telling the truth. Of course many countries may be keen to do a deal, but these agreements are drawn up by armies of highy paid lawyers, who have a vested interest in dragging the discussions out for as long as possible. Anyone who has ever been party to a divorce will know how lawyers ramp up the bills. This is just when a house, a car, a TV, some CD's and the cat are at stake. Imagine a whole country worth of trade deals.

The Brexit camp have made no attempt at all to outline what the UK's trading relationship with the rest of the world will look like in five years time. What we can say with 100% certainty is that there will be a lengthy period of uncertainty for the UK's finacial markets and stock exchange. No one knows how long this period will persist, but it is likely to see inflation, a sterling crisis and a stock market crash. We are already seeing early signs of this. This is not scaremongering, it is based on experience of what always happens when there is uncertainty. Banks factor in risks and so ramp up interest rates. Steling dips, so imports become more expensive. Exports become cheaper to foreigners, so supply tightens and the cost of UK produced products rise. Stocks are depressed as companies have to shelve plans until they see what the likely settlement will be. External investors cry away from countries in termoil, so investment dries up and unemployment rises,

All of this is not conjecture but what has happened throughout history when an economy suffers from uncertainty and risk. A Brexit may mean rules are made by civil servants in Whitehall rather than Brussels, but neither Brussels or Whitehall control financial markets. We saw that with the ERM crisis. In the global economy, media tycoons like Murdoch and faceless  oligarcs are the real powers. The reason the likes of Murdoch are keen to destroy the EU is because they see it is a powerful threat to their preferred brand of corporate capitalism. It is quite laughable to read The Sun ranting about British independence, when it is run by an Australian who has adopted US citizenship. The biggest threat to UK sovereignty is unaccountable monopolistic capitalists such as  Murdoch, who are happy to see large swathes of the world population pauperised to ensure they live in a low tax economy.

I understand why many working people in the UK are deeply suspicious of the EU. I don't think they are stupid or little Englanders. I think most are patriotic and decent people who are rightly concenred about the great nation they live in. I find it truly sickening the way the billionaires who run our media and fund UKIP and the Brexit campaign are so happy to cynically mislead and distort the truth, simply so they can pay less tax and see lighter controls on their commercial activities. We see many ridiculous claims about how much money will be saved if we leave the EU., The sad truth is that if this happens, any savings will simply be used to cut taxes for the mega rich. If you doubt me, then consider this. Despite huge austerity measures, the UK Tory government has already cut taxes. If we pull out of the EU and Boris takes over on the rip tide that follows, he will simply do what all hard right Tory leaders do. He'll pay back the vested interests that put him in power with more tax cuts.

If you are truly concerned about the soverignty of the UK, ask yourself why we have handed control of our media, our railways, our energy companies and our water to foreign companies. Ask yourself how many British products you have in your home. Don't blame the EU for this. This is all the product of rampant corporate monopolies masquarading as capitalism. The sad truth is that the UK government has already sold the family silver to foreign corporations. Whether we are in or out of the EU we have no control over the companies that control the basic things we need to live in the 21st century. You may think that the UK on its own will be better placed to stand up to these monopolies. I think that such a view is delusional.

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