Taking back control of our laws? A reality check, part 3

Following Part 1: Money, Part 2: Borders

The Government’s leaked impact assessments also summarise the economic impact of regulatory divergence: a gain of 0-1.3% of GDP, depending on the study and the pursued policy. The higher number would require repeal of elements across social-, environmental-, energy-, consumer-protection, product-standards, climate-change, air-safety, or banker bonus caps. A majority for such measures is unlikely even among leave-voters, and Government and opposition have already stated that they have no such intentions.

Conversely, the stated wish to safeguard EU-trade as much as possible would likely result in a high degree of voluntary EU-alignment. The EU has made it abundantly clear that any trade-deal would be contingent-upon a level playing field, i.e. the prohibition of any kind of substandard process, a condition not limited to EU-bound output. If parallel UK- or non-EU standards were established, EU-variants would need comprehensive documentation and inspection, effectively thwarting any attempts to retain frictionless flows across borders. UK industry, as evidenced by its preference for continued single market membership, has anyhow shown no appetite for the complexity-cost of multiple non-interchangeable supply chains.

Only universally equivalent and credibly enforced UK law could replicate some single-market benefits by maintaining a general trust in the EU-compliance of British industrial output. Mr. Rees-Mogg is quite right: the UK will be a vassal-state, but not only during transition, but permanently and voluntarily. The fact that Parliament will have the costly option to deviate if it wished is a rather theoretical gain, outweighed by the loss of the seat at the lawmaking table.

The UK also aspires to several associate-agency-memberships. If the EU concedes this, which is not at all certain, governance- and enforcement-mechanisms that avoid the letters E,C, and J will be fudged to help Ms. May out, but it will mean effective ECJ-supervision. Nothing else makes sense or would be acceptable to the EU.

Divergence simply makes no business sense. Therefore, the UK will cease to participate in rule-making and become a rule-taker. Again, a very peculiar understanding of “taking back control”.

“Control” of UK law will not only be a rather hollow concept, but quite a painful and humiliating experience: the automatic and invisible flow-down of co-authored EU-law, which, in honesty, did not do anybody any harm, will be replaced by the necessity for UK parliament to follow suit by publicly staging the fight between exceptionalist divergence and pragmatic alignment in every session. The Brexit-fight will continue in perpetuity, because hard Brexiters will view such an arrangement as a partial victory only, and press on. Every win of common sense will revitalise UKIP and likeminded MPs, and every concession to national pride or the hard Brexiters will cost the nation wealth.

As shown before, Brexit will cost the UK a lot more money than it will gain control over, border-“control” will be a costly but futile exercise that will satisfy nobody, and Europe-related UK law will be written in Brussels and copied in Westminster as long as the UK wants to be in business with the EU.

I cannot imagine a bigger mockery of democracy than carrying out this Brexit, which breaks all of its three fundamental promises, without a final say by he people. Time to think again, before printing blue passports in France.

* Arnold Kiel is a self-employed Management Consultant, father of two sons in British education, and very concerned about their future in this Europe

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39 Comments

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Apr '18 - 11:38am

    I might as well say, before some exasperating or misleading remark in subsequent comments sparks off another pointless contretemps, that I agree with almost every word of this (except for the restrained hyperbole of the last paragraph).
    The sorts of laws that the EU makes are overwhelmingly technical, expert-led law-making, influenced by evidence and interest-group lobbying in much the same way that they would be if they were made locally, and with all the obvious advantages to frictionless trade. There’s no reason to think we would make significantly different laws in the UK alone, let alone better ones.

  • William Fowler 3rd Apr '18 - 12:15pm

    More likely there will be a gradual increase in trade with fast growing areas outside the EU who will be salivating at the outrageous prices we pay for cars, food, etc, and eventually the EU will not be important enough in trade terms to warrant mirroring their laws… actually the big elephant in the room is potential Labour govn and confiscatory Nationalisation plans (to in all but name include private rented property as well as the usual suspects) that I suspect will go against the rules in the deal the Tories agree with the EU which will mean Labour will pull out of the trade deal so it won’t be a problem after all (everything else will be a problem, though).

  • @ Arnold
    Thanks for the three articles.
    The ‘Power of Three’ has been highly effective in the Leave campaign.
    It is time to respond to it on every occasion as ‘The Mindless Mantra’.

  • Arnold Kiel 3rd Apr '18 - 1:41pm

    As a P.S.: the Guardian has counted and documented 11 broken Brexit-promises:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2018/mar/28/11-brexit-promises-leavers-quietly-dropped

  • Arnold Kiel 3rd Apr '18 - 7:16pm

    William Fowler,

    I agree with you that UK-non-EU trade is likely to grow, but I believe this would be equally possible while being an EU-member. The EU external tariffs, e.g. on cars are a trade-off between European consumer and worker interests, and are therefore aways debatable; making e.g. Kias a little cheaper, but closing Vauxhall is unlikely to be considered a national success. I doubt that these industry- and agriculture-related import barriers are a major obstacle to the UK’s commercial success outside the EU which is much more likely to center around high-value services where the UK is already a global leader and where the EU is no impediment.

    Consumer benefits by lowering external barriers must always be weighed against local employment and the counterweighing interest in maintaining a level playing field for full EU-access. I cannot imagine a scenario, not even long-term, where the cost of dropping EU-alignment really unblocks opportunities which are more valuable in the aggregate.

  • I agree with you that UK-non-EU trade is likely to grow, but I believe this would be equally possible while being an EU-member.

    UK export trade to non-EU countries was increasing faster than the UK’s single market trade, hence why – the ignorant – keep pointing to the decline in the headline percentage of UK trade with the EU27. So there is no need to ‘believe’ the evidence is there for all to see.

    Import trade is as Arnold suggests, a balancing act between protecting UK jobs and thus putting money in the pockets of consumers and allowing the same consumers to purchase at prices which undercut their ability to earn…

    UK’s commercial success outside the EU which is much more likely to center around high-value services where the UK is already a global leader and where the EU is no impediment.
    Well as the UK is leaving the single market, the UK has little option to dramatically grow it’s non-EU services trade, given as yet it looks like UK services trade with the EU27 will be dramatically reduced after Brexit…

  • Peter Martin 4th Apr '18 - 5:56am

    The argument, prior to the referendum, was that the UK was a sovereign country. The power of the EU to shape national laws was greatly exaggerated by its political opponents. Or am I misremembering what was said?

    But now the argument seems to be that the EU is all powerful. Even if we leave we still won’t get our law making ability back. Or, am I misunderstanding was is being said?

  • The power of the EU to shape U.K. laws is greatly exaggerated. The power and the record of the U.K. government to asset strip has not been recognised. Yesterday I taravelled on Eurostar. Fortunately I had booked a train to Brussels, and I think there were only two cancelled yesterday. When we got to Lille there was an an announcement that the one and only train to Paris that evening would leave soon from the neighbouring station. What has this got to do with anything? We sold off our share of Eurostar. The drivers are em-lyre by SNCF. This is the way we have protected our national interest.
    By the way at St Pancras British passport holders were separated from the other EU. Recently on a trip, by boat, to Ireland I was asked to show my passport.

  • Arnold Kiel 4th Apr '18 - 9:01am

    Roland,

    the UK always has had and will have, irrespective of its EU membership, the option to grow its non-EU service-trade, but not dramatically, because it is already very successful in this segment: the world’s rich, wherever they are. Financial services passporting, which is likely to be lost, is a special arrangement allowing EU-mass-market business, a relevant option only in advanced markets. Again, nothing is being gained in exchange for losing this.

    It is indeed not surprising, that EU-trade is the less dynamic area: after 40 years of integration, common-market collaboration is mature, as are the dynamics and demographics of the countries involved.

    Peter Martin,

    the explanation is simple: common EU legislation in commercial areas provides high value at low cost in terms of compromising national sovereignty. This is why all members agreed to harmonised legislation in the first place: there rarely are conflicts of interest as frictionless participation in the world’s largest market almost always trumps national special interests. The EU is, in this regard, powerful, without making member states powerless. It creates shared and thereby extended power. Exiting these arrangements will therefore be very costly without materially restoring national powers.

    Unsurprisingly, leavers who were so keen to “free the country from the shackles of Brussels” invariably fail to name a single EU law they want to abolish or materially change. As the PM of Luxembourg famously said: “in the past, the UK was in and wanted lots of opt-outs, now it wants to be out with lots of opt-ins.”

  • Arnold Kiel.
    Thank you for the famous quote from the prime minister of Luxembourg. Had never heard it. I must read the wrong papers. It really sums up the situation.

  • Peter Martin 4th Apr '18 - 9:40am

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I don’t believe there is any real problem in harmonisation of such things as regulations on how foodstuffs should be prepared on public health grounds. We can all agree on something sensible so that these can be traded freely across borders. That’s not the issue as I’m sure you well know.

    We had all that when the UK was a member of the EEC. It’s the move to the EU with the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties which are several steps too far for most UK opinion. Even most UK remain opinion. Otherwise we’d be in the euro and be part of Schengen.

    You’ve still not answered my question of how the UK can cope with being part of a trading bloc that consists of depressed economies or mercantilistic economies. We’re always going to end up with a trade deficit which has to be funded by debt.

  • Peter Hirst 4th Apr '18 - 1:14pm

    It is our social, environmental and rights agenda that will suffer as we decide what to do with each bit of eu legislation. It will alter our parliamentary business dramatically. Political considerations will mean we go one way or another and I’m not optimistic.

  • Arnold Kiel 4th Apr '18 - 1:15pm

    Peter Martin,

    your dislike for “a trading bloc that consists of depressed economies or mercantilistic economies” is neither new nor relevant here. The rational choice of preferred trading partners is based on the volume of goods and services exchanged (and, as I have repeatedly underlined, the UK does not have to choose). All parties, including UKIP and the hard-Brexit-minded Conservatives agree that all benefits of single-market membership are worth preserving, they only dislike some of the accompanying obligations.

    The UK’s deficit with the rest of the EU is the result of relative production-competencies and consumption-preferences; changing them forcefully will make the UK poorer. Damaging mutually beneficial trading relationships just because they produce deficits is what Trump tries right now. We shall soon see the results. The US is much more resilient against this kind of trade impediment than the UK because of its lower trade-dependency, its global financial and commercial power, and its continuing attractiveness for FDI.

  • Peter Martin 4th Apr '18 - 6:01pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “The UK’s deficit with the rest of the EU is the result of relative production-competencies and consumption-preferences”

    How then do you explain the UK’s near balanced trade with the ROW? If there was any problem with the UK economy and “production-competencies and consumption-preferences”, per se, then it would show up in similar measure everywhere and not just with Germany and the EU.

    If Germany is determined to run a surplus then someone, somewhere else, has to be accommodating enough to run a deficit. That’s such an obvious point that I’m surprised you’re bothering to dispute it. Saying that Donald Trump does have a valid point doesn’t make me like him any more that you do! But, of course he does! The same argument applies to the UK and any other country who supports the German surplus and allows the German Government to get away with a highly destabilising mercantilism.

    https://www.yanisvaroufakis.eu/2012/04/21/german-mercantilism-and-the-failure-of-the-eurozone-guest-post-by-heiner-flassbeck/

  • Philip Knowles 5th Apr '18 - 4:55am

    Peter Martin
    Not sure where you got the figures from for ‘a near balance of trade with ROW’. The ONS figures for the last quarter of 2017 show a deficit of half that of EU trade of about £12B and £24B. That’s not a near balance.
    Figures since 2008 are skewed because the :worldwide crash’ was mainly US and EU economies and the ROW continued to grow. Trade with the ROW naturally increased – the rising tide principle – and was heavily used by the Leave campaign. EU growth is now moving back to pre-2008 figures (unlike the UK). We are about to leave the EU when it would be most helpful to our own growth to stay in.

  • Andrew Daer 5th Apr '18 - 7:08am

    As usual from Arnold, this is well thought out and informative. My (considerably) less technical observation on this subject is that while canvassing and (more recently) stopping people in the street by a pro-EU stand, I have met a great many Leave voters, many of whom have said taking back control of our laws was key to their decision. Not a single one of those people were able to name even one of the laws they ‘object to’.
    The feeling that we are being ‘ruled by the EU’ (and by the ‘EU’ they mean Germany, the country we defeated in 1945, and again, much more significantly, in 1966) is a feeling of personal inadequacy, not a critique of the legal framework by which our country is governed. This is why they are so bemused by discussion about EU laws. It is a subject most of them no nothing about.
    Actually, one person did come up with a law that had turned him against the EU. It was (of course) the one about how bendy bananas are allowed to be.
    In the past I have been told I am calling all leave voters stupid. I am not. However, what I have said about ordinary voters has come from my own experience of talking to hundreds of people in South Gloucestershire, and it is true.

  • Arnold Kiel 5th Apr '18 - 7:36am

    Andrew Daer,

    thank you for your friendly and front-line-based support. The banana-regulation is also a leave lie, chiefly promoted by her HM’s current foreign secretary. In order to facilitate trade, the EU has classified bananas, which, due to their low value and long travel, cannot be inspected before ordering. No shape is forbidden, but importers and consumers are protected against misrepresentation.

  • Peter Martin 5th Apr '18 - 1:38pm

    @ Philip Knowles,

    I’d advise some caution against using just one quarters figures. The figures I had in mind were from the ONS too. I was slightly understating my case. We have a trade surplus with the ROW.

    In 2016:
    EU Imports £318 bn
    EU exports £236 bn
    EU trade deficit £82bn

    ROW Imports £243 bn
    ROW Exports £284 bn
    ROW trade surplus £41 bn

    So, as I was saying, its the EU that is the problem not British Industry per se. We can afford to buy more from the ROW even if our trade with the EU declines. I’m more than happy to drink Chilean, Australian and Argentinian wine. Preferably, and unlike now, tariff free.

    If VW doesn’t want to supply my next car I’ll buy a Honda. I probably should anyway just as a protest against German mercantilism!

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/whodoestheuktradewith/2017-02-21

  • Peter Martin 5th Apr '18 - 2:09pm

    @ Andrew Daer,

    “Not a single one of those people were able to name even one of the laws they ‘object to’.”

    This argument misses the point. You could ask an ardent Scottish Nationalist which UK laws they specifically object to. Or a Catalonian Nationalist about Spanish law. They’ll all be hard put to name anything in particular. “So you’re going to stop voting SNP and start voting for the Lib Dems?” you may ask. I don’t think you’ll like the likely reply.

    The question is who has the final say. Which is the supreme authority? The Westminster Parliament or the European Parliament? And what about the European Court of Justice? Can their decisions overrule Westminster law? Well yes they can. So where is the line drawn? That’s all a very hazy and unclear area at the moment.

  • @Peter Martin & Andrew Daer – Re: UK-EU27 trade and UK-RoW trade

    I suspect the real problem is the different types of exports and imports going on. ie. we need to drill into the figures to understand both what is going on and the omissions.

    Also, working on the assumption that Brexit actually happens, how might this change. For example, it is my understanding that a significant proportion of our EU imports are essentials ie. food. So if we are to move this trade away from the EU (as some Brexiteers want), what does this do to our RoW trade surplus/deficit.

    From what I can see, Brexit or no Brexit, the UK will continue to be a net importer of goods and with the home market shrinking from circa 512m to circa 66m people, I expect the UK’s trade deficit to grow rather than shrink.

  • Peter Martin 5th Apr '18 - 3:03pm

    @ Roland,

    “I expect the UK’s trade deficit to grow rather than shrink”

    Well it’s possible. But the trade deficit, or the current account deficit, is exactly the same as what our trading partners want to save in our currency ie Pounds sterling. If we move more to new partners who want to save more it will increase, if they want to save less it will decrease.

    So it’s not really in our hands. And also its not really too much of a problem unless we make it into a problem. A surplus isn’t necessarily good and a deficit isn’t necessarily bad if we understand how current and capital flows work.

    Arnold Kiel won’t ever, I don’t expect, ever grasp this. The Germanic view is that trading surpluses should be compulsory for everyone!

  • @Peter Martin & Andrew Daer,

    “Not a single one of those people were able to name even one of the laws they ‘object to’.”

    This argument misses the point. You could ask an ardent Scottish Nationalist which UK laws they specifically object to. Or a Catalonian Nationalist about Spanish law.

    I suspect part of the problem is geography and peoples perceptions of what that means.

    Fundamentally, a Scottish Nationalist objects to being ruled by a seemingly remote English Westminster. The English (well ignoring Yorkshire, Cornwall and a few other realms) have ‘enjoyed’ being ruled by the relatively local Westminster for many centuries. I suspect that part of the EU bogeyman being pedalled by Brexiteers, is that it is a very new experience for the English to have a remote assembly having such an obvious say in its affairs. What is interesting is that Brexiteers seem to have turned a blind eye to the other party who has had a major impact on UK affairs and who are likely to have a big impact on UK affairs post-Brexit, namely the USA.

    Interestingly, history supports the importance of geography, we only need to look at the motivations of William of Normandy and the political situation in northern France to appreciate why having claimed the English crown he effectively stuck two fingers up at the French monarchy and declared independence. Similar motivations surround the reasons why the Thirteen colonies declared their independence from Britain and subsequently formed the USA.

  • OnceALibDem 5th Apr '18 - 3:34pm

    “The banana-regulation is also a leave lie,”

    The problem is, it isn’t

    The EU has regulations on how many bananas can be presented in a bunch. I have never heard anyone suggest why it is necessary for government to legislate to this micro level.

    “C.
    Presentation

    The bananas must be presented in hands or clusters (parts of hands) of at
    least four fingers. Bananas may also be presented as single fingers.

    Clusters with not more than two missing fingers are allowed, provided
    that the stalk is not torn but cleanly cut, without damage to the neigh-
    bouring fingers.
    Not more than one cluster of three fingers with the same characteristics
    as the other fruit in the package may be present per row.
    In the producing regions, bananas may be marketed by the stem.”

    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1994R2257:20060217:EN:PDF

  • Arnold Kiel 5th Apr '18 - 6:20pm

    OnceALibDem,

    oops; you got me there (I was using a secondary source). So the banana-question is indeed a valid reason for leaving.

    Peter Martin,

    “A surplus isn’t necessarily good and a deficit isn’t necessarily bad”. I totally grasp and agree with that. “it’s not really in our hands. And also its not really too much of a problem unless we make it into a problem.” I couldn’t agree more. “…Donald Trump does have a valid point…” Never ever.

    I was writing “relative production-competencies and consumption-preferences”, and the adjective is essential. It is not an absolute category but always depends on the two countries or markets one looks at. Once the UK and the rest of the EU are separate markets, the UK’s deficit will grow, because the combined volume and variety of EU products is naturally greater than the UK’s, especially after many trans-European supply-chain-elements have left the UK. Lost British purchasing-power will act against but not balance it. And rush with that Honda, as long as it is made in England.

    Martin,

    The question of legal subsidiarity from the viewpoint of the UK’s devolved administrations is probably more contentious, because full English supremacy was the starting point of an ongoing process encompassing many, also constitutional questions. The areas of EU-legal supremacy were agreed to by all fully sovereign nation states, and address rather technical and commercial matters, without infringing materially on constitutional fundamentals.

  • OnceALibDem 5th Apr '18 - 7:30pm

    “oops; you got me there (I was using a secondary source).”
    So basically what the Brexiters do…. 🙂

    I notice you’ve not been able to answer why it is necessary to legislate for the circumstances in which bananas can be displayed in bunches of three.

    “So the banana-question is indeed a valid reason for leaving.”
    Well obviously not in and of itself. But it is symbolic of the over-legislating the EU does. More imporantly though it is a common example of how the pro-EU tendency deals with criticism of anything EU. Pretend it isn’t actually the case or that it is all in the greater good. One of the Brexiters trump cards is ‘you can’t trust the political elite – they are lying to you’. And then you go and do just that.

    It was an atttitude that meant there was no attempt to deal with systemic problems in the EU and no real reform movement. Look at the Lib Dem European manifesto in 2014. It had virtually nothing about reforms to the European institutions (other than abolishing one minor committee everyone agreed should be abolished).

    FWIW I campaigned for and voted remain. It was a campaign run by people who didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

  • Peter Martin 5th Apr '18 - 7:39pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “the UK’s deficit will grow”

    Roland made the same comment (presuming you mean in trade/current account) so I’ll refer you to the same answer I gave him.

    But let’s look at it another way. Any deficit in the current current account has to be balanced by a surplus in the capital account. If there is a tendency for imbalance the exchange rate moves. So, why, if Brexit is going to make the UK such a basket case, will we then attract a capital inflow?

  • @OnceALibDem – “The banana-regulation is also a leave lie,”
    The issue is that it is both true and a lie!

    As Arnold pointed out for meaningful trade to occur without people having to personally inspect goods, we need agreed standards, in the case of fresh produce such as bananas, cucumbers, apples etc. we have a grading system, the problem is that whilst practically everyone knows what a banana is, getting them to agree on the difference between the three classes of banana and putting that into words that a third-party can understand and apply so that if a buyer orders a container of Class 1 banana’s that is what is delivered, is a little more problematic and can at times lead to some seemingly questionable criteria being specified.

    So the banana and other regulations are things that have been found necessary for the single market, but to suggest that the specification and agreement of such trade enablers is symbolic of the over-legislating the EU is a lie.

    If you object to the banana regulation and what it and similar regulations are trying to achieve, I suggest you try purchasing stuff directly from China, without going over and visiting people and factories, or having to purchase products from several different manufacturers and assess on delivery.

    Your comments about the Reform agenda and Remain campaign, I broadly agree with. Unfortunately, the UK has put the cart before the horse with the in/out referendum and then shot itself in the foot by invoking Article 50. As currently (Brexit/no Brexit) I see no real opportunity for the UK to push the EU reform agenda; EU reform will now be driven by the EU27. Which with the prospect of a transitional arrangement that for political reasons gets extended and extended, doesn’t bode well.

  • OnceALibDem 6th Apr '18 - 1:31am

    “If you object to the banana regulation and what it and similar regulations are trying to achieve,”

    I think you need to read the bit I quoted and object to. And the massive over regulation it entails. There is absolutely no requirement (or at least I’ve never seen an attempt to argue the point) in order to facilitate international trade for there to be rules about how many clusters of three bananas can be presented on a row in a shop. And that is what that regulation says.

    And if we are looking for EU laws to object to you don’t have to go far:
    https://action.openrightsgroup.org/say-no-article-13s-censorship-machine

    I have a bit of a Toby Zeigler approach to the EU. The EU stops wars. And we find a way to fix the rest so it’s a really REALLY weird thing for Liberals to say that no-one can find and identify a law from an institution that they object to. If that’s the case then it must reflect quite badly on how well publicised things are. Because no institution in history has produced a body of legislation that didn’t have at least some objections to something.

  • Arnold Kiel 6th Apr '18 - 6:54am

    Peter Martin,

    you won’t. That is why Brexit is such a disaster. There are scary structural similarities between the UK and the Greek economies, and now an increasing risk of similar outcomes.

  • Arnold Kiel 6th Apr '18 - 7:31am

    OnceALibDem,

    of course all legislation on all levels is controversial; after all, it is there to solve conflicts, it would not be needed otherwise. But let us not forget the remarkable fact that all EU member states voluntarily gave up their legislative supremacy in certain areas to the common institutions of the EU, because they were convinced of the benefits of this common approach.

    Now I fully admit to being poorly informed on the banana-Directive, but the accusation of lying is a bit harsh. Andrew referred to the legality of their bendiness, and you were quoting the rules for their display.

    The question whether this is legislative overreach is the relevant one. I don’t know. I would look at the cost-benefit-balance of such regulation from a consumer’s viewpoint. Las time I looked, a kilo of bananas at Aldi or Lidl was well below 1 Pound; this seems rather cheap, given the global logistics involved. The higher Waitrose-price is not the EU’s fault. When I go to Brixton or Tooting, I also find an enormous variety of bananas in terms of size and colour, even bendiness (some of these fruits probably aren’t even bananas). Assuming that these stalls do not all break EU law, I see a wide variety and rather low prices. Therefore, I would conclude: no overreach.

    This banana-story lends itself to ridicule, and is therefore quite popular. But you raised the more important aspect: whether it is a symptom of wider EU legislative overreach, i.e. a widespread excess of consumer-cost over -benefit. I doubt that very much, but cannot directly prove it.

    A sizeable list of evidently useless (not just controversial; that’s normal) EU-legislation would strongly support the case for legislative overreach, and I am convinced many leave-campaigners have tried. Apparently, it does not exist.

  • Nonconformistradical 6th Apr '18 - 8:17am

    “This banana-story lends itself to ridicule, and is therefore quite popular. But you raised the more important aspect: whether it is a symptom of wider EU legislative overreach..”

    Or whether it is a symptom of UK gold-plating as referred to by Tim13 above…

  • Peter Martin 6th Apr '18 - 12:13pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I sometimes think you are starting to get the idea, like when you begrudgingly agree that if there’s no net capital inflow (capital account surplus) there can’t be a corresponding current account deficit.

    But then you say something silly like:

    ” There are scary structural similarities between the UK and the Greek economies, and now an increasing risk of similar outcomes.”

    The bid difference is that the UK is a currency issuer whereas Greece is a currency user. The UK can never run out of ££. Greece can and has run out of euros.

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/07/06/why-we-can-never-be-greece-when-it-comes-to-national-debt/

  • @OnceALibDem – I think you need to read the bit I quoted and object to.

    I did read it directly from the source document you linked to and hence read it in context…

    And if we are looking for EU laws to object to you don’t have to go far…
    I would agree this is an objectionable law. However, the EU isn’t unique in this respect, we only need to look at the way Westminster has and is trying to regulate the Internet to see similar daftness…

    Which brings us back to the fundamentals, it is hardly surprising that Westminster politicians have, in the main, been ineffectual in influencing the EU, both before Brexit and now in the Brexit negotiations; doesn’t bode well for the post-Brexit UK…

  • Arnold Kiel 6th Apr '18 - 3:44pm

    Peter Martin,

    I wrote “risk of similar outcomes”, meaning real phenomena like employment or public debt, just like in 1976. Somehow, happily printing away didn’t do the trick then, but the UK needed the largest IMF-loan in history.

  • Peter Martin 6th Apr '18 - 7:48pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    A currency issuing government can always have full employment. It can always buy what is for sale in its own economy. Including the labour power of its residents.

    The UK has never needed IMF money. It was a mistake on the part of the 74-79 Labour Govt to think it did. It tried, and failed, in 1976, to keep the pound at an artificially high value of above $2.00 In 1985 the Tories let it fall to $1.08 and life when on perfectly normally. Hardly anyone remembers that now.

    Just on point of information: There’s no precious metal link to money any longer. All money, including the euro, is either printed or created in a computer. It’s only how much is created and spent that matters.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-rock-star-appeal-of-modern-monetary-theory/

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    If we had joined the Euro Brexit probably wouldnt have happened. Every year people predict the Euro will fail, yet it doesnt. The Pound is still subject to poli...
  • Helen Dudden
    John Marriott and take care of their own....
  • John Marriott
    Liberals may divide; but Tories take away!...
  • Ian Sanderson (RM3)
    We have to run on two parallel tracks at the moment: First: Brexit was a huge mistake and should be reversed, but our power to achieve this depends on, at leas...