Tag Archives: patriotism

Bruges Groups meeting 24 September 2014  – The EU’s attack on Britain’s most successful industry [the City]

Prof Tim Congdon  (Founder of Lombard Street Research)

Dr Gerrard Lyons  (Chief Economic Adviser to Mayor of London )

Lars Seiet Chistensen  (CEO Saxo Bank)

Robert Henderson

The three speakers were all agreed on this

  1. The desirability of Britain’s financial services sector continuing to grow.
  2. The dominance of London as a purveyor of financial products.
  3. The damaging effect of the EU on the City in particular and British financial services in general, both at present and the great potential for much more destructive EU policies in the future.
  4. The resentment of other EU members, particularly the large ones, of Britain’s dominance as a financial centre. Congdon and Christensen suggested that this resentment led to active attempts by the EU to take away this British dominance through EU legislation.

Other points to note were (a)  Congdon and Christensen being  certain that the only way forward for Britain was to leave the EU   because Cameron’s promised renegotiation would produce nothing of consequence and (b)  Lyons coming out with the “London benefits from immigration”  fantasy (exactly who  benefits?) and claiming, curiously , that what was needed was the “financial equivalent to the Luxembourg  compromise” to protect the City, curiously because the  Compromise, if it has any practical force at all (which is dubious), already covers such  financial matters because it embraces all aspects of the EU open to majority vote, viz “Where, in the case of decisions which may be taken by majority vote on a proposal of the Commission, very important interests of one or more partners are at stake, the Members of the Council will endeavour, within a reasonable time, to reach solutions which can be adopted by all the Members of the Council while respecting their mutual interests and those of the Community”.

However, the Compromise, which is only a political declaration by Foreign Ministers and cannot amend the Treaty, did not prevent the Council from taking decisions in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community, which provided for a series of situations in which qualified-majority voting applied. Moreover, qualified-majority voting has been gradually extended to many areas and has now become normal procedure, unanimity being the exception. The Luxembourg Compromise remains in force even though, in practice, it may simply be evoked without actually having the power to block the decision-making process.”

It is a little bit disturbing that someone advising  a powerful politician such as Boris Johnson  is so ill informed about the reality of the EU.

The great omission from the event  was any consideration of what the British public wants.   All three speakers  completely ignored the democratic will of the British people.  The British may not like the EU,  but neither do they like globalism. It will be impossible to win a referendum on Britain’s membership of  the EU if the electorate know that all they are being asked to do is to swap the overlordship of Brussels for the  ideological despotism of free trade and mass immigration. (The laissez faire approach involved in globalisation is those with power enforcing an ideology by refusing to act to protect what the vast majority of human beings regard and have always regarded as the interests of their country and themselves.  It is a tyranny caused by the neglect of the rightful use of state power for the common good.)

Come questions from the audience  I was unable to get myself called. Had I been able to do so I should  have raised the question of  the democratic deficit and the impossibility of persuading the British electorate to vote to leave the EU if the alternative was more state sponsored globalism.  Sadly, those who were called to ask questions complete ignored these  vital questions

After the meeting I  managed to speak to Congdon  and put the question I had been unable to ask to him.  Congdon’s response was a simple refusal to discuss the question of protectionist measures. Indeed, he  became extremely animated in his refusal  saying he would have no truck with such ideas.  This is par for the course when I attempt to debate with laissez faire religionists.  They either do what Congdon does, refuse to debate or become abusive.  These are the classic behaviours of religious believers when their ideas are challenged.  These people know in their heart of hearts that their religion, whether it be sacred or profane, cannot stand up to close examination so in the vast majority of cases they a either refuse to debate or resort to abuse  which has the same effect.

Congdon also made the fantastic  statement that come an IN/OUT  referendum,  the British would vote to come out because they “have always valued freedom”.  Apart from this being historically a highly questionable claim, the vast  demographic changes over the past 60 years wrought by mass immigration have both diluted the Britishness of the population and the British population as a whole has been cowed by more than half a century of political correctness being enforced with ever increasing ruthlessness by  those with power in the country.

The other  issue  I raised with Congdon were the implications  that ever deeper  devolution had for the UK’s relations with the EU .  I put forward a plausible scenario: an in/out referendum is held. England votes 70% to leave while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vote 70% to stay in. I asked Congdon what  he thought would happen if such a vote occurred.  Amazingly,  he said he had no idea.

I need not have weighted the votes so heavily towards a vote to leave in England. The discrepancy in size between England and the other home countries is so huge that  England  would not have to vote YES to leaving the EU by anything like 70 for and 30% against to ensure the referendum was won by the leave the EU side.

The official number of registered electors  qualified to vote in Parliamentary elections at  the end of 2012 and their geographical distribution was as follows::

The total number of UK parliamentary electors in December 2012 was 46,353,900, a rise of 0.5 per

cent from December 2011.

The total number of parliamentary electors in each of the UK constituent countries and the

percentage changes during the year to December 2012 are:

  • England – 38,837,300, a rise of 0.5 per cent
  • Wales – 2,301,100, a rise of 0.1 per cent
  • Scotland – 3,985,300, a rise of 1.1 per cent
  • Northern Ireland – 1,230,200, a rise of 1.4 per cent

Assuming for the sake of simplifying the example that there is a 100% turnout,  23,176,951 votes would be  needed for a vote to leave the EU.  If England voted by 60% to leave that would  produce  23,302,380 votes to leave , more than would be required  for a simple majority.

But that is obviously not the full picture, There would be a substantial vote to leave  in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The combined electorate of Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland in 2012  was 7,516,600.  If  70% of those voted to remain in the EU that would only be 5,261,620 votes.   There would be 2,254,980 votes to leave.  If England voted 54% to leave (20, 972,142 votes) the votes to leave in the whole of the UK would be  23,227, 122 (20, 972,142 +2,254,980) , enough to  win the referendum.

Of course that is not how the vote would be in the real world. The turnout would be nowhere near 100%,  although  it might well be  over eighty per cent if the Scottish referendum is a guide.   How   Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would vote is of course uncertain,  but  I have allotted  such a generous proportion of the vote to the stay in side in those  countries that it is unlikely I  have seriously over-estimated  the vote to  leave.  What the example does show  is that under any likely voting circumstances there would not need to be a very strong YES to leaving vote in England to override a very strong vote to remain part of the EU  in  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If there was such an unbalanced result, that is with England voting to leave and the other three countries voting to stay or even if just one of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland voting to remain in the EU, this would ostensibly produce a potentially incendiary constitutional crisis, especially if  Westminster politicians keep on grovelling to the Celtic Fringe as they did during the Scottish independence referendum ( a practice which  grossly inflated the idea of  Scotland’s ability to be independent without any pain in many Scots’ minds).

I said an ostensibly incendiary situation because in reality there would be little appetite to leave the UK  if the hard truths of  what leaving the UK and joining  the EU would mean were placed in front of voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England or England plus one or two of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be a completely different kettle of fish compared with Scotland leaving the UK with the rest of the UK still in the EU. If any of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland wished to leave the UK they would  and join the EU with the rest of the UK or just England outside of the EU,  they would be faced with an England or a remnant UK state which had regained its freedom of action and would not be bound by EU law.

The strategy of those in who want  the UK to leave the EU should be to reduce the idea amongst voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern  Ireland  that leaving the UK and joining the EU after a UK vote to  leave has taken place would be an easy choice.  To diminish  the  vote to stay in those countries  a pre-emptive strike is required before the referendum  laying before voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the realities of their relationship with the EU and the  UK if they  seek to leave .

This is something which should have been done during the Scottish referendum.  Indeed, the refusal of the Better Together side of the argument to point out these realties was one of the prime reasons for the NO vote not being much larger than it was, handsome as that result was.  The unionist side generally was deeply patronising  to the Scots with their  line that only Scots could have a say in the debate and that the rest of the union had to keep quiet for fear of upsetting the Scots and driving them to a YES vote.  It implied that Scots are essentially less than adults who could not either bear contrary views or have the wit to listen to hard facts.

The primary things the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish should be reminded of are:

  1. Wales and Northern Ireland are economic  basket cases which rely heavily on English taxpayers to fund their public expenditure. To lose that subsidy would cripple them both. Nor would they get anything like as much extra  funding from the EU – assuming it would have them as members –  as they would lose from the end of the English subsidy.

Scotland is in a better position because it is larger and has for the present at least significant oil revenues. But it is a very narrow economy relying very heavily on public service employment – a significant part of which deals with the administration of English public service matters –  while the private business side of is largely comprised of oil and gas, whiskey, food, tourism and financial services.

The figures below are the latest official estimates of the tax raised in each of the four home countries to the end of the 2012/13 financial year. These figures should not be treated as exact to the last million because there are difficulties in allocating revenue to particular parts of the UK, for example, with corporation tax, but they  are broadly indicative of what each country collects in tax I give two sets of figures to show the differences when oil and gas is allocated on a geographical and a population basis.

Table 1 Total HMRC Receipts (Geographical Split of North Sea Revenues), £m

UK         England    %       Wales      %     Scotland   %        N. Ireland %

2012‐13 469,777   400,659 85.3%    16,337 3.5%   42,415 9.0%       10,331   2.6%

Table 2 Total HMRC Receipts (Population Split of North Sea Revenues), £m

2012‐13 469,777   404,760 86.2%   16,652 3.5%   37,811 8.0%        10,518    2.6%

Compare this with public spending for each of the   home countries in the calendar year 2013 (I was unable to find expenditure figures for the financial year but they would be little different) :

England        £456.2 billion – difference of  £56 billion approx. between tax raised and money spent

Scotland        £53.9 billion  – difference  of £12 billion approx. between tax raised and money spent

Wales            £29.8 billion   – difference  of £13 billion approx. between tax raised and money spent

  1. Ireland £19.8 billion   – difference  of £9  billion approx. between tax raised and money spent

NB differences between I tax raised and money spent are based on Table 1 figures which give the most favourable interpretation of Scotland’s tax position.

The approximate  percentage of overspend  (spending less tax collected) by each of the home countries is

England      12%

Scotland     22%

Wales          43%

  1. Ireland 45%

The three smaller countries are accumulating debt at a much greater rate than England. In addition, small countries which go independent would find raising the money to meet their overspends would be much more expensive  than the cost of financing the debt as part of the UK

It is also worth noting in passing  the per head differences which are substantial between England and the other home countries.

In 2012/13, public spending per head in the UK as a whole was £8,788.

-              England £8,529 (3% below the UK average).

-              Scotland: £10,152 (16% above the UK average)

-              Wales: £9,709 (10% above the UK average)

-              Northern Ireland £10,876 (24% above the UK average).

If public spending per head was reduced to the present  English level in the other three home countries  approximately £16 billion would be removed from the UK  budget.

  1. The vast majority of their trade is with England. Barriers created by England’s departure from the EU could have very serious economic consequences any of other home countries remained  within the EU.
  2. Much of what they export to countries outside the EU has to pass through England.
  3. All three countries would be net takers from the EU budget not contributors. The EU are unlikely to welcome with open arms three more small pensioner nations. There would be no guarantee that the EU would accept any or all of them as members, but even if they did they terms they would have to accept would be far more onerous and intrusive than they experience now.  In particular, they would almost certainly have to join the Euro as this is a condition for all new members.
  4. An England or a reduced UK outside of the EU would have to impose physical border controls because any part of the UK which seceded and joined the EU would be committed to the free movement of labour within the EU (more exactly the European Economic Area – EEA). That would mean any number of immigrants from the EEA would be able to enter either England or a reduced UK via whichever part (s) of the UK had seceded and joined the EU.
  5. Being part of the UK gives the smaller home countries great security because the UK still has considerable military clout – ultimately Britain is protected by nuclear weapons – and the size of the population (around 62 million and rising) is sufficient in itself to give any aggressor pause for thought. The proposal for armed forces made in the SNP sponsored White Paper on independence recommended armed forces of 10,000  regulars to start with rising to 15,000 if circumstances permitted.   That would be laughable as a defence force for a country the size of Scotland which has huge swathes of land with very few people on the land.  An independent Wales and N Ireland would be even worse off.
  6. They could not expect to walk away from the Union without taking on a share of the UK national debt and of taxpayer funded pension liabilities proportional to their population, have a currency union to share the Pound, have UK government contracts for anything or retain  the jobs exported from England to do administrative public sector work  for England, for example, much of the English welfare administration is dealt with in Scotland.

If  this is done,  with any luck the enthusiasm for leaving the UK to join the EU if  England or England plus one or more of the other home countries has voted to leave the EU will diminish sufficiently to make a vote to  remain in the EU unlike or at least  reduce  the vote to stay in to level where there is not an overwhelming vote to either stay in or leave.

The persecution of Emma West continues

Robert Henderson

Emma West  was arrested in November 2011 after she protested about immigration whilst travelling on a bus. Her protest was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube as well as being copied by many national media outlets. The video was  viewed millions of times.

Following the upload of the video Emma was arrested, held in the UK’s highest security prison for women , released and then subjected to a year and a half’s intimidation by the state as the powers-that-be desperately tried to get her to plead guilty to charges relating to racially motivated serious crimes (racially aggravated intentional harassment and racially aggravated assault)  which would have almost certainly sent her to prison. Eventually, worn down by the stress she pleaded guilty to the  lesser charge of racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

I say Emma’s outburst was a protest against immigration because that is precisely what it is. Here are some of her comments:

She says: “What’s this country coming too?

“A load of black people and and load of f***ing Polish.”

One commuter challenges West, who rounds on him telling him: “You aren’t English”, to which he replies “No, I’m not”

She then scans the tram, pointing out people one-by-one, saying: “You ain’t English, you ain’t English, None of you are f***ing English.

“Get back to your own f***ing countries.”

“Britain is nothing now, Britain is f***k all.

“My Britain is f**k all now.”

You can argue that is foulmouthed,  but you cannot argue it is anything but a protest against immigration. In fact, it is the most grass-root form of political protest there is, namely, directly engaging with the effects of policy.

Emma lives in a country which has been made unrecognisable by the permitting of mass immigration for over sixty years. Neither Emma nor any other native English man or woman (or Briton come to that) has had any say in this invasion of the country. This most fundamental act of treason has been committed by generations of British politicians who to date have got away with their crime. But to continue to get away with the crime the guilty men and women need to suppress public protest against what they have done.  That is why the authorities were so desperate to get to plead guilty. She was a refusnik and they could not let that pass.  That she resorted to foul language in her frustration is entirely understandable.

But those with power were not satisfied simply with her criminal conviction. Emma has now had her livelihood as a dental nurse taken away by the General Medical Council with this preternaturally smug judgement:

A [Dental Council] spokeswoman said: “Her conduct was truly appalling.

“It clearly has the capacity to bring the profession into disrepute and to undermine public confidence in its standards.

“Furthermore, her violent and abusive conduct would demonstrate a real risk to the safety of patients.

“In relation to her racially aggravated offence, this was committed in a public setting and received further public exposure, as a person had uploaded the video clip to the internet which has been viewed extensively.”

So there you have it, political correctness can not only send you into the clutches of the law but take your means of living away.

For the full story of Emma West’ persecution see

The oppression of Emma West : the politically correct end game plays out

Robert Henderson In November 2011 Emma West was arrested  and subsequently charged for a racially aggravated public order offence (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/emma-west-immigration-and-the-liberal-totalitarian-state/). The charges concerned her  public denunciation of the effects of mass immigration whilst on a tram in Croydon,  a suburb … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , |61 Comments | Edit

Emma West and the State – The State has its way (sort of)

Robert Henderson Emma West has finally been worn down. Eighteen months after she was charged with racially aggravated intentional harassment and racially aggravated assault , she has agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of racially aggravated harassment, alarm … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments | Edit

Emma West’s trial scheduled for the sixth time

Robert Henderson Emma West was due to stand trial at Croydon Crown Court for  two racially aggravated public order offences  arising from her complaint about  mass immigration and its effects made on a Croydon tram  in November 2011 . The … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , , ,,, | 36 Comments | Edit

Emma West trial scheduled for the fifth time

Robert Henderson A fifth, yes that’s fifth,  date for the start of Emma West’s trial on criminal charges arising from her complaint about  mass immigration and its effects made on a Croydon tram  in November 2011 has been set  for  … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood | Tagged , , , , , , ,, | 28 Comments | Edit

What has happened to Emma West?

Robert Henderson It is now 14 months since Emma West was charged with racially aggravated public order offences after she got into an argument on a tram which led her to make loud complaint about the effects of mass immigration. … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments | Edit

Emma West trial delayed for the third time

Robert Henderson The trial of Emma West on racially aggravated public order offences has been delayed for the third time ( http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/Emma-West-trial-adjourned-time/story-16820636-detail/story.html ).  No further date has been set.   The trial was originally scheduled for June, then July and finally September … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments | Edit

Emma West has her trial delayed yet again

The trial of Emma West on two racially aggravated public order offences has been put back to 5 September to allow further medical reports (http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/Trial-alleged-YouTube-tram-racist-Emma-West-moved/story-16543355-detail/story.html).  Her trial was meant to take place on 17th July but a request for … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , ,,, , | 12 Comments | Edit

Courage is the best defence against charges of racism

Robert Henderson The trial of Emma West on two racially aggravated public order charges which was scheduled for 11 June has been postponed until 16 July to enable further psychiatric reports to be prepared. (http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/Emma-West-race-rant-trial-moved-July/story-16346869-detail/story.html). As Miss West was charged … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state part 3

Robert Henderson Emma West appeared at Croydon magistrates court on 3rd January.  She  will stand trial  on  two racially aggravated public order offences, one with intent to cause fear. She will next appear in court  – Croydon Crown Court –  … Continue reading

Posted in Anglophobia, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , ,,, , , | 12 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state part 2

Robert Henderson Emma West has been remanded in custody until 3rd of January when she will appear at Croydon Crown Court (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/tram-race-rant-woman-court-052333359.html).  By 3rd January she will in, effect , have served a custodial sentence of 37 days,  [RH She was … Continue reading

Posted in Anglophobia, Culture, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , ,,, , , | 23 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state

Emma West of New Addington, London has been arrested and placed in “protective custody” following the publication on YouTube of  a two minute 25 second  recording labelled by the YouTube poster as “Racist British Woman on the Tram goes CRAZY …Continue reading

LBC Nigel Farage versus Nick Clegg EU debate 26 3 2014

Chaired by Nick Ferrari

(The full debate can be viewed here http://www.lbc.co.uk/watch-lbc-leaders-debate-live—26th-march-87667)

Robert Henderson

Farage walked the debate with a YouGov poll of 1003 people giving this result:

57% Farage

36% Clegg

7% undecided

Even that figure probably understates the size of the victory because YouGov weighted the data to in practice favour Clegg by assuming UKIP supporters would be disproportionately likely to watch or listen to the debate:

1,003 completed this survey between 8.00 and 8.10. We weighted the raw data to (a) the voting intentions in our latest regular daily poll for the Sun (Lab 37%, Con 35%. UKIP 11%, Lib Dem 9%) and (b) to our most recent data on whether the UK should remain in the European Union.

An alternative approach would have been NOT to have corrected the political skew among our original 3,000 sample. The argument for doing this is that any assessment of audience reaction should take the audience as it is – in this case, accepting that UKIP supporters were much more likely to watch or listen to the debate than supporters of other parties. Had we done this, I estimate that the verdict of the audience would have been Farage 65%, Clegg 28%. Those who prefer to cite this figure, rather than to adjust for the UKIP-rich nature of the audience, are of course free to do so. ( http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/03/27/farage-wins-debate-clegg/)

It was also telling that many of those who were not UKIP supporters thought Farage had won, viz:

Not surprisingly, almost all UKIP supporters preferred Farage. But he was also considered the winner by: 

  • 69% of Conservative supporters
  • 42% of Labour supporters
  • 20% of Liberal Democrats
  • 30% of those who said before the debate they would vote to keep the UK in the EU  (Ibid)

 

It is rare in a two man debate on any subject for a win to be so crushing and that is doubly so when politicians with  such polarised views are put up for the judgement of the public.

Why was the result so emphatic? Well, negative messages are always a very  hard sell. Clegg’s   position was one of fear and mistrust of Britain and Farage’s one of confidence in his country.  Clegg was selling the message “Britain isn’t up to looking after itself”, Farage the message  “ Britain could and should be independent and sovereign”.    While Farage was saying things such as “Surely the benefit system is for the citizens of this country” , The Anglo-Saxon rule of law”  and “The best people to govern Britain are the British”, Clegg  was tedious ly  intoning  “We get more power rather than less by being part of an economic superpower “ and  talking about the ill effects of “pulling up the drawbridge “ to exclude immigrants. (Clegg spent a great deal of time worrying about  drawbridges being pulled up).

Farage also displayed much more energy in his delivery than Clegg,   who as ever sounded like a prefect ineptly playing the role of a weary adult before  a school debating society. He was  deeply irritating for that reason alone, but his whole persona seemed manufactured, from  the deeply wooden arm gestures he makes  to the studied use of questioners’ names.    Farage  was perhaps  too shouty at times and  weak in his responses to some important questions, such as failing to explain how UKIP’s claim that  75% of British laws are being made in Brussels was calculated. But he  had one massive advantage over Clegg: he was able to tell the truth all the time or at the least not tell deliberate lies.  Farage at least seemed like a real human being, with unmanufactured  body language,  and if he allowed his ill-temper to intrude, judged by  polls such as the YouGov one,  it must have seemed like justified irritation with the British political class as represented by Clegg  to the majority of those watching and listening.

Clegg’s wilful dishonesty is perhaps best exemplified when the subject of immigration from the EU came up. Clegg referred to a recent UKIP pamphlet which claimed that Farage had claimed that “29 million Romanians and Bulgarians” were coming to Britain. This was untrue said Clegg because “They’re aren’t even 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians in Romania and Bulgaria”.  Apart from  not being what UKIP had said  – the party had simply pointed out that 29 million would have the right to come to Britain –  as of 2012 Bulgaria had a population of 21.33 million and Bulgaria 7.305 million, 29 million bar a few hundred thousand.( https://www.google.co.uk/#q=population+of+roumania). Not that it would have mattered in they were a million or two short of 29 million. The point at issue was the existence of millions of people from countries with living standards a fraction of those in Britain who were now entitled to come here.

Unlike Clegg , even when he was making a bit of a mess of things Farage  attempted to answer questions directly even when they raised real difficulties for him.  For example,  a question from the audience raised the subject of  the trustworthiness of politicians and  cited the LibDems’  broken promise over tuition fees and Farage’s employment of his wife as a paid helper as examples of things which destroyed trust.  Clegg failed to explain why the Lib Dems had broken their promise and just waffled about the importance of  trust,  while Farage answered the question directly  by saying the responsibilities of leading the party meant that he  needed someone on tap at home to help him. He also denied that he had ever said publicly that he would not employ his wife.   On another occasion the subject of UKIP’s opposition to gay marriage came up and Farage again dealt with a  potentially very tricky question by simply saying that UKIP would review the situation if the threat of European judges imposing  gay marriage on religions was removed.

Farage was generally  very forthright  and nowhere was this shown to better effect than when he attacked the  EU’s interference in the Ukraine’s dispute with Russia.  This naturally caused  a tempest of  politically correct huffing and puffing after the debate and clearly appalled Clegg. Such forthrightness will  have appealed to most of the general public who are sick of politicians presenting weasel words to them.

Clegg  shamelessly trotted  out the tired old discredited Europhile mantras because any Europhile true believer really has nowhere else to go. These included

-          3 million  British jobs are at risk if Britain leaves the EU  (After Ferrari had intervened to say there are  questions marks over the research on which the claim was based,  Clegg tempered his bald statement by saying  it would not be three million but it might be  two million, one million, 500,000 and so on ).

-          Immigrants are a boon to Britain and pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits (Farage pointed out that Migration Watch recently demolished this argument http://www.migrationwatchuk.co.uk/press-release/380)

-          Britain needed to be in the EU to get the best trade deals (Farage pointed out the Iceland had recently negotiated a lucrative trade deal with China)

-          The European arrest warrant is allowing Britain to  extradite murderers, terrorists and paedophiles  (Farage pointed out that it was a grotesque breach in the protections for the individual provided by  British law )

-          One and a half million Britons live and work in other EU countries and if Britain does not have freedom of movement within the EU then those one and half million  Briton  will be put in jeopardy.  (Farage missed a trick here. Apart from the fact that forced expulsion of EU foreigners  from Britain or Britons from other EU countries is wildly improbable, he should have pointed out that the British  living in other EU countries are  likely to either be someone doing a skilled job or be retired with money, while the EU foreigner  in Britain is likely to be doing a low skilled or unskilled job. Hence, if it did come to a forced exchange of Britons abroad for EU foreigners in Britain,   Britain would be the material  gainers. )

The Lib Dem leader also had a new statistic to play with, namely, that only 7% of British laws come from Brussels (patently  absurd because the massive range of supranational competence the EU now has).  Clegg said the source was the Commons Library and did not qualify in any way his claim by, for example, by saying it was difficult to quantify and only a broad range could be offered.   The 7% turns out to be false.  This position is much more complicated. Here  is what the 2010 HoC research paper entitled How much legislation comes from  Europe says:

“EU regulations, unlike directives, are not usually transposed into legislation at national level, but rather into quasi-legislative measures, administrative rules, regulations or procedures etc which do not pass through a national parliamentary process. How, then, can one be worked out as a proportion of the other? The term ‘national obligation’ might be more appropriate, but is it possible to identify the sum of national obligations arising from EU laws? Increasing use of regulations, particularly Commission regulations, “decouples national transposition procedures” (Christensen), thereby increasing the unquantifiable element of EU activity. All measurements have their problems. To exclude EU regulations from the calculation is likely to be an under-estimation of the proportion of EU-based national laws, while to include all EU regulations in the calculation is probably an over-estimation. The answer in numerical terms lies somewhere in between the two approaches, and it is possible to justify any measure between 15% and 50% or thereabouts. Other EU ‘soft law’ measures under the Open Method of Coordination are difficult to quantify as they often take the form of objectives and common targets. Analyses rarely look into EU soft law, the role of EU standard setting or self-regulatory measures.”

And

“In the UK data suggest that from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and  14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU  obligations, although the degree of involvement varied from passing reference to explicit  implementation. Estimates of the proportion of national laws based on EU laws in other  EU Member States vary widely, ranging from around 6% to 84%. (file:///C:/Users/robnefrt/Downloads/RP10-62%20(2).pdf)

You can take your choice between Clegg shamelessly  lying or Clegg being stitched up by researchers who supplied him with false information.

In this context, it is very  important to understand what  Statutory  Instruments  (SIs) are. They provide the mechanism by which primary legislation is implemented. Frequently, SIs will expand the remit of primary legislation  beyond what is envisaged by those drafting the primary legislation and the politicians who vote for it. The “gold plating “ of EU directives is largely accomplished through SIs. Consequently, to concentrate on primary legislation stemming from Brussels is grossly misleading. The fact that SIs relating to EU derived primary legislation are not routinely   scrutinised by Parliament makes the opportunity for greatly expanding the powers of the primary legislation. It is worth describing  the Treaty obligations which place horrendous limitations on British sovereignty:

1 Types of EU legislative acts

There are three types of EU legislative acts. Under Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU):

A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form  and methods.

A decision shall be binding in its entirety. A decision which specifies those to whom it is addressed shall be binding only on them.

Opinions and Recommendations have no binding force.

EU Legislation  Standard  Note SN/IA/5419   http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05419.pdf

On the question of a referendum on the EU, Clegg squirmed as he tried to represent the LibDems as  having a consistent position from the time when he promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty  in 2008 until now.  There was an element of farce about the way the discussion began when Clegg answered  a question  (go into recording at 8 minutes 33 secs) from Ferrari about a Lib Dem poster  of 2008 which seemingly promised an unqualified  referendum by saying that people could not read the small print. Clegg actually meant that they literally could not read the small print of the poster Ferrari was holding up to the audience and cameras,  only the headline.  There was a ghastly serendipity about this,  because whatever Clegg meant  he then made very  clear there was indeed small print surrounding any LibDem promise of a referendum.  Clegg said  that in 2008 his position was exactly the same as it is now,  namely, a referendum should be held if there were substantial powers taken away by further treaties.

Farage picked Clegg up on this very strongly, pointing out that if only powers taken away by Treaty would trigger a referendum, this might well be a dead letter because  there was a strong possibility that new treaties would not be forthcoming  (this could well be the case because so much is decided by Qualified Majority Voting now) and that in any case there is a constant drip drip drip of new EU legislation which whittles away sovereignty, some of it substantial such the expansion of the EU’s foreign policy and the EU’s attempt to control the City of London. Clegg had no real answer to this.

Frarage should have asked Clegg to  explain why the British people could not be asked (in an IN/Out referendum) about all the powers which had been taken away without any referendum over the past forty years. Sadly the question went unasked.

It has to be admitted that Farage was weak in answering some  questions on statistical detail. The two worst instances were the proportion of British laws which originate from Brussels – when asked where the 75% UKIP figure came from Farage feebly said it was their own calculation with out explaining how they had reached it – and  on the cost of the EU to Britain and.  Ferrari asked Farage to justify the £55 million a day cost in a UKIP pamphlet.  Farage fumbled his reply by failing to make clear immediately that it was the gross amount  paid and taking too long to explain that even though it was the gross amount what money Britain received back had to be spent as the EU determined . However, I would doubt whether such statistical lacunae would register significantly with the general public, who will have largely switched of their minds when politicians start hurling stats at them.

After the debate the  politically correct media and politicians flapped around after the thumping poll win for  Farage claiming variously  the result was unimportant  (absurd), it was score draw, (http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/03/the-room-spun/) or that in reality Clegg had won (utterly fantastic).   This might have been expected from the likes of the Guardian and Mirror, but the supposedly Eurosceptic   Daily Telegraph also had a full hand of regular commentators – Mary Riddell,  Dan Hodges, Tim Stanley,  Toby Young – who all , with varying degrees of enthusiasm, stated that Clegg had come out ahead  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10725571/Verdict-who-won-in-the-Clegg-v-Farage-debate.html). The widespread  dismissal of  the YouGov poll by the mainstream media and politicians encapsulated the inherently anti-democratic mentality of those with power and influence in Britain.

The debate  was not deeply penetrating nor did it address all the important EU  issues adequately, for example,  the loss of democracy resulting from the UK’s EU membership  was barely touched upon.  Nor was it clear why the subject of gay marriage was raised within a debate on the EU unless it was simply to try to embarrass Farage and UKIP.  No matter. The value of the debate lay in giving the British public an opportunity to express their feelings through polls such as the YouGov one cited above  and  its naked demonstration, in the form of  Clegg,  of the chasm between the l public and the British elite.  Most of the British public display the natural human instinct of wanting their own national interests to be protected by their own people; the British elite wish to either submerge Britain into a united states of Europe or labour under the pathetic  delusion that the imperial tendencies of the  EU can be restrained from within.  Faced with a choice between Farage and Clegg it was no contest; they plumped for someone who shared their natural instincts.

 

 

 

What the British people want from their politicians… and what they get

Robert Henderson

What do our politicians think of the electorate: precious little. All the major mainstream parties either ignore or cynically  misrepresent  the issues  which are most important to the British – immigration, our relationship with the EU, the English democratic deficit,  foreign adventures , the suppression of free speech and the precarious state of the economy. . These issues are  not addressed honestly because they either clash with the prevailing internationalist agenda or because to address them honestly would mean admitting how much sovereignty had been given away to the EU and through other treaties.

This antidemocratic failure to engage in honest politics is an established trait. The wilful removal from mainstream politics of vitally important issues has been developing for more than half a century. The upshot is that the British want their politics to be about something which is not currently on offer from any party with a chance of forming a government. The British public broadly seek what these days counts as rightist action when it comes to matters such as preserving nationhood, immigration, race and political correctness, but traditional leftist policies on items such as social welfare, the NHS and the economy (has anyone ever met someone in favour of free markets and free trade who has actually lost his job because of them?).

The electorate’s difficulty is not simply their inability to find a single party to fulfil all or even most of their political desires. Even on a single issue basis, the electorate frequently cannot find a party offering what they want because all the mainstream parties now carol from the same internationalist, globalist, supranational, pro-EU, pc songsheet. The electorate finds they may have any economic programme provided it is laissez faire globalism, any relationship with the EU provided it is membership, any foreign policy provided it is internationalist and continuing public services only if they increasingly include private capital and provision. The only difference between the major parties is one of nuance.

Nowhere is this political uniformity seen more obviously than in the Labour and Tory approaches to immigration. Labour has adopted a literally mad policy of “no obvious limit to immigration”. The Tories claim to be “tough” on immigration, but then agree to accept as legal immigrants more than 100,000 incomers a year from outside the EU plus any number of migrants from within the EU (350 million have the right to settle here). There is a difference, but it is simply less or more of the same. Worse, in practice there would probably be no meaningful difference to the numbers coming whoever is in power. The truth is that while we remain part of the EU and tied by international treaties on asylum and human rights, nothing meaningful can be done for purely practical reasons. But even if something could be done, for which serious party could the person who wants no further mass immigration vote? None.

A manifesto to satisfy the public

All of this set me thinking: what manifesto would appeal to most electors? I suggest this political agenda for the What the People Want Party:

We promise:

1. To always put Britain’s interests first. This will entail the adoption of an unaggressive nationalist ethic in place of the currently dominant internationalist ideology.

2. The reinstatement of British sovereignty by withdrawal from the EU and the repudiation of all treaties which circumscribe the primacy of Parliament.

3. That future treaties will only come into force when voted for by a majority in both Houses of Parliament and   accepted in a referendum . Any  treaty should be subject to repudiation following  Parliament passing a motion that repudiation should take place and that motion being ratified by a referendum.  Treaties could also be repudiated by a citizen initiated referendum (see 29).

4. A reduction in the power of the government in general and the Prime Minister in particular and an increase in the power of Parliament. This will be achieved by abolishing the Royal Prerogative, outlawing the party whip and removing the vast powers of patronage available to a government.

5. That the country will only go to war on a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

6. An end to mass immigration by any means, including asylum, work permits and family reunion.

7. An end to all officially-sponsored political correctness.

8. The promotion of British history and culture in our schools and by all publicly-funded bodies.

9. The repeal of all laws which give by intent or practice a privileged position to any group which is less than the entire population of the country, for example the Race Relations Act..

10. The repeal of all laws which attempt to interfere with the personal life and responsibility of the individual. Citizens will not be instructed what to eat, how to exercise, not to smoke or drink or be banned from pursuits such as fox-hunting which harm no one else.

11. A formal recognition that a British citizen has rights and obligations not available to the foreigner, for example, the benefits of the welfare state will be made available only to born and bred Britons.

12. Policing which is directed towards three ends: maintaining order, catching criminals and providing support and aid to the public in moments of threat or distress. The police will leave their cars and helicopters and return to the beat and there will be an assumption that the interests and safety of the public come before the interests and safety of police officers.

13. A justice system which guards the interests of the accused by protecting essential rights of the defendant such as jury trial and the right to silence, whilst preventing cases collapsing through technical procedural errors.

14. Prison sentences that are served in full, that is,  the end of remission and other forms of early release. Misbehaviour in prison will be punished by extending the sentence.

15. An absolute right to self-defence when attacked. The public will be encouraged to defend themselves and their property.

16. A general economic policy which steers a middle way between protectionism and free trade, with protection given to vital and strategically important industries such as agriculture, energy, and steel and free trade only in those things which are not necessities.

17. A repudiation of further privatisation for its own sake and a commitment to the direct public provision of all essential services such as medical treatment. We recognise that the electorate overwhelmingly want the NHS, decent state pensions, good state funded education for their children and state intervention where necessary to ensure the necessities of life. This promise is made to both reassure the public of continued future provision and to ensure that the extent of any public spending is unambiguous, something which is not the case where indirect funding channels such as PFI are used.

18. The re-nationalisation of  the railways, the energy companies, the water companies and any  exercise  of the state’s authority such as privately run prisons which have been placed in  private hands.

19. An  education system which ensures that every child leaves school with at least a firm grasp of the three Rs and a school exam system which is based solely on a final exam. This will remove the opportunity to cheat by pupils and teachers. The standards of the exams will be based on those of the 1960s which is the last time British school exams were uncontaminated by continuous assessment, multiple choice questions and science exams included practicals as a matter of course. .

20. To restore credibility to our university system. The taxpayer will fund scholarships for 20 per cent of school-leavers. These will pay for all fees and provide a grant sufficient to live on during term time. Any one not in receipt of a scholarship will have to pay the full fees and support themselves or take a degree in their spare time. The scholarships will be concentrated on the best universities. The other universities will be closed. This will ensure that the cost is no more than the current funding and the remaining universities can be adequately funded.

21. A clear distinction in our policies between the functions of the state and the functions of private business, charities and other non-governmental bodies. The state will provide necessary public services, business will be allowed to concentrate on their trade and not be asked to be an arm of government and charities will be entirely independent bodies which will no longer receive public money.

22. A commitment to putting the family first. This will include policies which recognise that the best childcare is that given by the parents and that parents must be allowed to exercise discipline over their children. These will be given force by a law making clear that parents have an absolute right to the custody of and authority over their children, unless the parents can be shown to be engaging in serious criminal acts against their children.

23. Marriage to be encouraged by generous tax breaks and enhanced  child allowances for children born in wedlock.

24. Defence forces designed solely to defend Britain and not the New World Order.

25. A Parliament for England to square the Devolution circle. The English comprise around 80 per cent of the population of the UK, yet they alone of all the historic peoples are Britain are denied the right to govern themselves. This is both unreasonable and politically unsustainable in the long-run.

26. A reduction to the English level of Treasury funding to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will save approximately £17 billion pa because the Celts receive overall approximately £1,600 per head per annum more than the English.

27. An end to Foreign Aid. This will save approximately £11  billion.

28. A written constitution to ensure that future governments cannot abuse their power. This will be predicated on (1) the fact that we are a free people, (2) the belief that in a free and democratic society the individual can be trusted to take responsibility for his or her actions and to behave responsibly and (3) that politicians are the servants not the masters of those who elect them. It will guarantee those things necessary to a free society, including an absolute right to free expression, jury trial for any offence carrying a sentence of more than one year, place citizens in a privileged position over foreigners and set the interests and safety of the country and its citizens above the interests and safety of any other country or people.

29. Citizen initiated referenda shall be held when ten per cent of the population have signed a petition asking for a referendum.

Those are the things which I think most of the electorate could embrace, at least in large part. There are also other issues which the public might well be brought to  support if there was proper public debate and a serious political party supporting them such as the ownership and bearing of weapons and the legalisation of drugs.

The positive thing about such an agenda is that either Labour or the Tories could comfortably support it within the context of their history.

Until Blair perverted its purpose, the Labour Party had been in practice (and often in theory – think Ernie Bevin), staunchly nationalist, not least because the unions were staunchly protective of their members’ interests and resistant to both mass immigration (because it reduced wages) and free trade (because it exported jobs and reduced wages).

For the Tories, the Thatcherite philosophy is as much an aberration as the Blairite de-socialisation of Labour. The true Tory creed in a representative democracy is that of the one nation nationalist. It cannot be repeated too often that the free market internationalist creed is the antithesis of conservatism.

The manifesto described above would not appeal in every respect to ever member of the “disenfranchised majority”. But its general political slant would be palatable to that majority and there would be sufficient within the detail to allow any individual who is currently disenchanted with politics to feel that there were a decent number of important policies for which he or she could happily vote. That is the best any voter can expect in a representative democracy. People could again believe that voting might actually change things.

Cleansing the (Parliamentary) Augean stables

Robert Henderson

The seemingly  never-ending saga of British politicians behaving immorally (and sometimes criminally) in their financial dealings whilst serving in the Commons or Lords  has taken a new turn with Tory MP Patrick Mercer’s resignation after being exposed by a joint sting by the BBC and the Daily Telegraph ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10092607/Exposed-deal-that-sank-cash-for-questions-MP-Mercer.html).

Mercer  believed he was being signed up by lobbyists to promote the interests of Fiji with a view to getting that country  readmitted  to the Commonwealth from which it had been suspended after  several military coups dismantled any pretence at democracy and the military (staffed by native Fijians) had acted against the Indian minority population of Fiji.

The agreement between Mercer and the bogus lobbyists included payments to Mercer (he received two payments of £2,000 which he did not enter on the Register of Members’ interests),  Mercer creating an All Party Parliament Group (APPG) for Fiji , Mercer arranging for a Commons pass for the lobbyists and Mercer making embarrassing remarks about how easy it would be  to recruit  members because many would see it as a chance to get a free trip to Fiji.  Mercer certainly had no difficulty  in recruiting both MPs and members of the Lords to the APPG, recruiting amongst others the all-purpose Labour MP Keith Vaz and the Labour peer Lord Mackenzie, a retired senior policeman, who works for a company Awards Intelligence which  claims to be able to “help dynamic organisations and individuals to find, enter and win business awards and personal honours such as an OBE, MBE, knighthood or apply to the House of Lords” (http://www.awardsintelligence.co.uk/about-ai.asp).  You couldn’t make it up.

MacKenzie , his fellow Labour peer Lord Cunningham (Jack Cunningham  of Blair’s Cabinet)  and the  Ulster Unionist Lord Laird have all been caught on video by one of the BBC, Daily Telegraph or Sunday Times journalist seemingly offering influence for money – Cunningham asked  of  £144,000 a year ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334558/Lord-Laird-resigns-whip-Labour-peers-suspended-claims-broke-parliamentary-rules.html).  Mercer has resigned the Tory whip and will not stand at the next election. However, that means he will draw £130,000 plus expenses from the taxpayer.  Mackenzie and  Cunningham have been suspended by Labour  while Laird has resigned his party’s whip.  All three can still sit in the Lords and draw their £300 a day tax free expenses allowance.  It is conceivable that Mercer and the three peers could face criminal investigations but none has begun.

No surprise

None of this shameful behaviour should come as a surprise. In 2010 David Cameron said lobbying would be the next  scandal to hit Parliament. Moreover, the behaviour of many MPs and peers over their expenses had already primed the public to distrust the honesty of modern British politicians.  The question now is what can be done to mend matters?  I suggest this:

1. A ban on any form of material inducement to  an MP, whether r direct or indirect, during or after they have been active in politics.  This would end what  amounts to legalised bribery, namely, the granting of sinecures on company boards or other corporate bodies or the employment of MPs as consultants  as a reward for illicit favours done for the corporation involved whilst in political office, whether that be as a back or front bencher.

2. All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs ) can be set up by any MP able to get 19 members to sign up. They  often provide cover for what are really jollies at a third party’s expense, especially the ones which offer overseas trips.  The groups  fall into two categories : those dealing with a country (hence the many trips abroad) and those dealing with specific subjects – examples are Beer, Pub and Philately ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/register.pdf). They have no official standing.

The supposedly “fact-finding”  trips take MPs  away from their parliamentary and/or  constituency  duties, In addition,  they must create a feeling of obligation in  MPs to show they have done something useful on a trip by producing suggestions based on what is done in another society, suggestions which are often wholly inappropriate for Britain or address a problem which does not exist.  MPs should have a holiday allowance of, say eight weeks,  and  any “fact finding trips”  should be undertaken during those eight weeks at the MP’s expense.  The government could continue to send  MPs or peers  on official overseas visits at the taxpayers’ expense.

3.  The granting of passes to Parliament for anyone other than those employed directly by an MP or peer should be forbidden.  Apart from the question of corruption, it renders absurd the security arrangements of Parliament.

4. There should be a bar on MPs  having second jobs even if they are being employed  in work such practising at the Bar or as a GP which does not obviously require them to promote the paymaster/employer’s interest  . There are two reasons for this: (1) the practice  inevitably leads to situations where MPs are compromised because of the competing  demands of their party policy, their own self-interest  or the wishes of an employer/paymaster  and (2) it reduces the amount of time and effort MPs can put into their Parliamentary and constituency work.

The argument that the jobs MPs take keep them in touch with the real world is a nonsense because most are  drawn from a very small range of work such as the law or take jobs as non-executive directors or consultants. The idea that this qualifies them to bring the  everyday experience of the ordinary citizen to their political work or provides a wide range of practical experience and expertise  is risible.   In any case the restriction on who could stand detailed above would ensure that everyone elected would have a decent experience of the world of normal work.

Breaches of these rules  should be made crimes carrying automatic prison sentences  for MPs, peers or any third party offering them material inducements. .

A change in mentality

Most fundamentally, there needs to be a sea-change in how would-be politicians view politics.  At present  an MPs can behave as that dreadful toady of aristocrats Edmund Burke advised MPs  to behave in the 18th century in a speech to the elector of Bristol (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch13s7.html).  For Burke  an  MP was not bound by what his constituents thought but owed them “his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience” something which  he told the electors of Bristol “ he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

That self-serving view gives carte blanche to an MP to more or less behave as he chooses provided he does not commit a criminal act. It is profoundly undemocratic and was doubtless designed by Burke to curry favour with the rich and powerful.

Political office  should not be seen as a career choice, something which it has become  for far too many politicians, but a public service.  To this end no one should be allowed to stand for the House of Commons before the age of thirty-five and only then if the individual concerned has worked for at least ten years in a job absolutely unconnected to politics. This would remove from the Commons MPs who have gone straight from university to work for a political party and who arrive in the Commons with no experience of the real world of work.

Should be paid more?  It is essential that people do not view life as an MP as a means to enrich themselves or otherwise that will be all too often be the primary purpose driving MPs. The current pay of a backbench MP is £66,000. They also get generous pensions and  subsidised bars and restaurants plus various expenses which even if they are not meant to it is possible to make a fair profit on  even under the new expenses regime. That should be a sufficient reward with  the UK full time average wage being s less than £30,000. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority produced its first report on MPs pay and expenses in January 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/MPSISPA) and serious consideration is being given to ideas such as making MPs pay a multiple of the average UK wage. I would favour such an approach because it provide a direct link between wages and  the performance of MPs as a collective body  and automatically change as the average wage changed.

Legal obligations on MPs to do the work  for which they are paid are sorely needed. Parliament only sits for around half the year (House of Commons 129 days in 2012 http://tinyurl.com/HoCDayssat2012 ) and many MPs arrive late on Monday and leave early on Friday.   There is no legal obligation on MPs to attend the Commons or attend to duties in their constituencies and an MP who treats the position cynically can draw their pay whilst doing absolutely nothing until they either strand down or are defeated at the ballot box.  There  needs to be a formal  job description for MPs  detailing what work they are required to do in their constituencies and Parliament and a  means to take disciplinary action if the job remains inadequately done, for example, giving electors in a constituency the right to recall an MP.

More generally, there is a Code of Conduct  which if it was enforced would end most of the abuses. Here  is the most relevant part of it:

 III.  Duties of Members

4.  By virtue of the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance taken by all Members when they are elected to the House, Members have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her heirs and successors, according to law.

5.  Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.

6.  Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.

7.  Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.

IV.  General Principles of Conduct

8.  In carrying out their parliamentary and public duties, Members will be expected to observe the following general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in its First Report as applying to holders of public office.[1] These principles will be taken into account when considering the investigation and determination of any allegations of breaches of the rules of conduct in Part V of the Code.

“Selflessness

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.”

V.  Rules of Conduct

9.  Members are expected to observe the following rules and associated Resolutions of the House.

10.  Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.

11.  No Member shall act as a paid advocate in any proceeding of the House.[2]

12.  The acceptance by a Member of a bribe to influence his or her conduct as a Member, including any fee, compensation or reward in connection with the promotion of, or opposition to, any Bill, Motion, or other matter submitted, or intended to be submitted to the House, or to any Committee of the House, is contrary to the law of Parliament.[3]

13.  Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with Ministers, Members, public officials or public office holders.[4]

14.  Information which Members receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties should be used only in connection with those duties. Such information must never be used for the purpose of financial gain.

15.  Members are personally responsible and accountable for ensuring that their use of any expenses, allowances, facilities and services provided from the public purse is in accordance with the rules laid down on these matters. Members shall ensure that their use of public resources is always in support of their parliamentary duties. It should not confer any undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone else, or confer undue advantage on a political organisation.

16.  Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.

17.  The Commissioner may not investigate a specific matter under paragraph 16 which relates only to the conduct of a Member in their private and personal lives. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmcode/1885/188501.htm

Although complaints are investigated by a non-politician,  the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the Code is rarely enforced with any severity by either the  Committee on Standards and Privileges or the House itself and even where it is enforced severely there are no criminal penalties.  It is all too incestuous. Where appropriate, for example where members or peers have  received money or other material considerations from a third party,  criminal penalties should be attached to the Code and those cases  should be investigated by the police not politicians.  The power of recall by electors could also come into play. It is also  worth noting that the Commons  can expel its own members and the Lords suspend theirs  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10098194/How-Parliament-can-kick-out-crooked-MPs-and-peers-whenever-it-likes.html )

The balance of power in the Commons

The lack of opportunity to line their pockets should  attract a less self-serving kind of MP,  but there also needs to be a carrot as well as a stick. The carrot  should be a shift in the balance of  power between Parliament of the government. If backbenchers had far more chance to influence matters by introducing legislation and voting as their conscience dictates, there would be  more chance of people who were interested in implementing policy rather than getting rich or simply exercising their egos.

The government payroll vote begs to  be greatly  reduced. At present around 150 MPs on the government side are deemed to be part of the government. Even a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) counts as part of the payroll vote. This greatly undermines the importance and influence of backbenchers especially where a government has a large majority. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/10/creeping-patronage-house-commons-mps-whips).  A Cabinet of 20 with 20 junior ministers is probably sufficient.

Two other things to strengthen Parliament are required. First, party whipping should be stopped. This would not mean governments losing control because most of the time backbenchers will naturally vote the party line.    Second, Parliamentary time should  be substantially  increased by having Parliament sitting for, say, nine months of the year rather than the present six months.  Apart from allowing much more time to scrutinise government legislation, this would allow time for backbenchers to place statutes on the books through their own efforts.

What will change?

David Cameron has promised a register of lobbyists and Nick Clegg has been huffing and puffing about  throwing crooks out of the Lords, but unless the matter is taken out of the hands of politicians by making the more offences breaches of the Code of  Conduct criminal offences dealt with by the police, it is unlikely that anything radical will happen.  That is the tragedy of modern British politics: self-serving not public service  has become the order of the day.

The EU: Making the going good for getting Out

ROBERT HENDERSON  suggests some ways in which the No side can maximize its chances of winning the referendum on EU membership

Amidst all the confusion and excitement of bringing about a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, it is easy to forget that there are considerable risks associated with the vote. The government will almost certainly campaign to stay in, as will the Labour Party, and many institutions, lobby groups, media groups, foreign governments, and influential individuals. Public opinion, although hardening towards leaving, is fickle and cannot be relied upon. A decision to stay in would probably destroy the UKIP, and would also seriously undermine Conservative Eurosceptics. It is therefore essential that we should think about the likely shape of the campaign, and how we who believe in leaving can improve the odds.

The general strategy

A) How to leave

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html).

It is strongly implied in in  para 3 of  the Article that unilateral withdrawal is possible :

“ The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2”.

However, the clause does not explicitly  give the right of unilateral secession and could be interpreted as merely referring to how any agreement might be scheduled to take effect. The other EU members could adopt this interpretation to thwart the UK leaving without declaring UDI.

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties cites two legitimate  instances where a party wants to withdraw unilaterally from a treaty which does not make any provision for withdrawal : (1) where all parties recognise an informal right to do so or  (2) the situation has changed so substantially  that the obligations of a signatory are radically different from that which was originally agreed to.   The informal right patently does not apply in the case of the EU. As for radical changes to the obligations of a signatory, that would be difficult to sustain. It is true that the organisation (the EU) the UK belongs to now is radically different from that which they originally joined in 1973 (the EEC), but the  UK has signed  new treaties to agree to the new circumstances as they have arisen.  Hence, there would be no radically changed obligations which had not been taken on formally by the UK.

The only precedent  of any sort for withdrawal is Greenland’s  secession  in 1985 from the European Economic Community (EEC).  The was facilitated by the Greenland Treaty. However, it is not  an obviously relevant precedent because Greenlanders retain Danish citizenship for  Greenland has home rule not full independence from Denmark. They are consequently full  EU citizens.  Because Greenland is also one of the  Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU it  is also subject to some EU law and regulations, mainly those relating to the Single Market. .

Even if it is accepted by the other EU members  that there is a unilateral right of secession,  the fact that it  could only  take place legally after two years would give the remainder  of the EU the opportunity to run the UK ragged before the UK left.

As for getting an agreement which would allow the UK to generally re-establish its sovereignty, especially over the control of its borders, this is most improbable.  A  Qualified Majority in the European Council  is required  and even if such a majority is obtained the European Parliament can block the secession. The potential for delay and blackmail by the EU of the UK is considerable.

In any event it is likely is that the EU would  drive a bargain which is greatly to  the UK’s disadvantage because the  Eurofederalists would be terrified of creating a precedent for any other EU member which might wish to radically change their relationship with the EU.  That would make them demand conditions of the UK which were so unappealing it would deter other member states from following suit. There is also  the danger that  the Europhile UK political elite  would take the opportunity to agree to disadvantageous terms for the UK simply to keep the UK attached to the EU in the manner that Norway and Switzerland are attached. The treaty arrangements of  Norway and Switzerland  are routinely portrayed  by supposed  Eurosceptics  as purely trade relationships. They are not. Both countries are firmly within the EU straitjacket. Indeed, the Europhile BBC  ran a story in 2012 entitled Non-EU Norway ‘almost as integrated in union as UK ‘ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16594370). As for Switzerland, a glance at their treaty arrangements will show their close EU embrace http://www.europa.admin.ch/themen/00500/index.html?lang=en.  Most importantly they have no control of immigration from the EU . If the UK signed up to the Single Market after formally leaving the EU  we should be in the same boat.

The OUT camp must make it clear that  it would be both damaging and unnecessary for the UK to abide treaty requirement. Even if the UK did not try to sign up to  the Single Market, it would allow the EU to inflict considerable damage on the UK both during the period prior to formally  leaving and afterwards if  the price of leaving with the EU’s agreement was  for  UK to sign up to various obligations – for example, to continue paying a large annual sum to the EU for ten years.

There is also the danger that the stay-in camp could use Article 50 to argue that whether the British people want to be in or out, the cost of leaving would be too heavy because of this treaty requirement.

The Gordian knot of Article 50 can be cut simply by passing an Act of Parliament repealing all the treaties that refer to the EU from the Treaty of Rome onwards. No major UK party could  object to this because all three have, at one time or another,  declared that Parliament remains supreme and can repudiate anything the EU does if it so chooses.

If the stay-in camp argue that would be illegal because of the treaty obligation, the OUT camp should simply emphasise (1) that international law is no law because there is no means of enforcing it within its jurisdiction if a state rejects it and (2) that treaties which do not allow for contracting parties to simply withdraw are profoundly undemocratic because they bind future governments.

The OUT camp should press the major political parties to commit themselves to ignoring Article 50. If a party refuses that can be used against them because it will make them look suspicious.

Before the vote

B) The parties’ plans of action if there is a vote to leave

It is important that all the parties likely to have seats in the Commons after the next election are publicly and relentlessly pressed to give at least a broad outline of what action they would adopt in the event of a vote to leave. Left with a free hand there is a serious danger that whatever British  government is  in charge after a vote to leave would attempt to bind the UK back into the EU by stealth by signing the UK up to agreements such as those the EU has with Norway and Switzerland which mean that they have to (1) pay a fee to the EU annually, (2) adopt the social legislation which comes from the EU and (3) most importantly agree to the four “freedoms” of the EU – the free movement of goods, services, capital and  labour throughout not merely the EU but the wider European Economic Area (EEA).

It is probable that the Westminster parties will all resist this, but that would present them with two problems. First, a refusal to do so would make them seem untrustworthy; second, if one party laid out their position but the others did not, that would potentially give the party which did say what it would do a considerable advantage over the others which did not. If no party puts its plans before the public before the referendum, there should be demands  from those who want the UK to leave the EU that  any new treaties with the EU must be put to a referendum and, if they are rejected, the UK will simply trade with the EU under the WTO rules.

C) Repudiate re-negotiation before the referendum

Supporting the negotiation of a new relationship between the UK and the EU before a referendum is mistaken, because it would seem to many to be giving tacit approval for renegotiation and legitimize the possibility of the UK remaining within the EU. It is also rash, because  the likelihood  of the EU giving nothing is very small. Indeed, they might well give something substantial, because the UK leaving the EU would be a very great blow to the organisation. The UK is the country with the second largest population within the EU with, depending on how it is measured, the second or third largest  economy and the country which pays the second largest contribution to the EU budget. For the EU to lose the UK would not only be a blow in itself, it would also create a very strong precedent for every other EU state, especially the largest ones. If  the UK left and prospered, the temptation would be for other EU states to leave.

If the EU offered  a big carrot such as the abolition of benefits  for migrants to the UK  from the rest of the EU until they had lived in Britain for ten years, that could  seriously  undermine the resolve of those wanting the UK to leave the EU because it would dovetail with British fears of mass immigration from the EU and the mainstream media representation of the immigration  problem as being essentially a welfare problem. The Europhiles would then be able to represent the immigration threat as no longer a threat as they bleated their  mantra “the only immigrants will be those who are working and paying their taxes”.  That would be difficult for any mainstream British politician or party to counter because they have all be peddling the line of welcoming “hard working immigrants” for years.

But even if negotiation produced nothing of substance, as happened with Harold Wilson’s “renegotiation” of 1975, it would be a mistake to imagine that it would not influence the referendum result. The electorate is divided between the resolute come outs, the resolute stay-ins and the wavering middle. A claim by the stay-in campaigners that something had been conceded by the EU, however  insignificant, would provide the waverers with an excuse to vote to stay in because they could convince themselves they were voting for change. If the EU were to offer nothing, waverers might see this as evidence that the EU was too powerful to oppose.

Those who want the UK to leave should unambiguously put the case for no renegotiation. Dismiss anything Cameron (or any other PM) brings back from the EU by way of altered terms as being irrelevant because the EU has a long record of agreeing things with  the UK and then finding ways of sabotaging what was agreed. In addition, a future British government may agree to alter any terms offered at the time of the referendum. The classic example of this changing of agreed terms happening in the past is Tony Blair’s giving up of a substantial amount of the Thatcher rebate in return for a promised reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a promise which was never met. That episode produced my all-time favourite amongst Blair’s penchant for lying. Two days before he went to the EU meeting at which he  gave away a substantial part of the rebate he declared during Prime Minister’s Questions that the rebate was “non-negotiable – period”.

It is difficult to envisage any British prime minister not trying to  negotiate with the EU before a referendum, but it might just  happen if whoever is in power when the referendum is announced were to be told privately by the  major EU players that nothing will be given and the prime minister of the day concludes it would be best to pretend that a decision had been made not to negotiate rather than risk the humiliation of getting nothing, perhaps not even a pretence of negotiation before nothing is given. Why would the EU do this? They might calculate that it would be a gamble worth taking to send a British PM away with nothing, whilst hoping the referendum vote would be to stay in because then the power of the UK to resist further integration would be shot.

If the EU offers nothing, the OUT camp should welcome the fact and stress to the public that if the referendum is to stay in,  the EU could force any federalist measure through because not only would any British government be much weakened in its opposition to more federalism, the UK political class as a whole would more than willing to go along with it because of their ideological commitment to the EU.

D) After the vote

Ideally the government which deals with the EU after a vote to leave will have committed themselves to a plan of action before the referendum vote.  However, as described above, it is quite possible that this will not happen because  the UK’s overwhelmingly Europhile political class will try to re-entangle the UK with the EU. To prevent them doing so there should be a concerted campaign after the vote to ensure that the British public understands what is being done on their behalf with a demand for a further referendum to agree any new treaty.

The terms of the debate

It is essential that the Europhiles are not allowed to make the debate revolve around economics. If they do it will effectively stifle meaningful debate. As anyone who has ever tried to present economic ideas to an audience of the general public will know it is a soul-destroying experience. Take the question of how much of UK trade is with the EU. The debate will begin with the stay-in camp saying something like 45% of UK trade is with the EU. Those wanting to leave the EU will respond by saying it is probably less than 40% because of the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect. They will then be forced to explain what the Rotterdam/Amsterdam effect is. That is the point where the general public’s concentration is lost and the debate ends up proving nothing to most of the audience.

But although nothing is proved to the general audience by detailed economic argument, the audience will remember  certain phrases which have considerable  traction. In amongst the serious debating on the issue of trade there will be phrases such as three million jobs in Britain rely on the EU and dire threats about how the EU will simply not buy British goods and services any more. This is nonsense, but fear is not rational, and many of those who vote will enter the voting chamber with fear of losing their jobs  in their heads regardless of what the OUT camp says if the debate is predominantly about economics. Shift the debate away from economics and the fear-inducing phrases will be heard less often.

National sovereignty

How should those wanting to leave the EU shift the focus of debate? They should put the matter which is really at the core of the UK’s  relationship with the EU  – national sovereignty – at the front of the  OUT camp’s referendum campaign. Campaign under a slogan such as Are we to be masters in our own house?

Making national sovereignty the primary campaigning issue has the great advantage of  it being something that anyone can understand because it is both a simple concept and speaks directly to the natural tribal instincts of  human beings.   Being a simple concept readily  and naturally understood,   it is a far more potent debating tool than arguments attempting to refute the economic  arguments  beloved of the stay-in camp.  The fact that the natural tribal instincts have been suppressed for so long in the UK will increase its potency because most people will feel a sense of release when it begins to be catered for in public debate.

The appeal to national sovereignty has a further advantage. Those who support the EU are unused to debating on that ground. That is because uncritical support for the EU has long been the position of both the British mainstream political class as a class and of the mass media. That has meant that the contrary voice – that which wishes Britain to be independent – has been largely unheard in public debate for thirty years or more. Where it has been heard, the response of the pro-EU majority has not been rational argument but abuse, ranging from patronising dismissal of a wish for sovereignty as an outmoded nationalism to accusations that national sovereignty amounts to xenophobia or even racism. These tactics – of excluding those who want to leave the EU from public debate and abuse substituted for argument – will no longer be available to the  pro EU lobby.

Immigration

The most threatening and energising subject relating to the EU for the general public is immigration. The public are right to identify this as the most important aspect of our membership of the EU because immigration touches every important part of British life: jobs, housing, education, welfare, healthcare, transport, free expression  and crime besides radically changing the nature of parts of  the UK which now have large populations of immigrants and their descendants.

The public rhetoric of mainstream politicians and the media is changing fast as they begin to realise both what an electoral liability a de facto open door immigration policy is, as the effects of mass immigration become ever more glaring. The argument is shifting from the economic to the cultural.  For example, here is the Daily Telegraph in a leader of 25 March:

“The fact is that, for many in Britain (especially those outside the middle classes), it is not just a matter of jobs being taken or public services being stretched, but of changes in the very character of communities. Those changes may not necessarily be for the worse: as the Prime Minister says, Britain’s culture has long been enriched by the contributions of new arrivals. But as long as ministers treat immigration as a matter of profit and loss, rather than the cause of often wrenching social change, they will never be able fully to address the grievances it causes.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9952717/Immigration-and-the-limits-of-the-possible.html)

This new frankness in public debate means that the OUT camp can use the immigration argument freely, provided they keep the language within the confines of formal politeness. The subject will naturally dovetail with the emphasis on national sovereignty because the most important aspect of sovereignty is the ability to control the borders of the territory of a state.  Judged by their increasing willingness to talk publicly about immigration, it is probable that the mainstream UK parties will be content to go along with  ever more frank discussion about immigration.

The economic argument must be kept simple

It will not be possible to avoid  economic arguments entirely. The OUT camp should concentrate on repeating these two facts:

The disadvantageous balance of payments deficit the UK has with the EU

The amount the UK pays to the EU

Those are the most solid economic figures relating to the EU. There is some fuzziness around the edges of the balance of payments deficit because of the question of where all the imports end up (whether in the EU or outside the EU through re-exporting), while the amount the EU receives is solid but it has to be broken down into the money which returns to the UK and the amount retained by Brussels. Nonetheless these are the most certain  figures and the least susceptible to obfuscation by the stay-in side.

The best way of presenting the money paid to the EU is simply to say that outside the EU we can decide how all of it is spent in this country and to illustrate what the money saved by not paying it to the EU would pay for.

It will also be necessary to address the question of protectionist measures the EU might take against the UK if the  vote was to leave. It is improbable that the EU would place heavy protectionist barriers on UK exports because:

1. The massive balance of payment deficit between the UK and the rest of the EU, which is massively in the EU’s favour.

2.  Although the rest of the EU dwarfs the UK economy, much UK trade with the EU is heavily concentrated in certain regions of the EU. The effect of protectionist barriers would  bear very heavily on these places.

3. There are strategically and economically important joint projects of which the UK is a major part, like Airbus and the Joint-Strike Fighter.

4. The Republic of Ireland would be a massive bargaining chip for  the UK to play. If the UK left and the EU rump attempted to impose sanctions against Britain this would cripple the RoI because so much of their trade is with the UK. The EU would be forced to subsidise the RoI massively if protectionist barriers against the UK were imposed. The EU could not exempt the RoI from the sanctions because that would leave the EU open to British exports being funnelled through the Republic.

5. The EU would be bound by the World Trade Organisation’s restrictions on protectionist measures.

The economic issues which are not worth pursuing in detail are those relating to how much the EU costs Britain in terms of EU-inspired legislation. It may well be that these load billions a year of extra costs  onto the UK  but they are not certain or easily evaluated costs, not least because we cannot in the nature of things know what burdens an independent UK would impose off its own bat.

Getting into detailed discussions about such things will simply play into the hands of  the stay-in camp because it will eat up the time and space available to those promoting the OUT cause.

Other issues

Apart from the economic questions, the stay-in camp will use these reasons for staying in:

That the EU has prevented war in Western Europe since 1945. This can be simply refuted by pointing out that the EU was not formed until  twelve years after WW2; that until 1973 the EU consisted of only six countries, three of them small,  and  of only nine countries until the 1980s. Consequently it would be reasonable to look for other reasons for  the lack of war. The two causes of the peace in Western Europe have been the NATO alliance and the invention of nuclear weapons which make the price of war extraordinarily high.

That nation states such as the UK are too small to carry any real diplomatic weight in modern world. That begs the question of whether it is an advantageous thing to carry such weight – it can get a country into disastrous foreign entanglements such as Iraq and Afghanistan – but even assuming it is advantageous, many much smaller countries than the UK survive very nicely, making their own bilateral agreements with other states large and small. It is also worth remembering that the UK has such levers as a permanent seat on the UN Security  Council (which allows the UK to veto any proposed move by the UN) and considerable influence in institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

ROBERT HENDERSON is a London-based freelance writer

 

Originally published in the Quarterly Review

Published in http://www.quarterly-review.org/?p=1737

The EU IN/OUT referendum: strategy and tactics for those who want to leave the EU

Robert Henderson

The general strategy

A) How to leave

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html).

The OUT camp must make it clear that  it would be both damaging and unnecessary for the UK to abide by this Treaty requirement. It  would allow the EU to inflict considerable damage on the UK both during the period prior to formally  leaving and afterwards if  the price of leaving with the EU’s agreement was  for  UK to sign up to various obligations, for example, to continue paying a large annual sum to the EU for ten years . It would also give  the Europhile UK political elite  ample opportunity to keep the UK attached to the EU in the manner that Norway and Switzerland are attached. More of them later.

There is also the danger that the stay-in camp could use Article 50 to argue that whether the British people want to be in or out, the cost of leaving would be too heavy because of this treaty requirement.

The Gordian knot of Article 50 can be cut  simply by passing an Act of Parliament repealing all the treaties that refer to the EU from the Treaty of Rome onwards. No major UK party could  object to this because all three have, at one time or another,  declared that Parliament remains supreme and can repudiate anything the EU does if it so chooses.

If the stay-in camp argue that would be illegal because of the  treaty obligation, the OUT camp should simply emphasise  (1) that international law is no law because there is never any means of enforcing it within its jurisdiction is a state rejects it and (2) that treaties which do not allow for contracting parties to simply withdraw are profoundly undemocratic because they bind future governments.

The OUT camp should press the major political parties to commit themselves to ignoring Article 50. If a party refuses that can be used against them because it will make them look suspicious. Before the vote

B) The parties’ plans of action if there is a vote to leave

It is important that all the parties likely to have seats in the Commons after the next election are publicly and relentlessly pressed to give at least a broad outline of what action they would adopt in the event of a vote to leave.  Left with a free hand there is a serious danger that whatever British  government is  in charge after a vote to leave would attempt to bind the UK back into the EU by stealth by signing the UK up to agreements such as those the EU has with Norway and Switzerland which mean that they have to (1) pay a fee to the EU annually, (2) adopt the social legislation which comes from the EU and (3) most importantly agree to the four “freedoms” of the EU – the free movement of goods, services, capital and  labour throughout not merely the EU  but the wider European Economic Area (EEA).

It is probable that the Westminster parties will all resist this, but that would present them with two problems. First, a refusal to do so would make them seem untrustworthy; second, if one party laid out their position but the others did not, that would potentially give the party which did say what it would do a considerable advantage over the others which did not.  If no party puts its plans before the public before the referendum, there should be demands  from those who want the UK to leave the EU that  any new treaties with the EU must be put to a referendum and, if they are rejected, the UK will simply trade with the EU under the WTO rules.

C) Repudiate re-negotiation before the referendum

Supporting the negotiation of a new relationship between the UK and the EU before a referendum is mistaken because it would seem to many to be giving tacit approval for renegotiation and legitimise the possibility of the UK remaining within the EU.  It is also rash  because  the likelihood  of the EU giving nothing is probably very small.  Indeed, they might well  give something which is substantial,  because the UK leaving the EU would be a very great blow to the organisation. The UK is the country with the second largest population within the EU with , depending on how it is measured,  the second or third largest   economy  and the country which pays the second largest contribution to the EU budget.   For the EU to lose the UK would not only be a blow in itself, it would also create a very strong precedent for every other EU state, especially the largest ones.  If  the UK left and prospered the temptation would be for other EU states to leave.

But even if negotiation  produced  nothing of substance as Harold Wilson’s “renegotiation” did in 1975, it would be a mistake to imagine that it would not influence the referendum result. The electorate is divided between the resolute come outs, the resolute stay-ins and the wavering middle.  A claim by the stay-in campaigners that something had been conceded by the EU, however  insignificant,  would provide the waverers with an excuse to vote to stay in because they could convince themselves they were voting for change.

It would be also be a mistake to see the EU offering  nothing  at all as a gift for the OUT camp. This is  because the waverers might simply see that as evidence that the EU was too powerful to oppose and shift their votes to staying in.

Those who want the UK to leave should unambiguously put the case for no renegotiation.  Dismiss anything Cameron (or any other PM) brings back from the EU by way of altered terms as being irrelevant because the EU has a long record of  agreeing things with  the UK and then finding ways of sabotaging what was agreed. In addition, a future British government  may agree to alter any terms offered at the time of the referendum.  The classic example of this changing of agreed terms happening in the past is Tony Blair’s  giving up of a substantial amount of the Thatcher rebate in return for a promised reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a promise which was never met.  That episode produced my all-time favourite amongst Blair’s penchant for lying. Two days before he went to the EU meeting at which he  gave away a  substantial part of the rebate he declared during Prime Minister’s Questions  that  the rebate  was “non-negotiable – period”

It is difficult to envisage any British prime minister not trying to  negotiate with the EU before a referendum, but it might just  happen if whoever is in power when the referendum is announced were to be told privately by the  major EU players that nothing will be given and the prime minister of the day concludes it would be best to pretend that a decision had been made not to negotiate rather than risk the humiliation of getting nothing, perhaps not even a pretence of negotiation before nothing is given.  Why would the EU do this? They might calculate that it would be a gamble worth taking to send a British PM away  with nothing  whilst hoping the referendum vote would be to stay in because then the power of the UK to resist further integration would be shot.

If the EU offer nothing, the OUT camp should welcome the fact and stress to the public that if the referendum is to stay-in the EU could force any federalist measure through because not only would any British government be much weakened in its opposition to more federalism, the UK political class as a whole would more than willing to go along with it because of their ideological commitment to the EU.

D) After the vote

Ideally the government which deals with the EU after a vote to leave will have committed themselves to a plan of action before the referendum vote.  However, as described above,  it is quite possible that this will not happen because  the UK’s overwhelmingly Europhile political class will try to re-entangle the UK with the EU. To prevent them doing so there should be a concerted campaign after the vote to ensure that the  British public understands what is being done on their behalf with a demand for a further referendum to agree any  new treaty.

The terms of the debate

It is essential that the Europhiles are not allowed to make the debate revolve around economics.   If they do it will effectively stifle meaningful debate. As anyone who has ever tried to present economic ideas to an audience of the general public will know it is a soul-destroying experience.  Take the question of how much of UK trade is with the EU. The debate will begin with the stay-in camp saying something like 45% of UK trade is with the EU. Those wanting to leave the EU will respond by saying it is probably less than 40% because of the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect . They will then be forced to explain what the Rotterdam/Amsterdam, effect is. That is the point where the general public’s concentration is lost and the debate ends up proving nothing to most of the audience.

But  although nothing is proved to the general audience by detailed economic argument ,  the audience will remember  certain phrases which have considerable  traction.  In amongst the serious debating on the issue of trade there will be phrases such as three million jobs in Britain rely on the EU and dire threats about how the EU will simply not buy British goods and services any more.  This is nonsense but fear is not a rational thing and many of those who vote will enter the voting chamber with fear of losing their jobs  in their heads regardless of what the OUT camp says if the debate is predominantly about economics.  Shift the debate away from economics and the fear inducing phrases will be heard less often.  If the BIG LIE is not repeated often enough its potency fades.

National Sovereignty

How should those wanting to leave the EU shift the focus of debate? They should put the matter which is really at the core of the UK’s  relationship with the EU  – national sovereignty – at the front of the  OUT camp’s referendum campaign.   Campaign under a slogan such as Are we to be masters in our own house?

Making national sovereignty the primary campaigning issue has the great advantage of  it being something that anyone can understand because it is both a simple concept and speaks directly to the natural tribal instincts of  human beings.   Being a simple concept readily  and naturally understood,   it is a far more potent debating tool than arguments attempting to refute the economic  arguments  beloved of the stay-in camp.  The fact that the natural tribal instincts have been suppressed for so long in the UK will increase its potency because most people will feel a sense of release when it begins to be catered for in public debate.

The appeal to national sovereignty has a further advantage. Those who support the EU are unused to debating on that ground.  That is because uncritical support for the EU has long been the position of both the British mainstream political class as a class and of the mass media.  That has meant that the contrary voice – that which wishes Britain to be independent – has been largely unheard in public debate for thirty years or more. Where it has been heard the response of the pro-EU majority has not been rational argument but abuse ranging from patronising dismissal of a wish for sovereignty as an outmoded nationalism to accusations that national sovereignty amounts to xenophobia or even racism.   These tactics – of excluding those who want to leave the EU from public debate and abuse substituted for argument – will no longer be available to the  pro EU lobby.

Immigration

The most threatening and energising subject relating to the EU for the general public is immigration. The public are right to identify this as the most important aspect of our membership of the EU because immigration touches every important part of British life: jobs, housing, education, welfare, healthcare, transport, free expression  and crime besides radically changing the  nature of parts of  the UK which now have large populations of immigrants and their descendants.

The public rhetoric of mainstream politicians and the media is changing fast as they begin to realise both what an electoral liability a de facto open door immigration policy is  as the effects of mass immigration become ever more glaring.  The argument is shifting from the economic to the cultural.  For example, here is the Daily Telegraph in a leader of  25 March:

“The fact is that, for many in Britain (especially those outside the middle classes), it is not just a matter of jobs being taken or public services being stretched, but of changes in the very character of communities. Those changes may not necessarily be for the worse: as the Prime Minister says, Britain’s culture has long been enriched by the contributions of new arrivals. But as long as ministers treat immigration as a matter of profit and loss, rather than the cause of often wrenching social change, they will never be able fully to address the grievances it causes.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9952717/Immigration-and-the-limits-of-the-possible.html)

This new frankness in public debate means that the OUT camp can use the immigration argument freely provided they keep the language within the confines of formal politeness. The subject will naturally dovetail with the emphasis on national sovereignty because the most important aspect of sovereignty is the ability to control the borders of the territory of a state.  Judged by their increasing willingness to talk publicly about immigration, it is probable that the mainstream UK parties will be content to go along with  ever more frank discussion about  immigration.

The economic argument must be kept simple

It will not be possible to avoid  economic arguments entirely. The OUT camp should concentrate on repeating these two facts:

-          The disadvantageous balance of payments deficit the UK has with the EU

-          The amount the UK pays to the EU

Those are the most solid  economic figures relating to the EU.   There is some fuzziness around the edges of the balance of payments deficit because of the question of where all the imports end up (whether in the EU or outside the EU through re-exporting) ,  while the  amount the EU  receives  is solid but it has to be broken down into the money which returns to the UK and the amount retained by Brussels.  Nonetheless these are the most certain  figures and the least susceptible to obfuscation by the stay-in side.

The best way of presenting the money paid to the EU is simply to say that outside the EU we can decide  how all of it is spent in this country and to illustrate what the money saved by not paying it to the EU would pay for.

It will also be necessary to address the question of protectionist measures the EU might take against the UK if the  vote was to leave.  It is improbable that the EU would place heavy protectionist barriers on UK exports because:

1.   The massive balance of payment deficit between the UK and the rest of the EU which is massively in the EU’s favour.

2.  Although the rest of the EU dwarfs the UK economy, much UK trade with the EU is heavily concentrated in certain regions of the EU.  The effect of protectionist barriers would  bear very heavily on these places.

3. There are strategically and economically important joint projects of which the UK is a major part,  for example, Airbus, the Joint-Strike Fighter.

4. the Republic of Ireland would be a massive bargaining chip for  the UK to play.  If the UK left and the EU rump attempted to impose sanctions against Britain this would cripple the RoI because so much of their trade is with the UK  The EU would be forced to massively subsidise the RoI  if protectionist barriers against the UK were imposed.  The EU could not exempt the RoI from the sanctions because that  would leave the EU open to British exports being funnelled through the RoI.

5. The EU would be bound by the World Trade Organisation’s restrictions on protectionist measures.

The economic  issues which are not worth pursuing in detail because they are too diffuse  and uncertain , are those relating to how much the EU costs Britain in terms of  EU-inspired legislation. It may well be that these load billions a year of extra costs  onto the UK  but they are not certain  or easily evaluated costs, not least because we cannot in the nature of things know what burdens an independent UK would impose off its own bat.   Getting into detailed  discussions about such things will simply play into the hands of  the stay-in camp because it will eat up the time and space available to those promoting the OUT cause.

Other Issues

Apart from the economic issues the stay-in camp will use these reasons for staying in:

-          That the EU  has prevented war in Western Europe since 1945.  This can be simply refuted by pointing out that the EU was not formed until  twelve years after WW2; that until 1973 the EU consisted of only six countries, three of them small,  and  of only nine countries until the 1980s. Consequently it would be reasonable to look for other reasons for  the lack of war. The two causes of   the peace in Western Europe have been the NATO alliance and the invention of nuclear weapons which make the price of war extraordinarily high.

-          That nation states such as the UK are too small to carry any real diplomatic weight in modern world.   That begs the question of whether it is an advantageous thing to carry such weight – it can get a country into disastrous foreign entanglements such as Iraq and Afghanistan – but even assuming it is advantageous , many much smaller countries than the UK survive very nicely, making their own bilateral agreements with other states large and small.   It is also worth remembering that the UK has such levers as a permanent seat on the UN Security  Council (which allows the UK to veto any proposed  move by the UN) and considerable influence in institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

Robert Henderson

1 April 2013

The white working-class and the British elite – From the salt of the earth to the scum of the earth

Robert Henderson

1. How it used to be 

Thirty years ago the Labour Party primary client base was the white working-class, while the Tories still had remnants of the heightened sense of social responsibility towards the poor created by two world wars. Fast forward to 2006 and the white working-class are treated by the entire British political elite as a dangerous, almost subhuman species.

The mixture of contempt, fear and hatred which the white working-class now draws from the political class is echoed by the elite generally, indeed by not just the elite but the middleclass as a whole. Where once the white working-class were next to uninsultable publicly, sneering references to “chavs” and “chav culture” are now commonplace in the mainstream media where they pass with barely a critical public word, while ethnic minorities seemingly have licence to publicly  insult the white working-class with impunity, vide the Coronation Street episode in January 2006 where a male Asian character accused his sister of behaving like “poor white trash”.

What caused this immense change in the status of the white  working-class? There were three direct primary engines of change. The first was the success of Thatcher and her ideology, the second a critical point was reached in post war mass immigration, the third Britain’s membership of the EU and other restrictive treaties which tainted her sovereignty.

2. Globalism and laissez faire economics

When Margaret Thatcher became Tory Leader in 1975 the neo-paternalist stance the party had adopted since the smashing Labour victory of 1945 was changed to one of laissez faire non-interventionism, with its an inherent disdain for public provision and service. Thatcher threw away the protectionism which had sustained the white working-class, allowed much of British industry, especially heavy industry, to go to the wall, and privatised the nationalised industries. Unemployment, already at a post-war high at the end of the Callaghan government, rose dramatically to around 3 million. The unions were then weak enough to successfully attack with severe legal restraints on strikes and a ban on secondary picketing.

Unemployment has remained high since the early 1980s – the current official employment figures are bad enough taken at face value (around 2.7m by the international Labour survey method) – but in reality it is probably considerably higher – there are 2-3 million on long term sick benefit now compared with around 600,000 in the early 1980s  ago. Common-sense says the country cannot in 2012 have four or five times the number of seriously incapacitated people it had 30-odd  years ago. This high unemployment has kept the white  working-class largely quiescent and the unions emasculated.

Thatcher also threw away the post-war consensus that the white working-class was admirable, or at least deserving of special consideration because of their disadvantaged social circumstances. Thatcherite Tories were only interested in the working-class insofar as its members were willing to buy into the narrow aspirational template which Thatcher promoted. If you were working-class and wanted to buy your council flat and were happy to gobble up the shares of privatised national industries, the Tories approved of you; if you wanted to maintain traditional working-class employments and communities, you were a soldier in the ranks of the enemy.

Labour did not immediately cast off the white working-class as clients. That took 18 years of opposition. Through four election defeats Labour gradually jettisoned all that they stood for in their cynical quest for a way back to power. The end result was a supposedly Labour Government headed by Blair which became, quite bizarrely, even more fanatically committed to “free markets” and “free trade” than the Tories.

3. Immigration reaching a critical level

By 1979 immigration had swollen the population of blacks and Asians in Britain to a point where their numbers were significant enough to pose a serious threat to British society if racial conflict got out of hand.

Until the end of the 1970s the official line on immigrants from all the mainstream parties was they must assimilate. Towards the end of the decade it was obvious to even the most fervent advocate of integration that assimilation was not happening. Rather, large populations of various ethnicities were stubbornly continuing to form ghettoes in the major British towns and cities and were attempting to lives which as far as possible replicated those of their ancestral countries.

To avoid having to admit what a disaster immigration had been, the British liberal left adopted an ideology to fit the facts of what was happening. That ideology was multiculturalism, a creed which rested on the fantasy that a coherent society could be produced by allowing every ethnic group in Britain to retain its separate identity. Indeed, the multiculturalists did more than say we should allow such a development, they positively encouraged ethnic minorities to remain separate. The kindest interpretation of their behaviour is that these were people enthusiastically pouring paraffin onto a fire in an attempt to put it out.

But the multiculturalists were faced by a most awkward fact. The white working-class was and always had been resolutely opposed to mass post-war immigration. Not only that but they were willing to say so publicly – the dockers had marched with Enoch Powell. Therefore, the liberal left had to do two things to prevent the white working-class from expressing their discontent both with the immigration which had occurred and with the new policy of multiculturalism , in which the native British culture was to have no privileged place but was to be merely one amongst many competing cultures. Worse, in practice the  native culture (or cultures if you prefer) was not even to be  allowed to compete because to do so would be to give the native population a public voice and a focus for their discontent.

The Labour Party at the parliamentary level was generally willing to espouse the new ideology uncritically because it fitted with their internationalist rhetoric. It also helped that the immigrants overwhelmingly voted Labour and were neatly consolidated in ghettos in the larger towns and cities where their votes were likely to elect Labour candidates more often than not.

Of course there was the seemingly ticklish problem for the multiculturalists of Labour being out of power for 18 years. In practice it did not matter, for it was not only the overt liberal left who embraced multiculturalism. Whatever their rhetoric, in practice,

the Tories climbed on the multiculturalist bandwagon quickly enough. Thatcher had spoken not long before being elected in 1979 of Britain being “swamped” by immigrants. But once in office she did nothing and the position continued to worsen, not least because she signed the Single European Act in 1985 which granted any person legally resident in another EU state the right to work in Britain. And of course throughout the 18 years of Tory office, people with the “right” multiculturalist views controlled the media, academia and increasingly the civil service. They were always on hand, both behind the scenes and publicly, to ensure the Tory Government did not actually do anything to disturb the multiculturalist programme.

Worse was to follow. In opposition the Tories followed the course of the Labour Party. Three election defeats in a row persuaded them elect as leader David Cameron, a man who adopted the same strategy for the Tories as Blair had pursued when he dumped everything Labour stood for. Cameron quickly got rid of everything which was considered “Old Tory” . This included wholeheartedly embracing multiculturalism. The electoral circle on immigration was formally closed. There is no major party to vote for if you do not want further mass immigration.

The silencing of the white working-class voice on immigration was achieved by a number of means over the past quarter century. Most potent was the mixture of legal threats such as the various Race Relations Acts and associated legislation such as the Public Order Act of 1986 and  the religious exclusion of anti-immigration views from the mainstream media. British culture was gradually relegated to a less prominent place in schools. Pupils were taught, if they were taught anything about the past, of white wickedness. The Atlantic slave trade was represented as the greatest crime of history, the British Empire nothing more than a cruel invasion and subjugation of defenceless peoples. Any sign of publicly expressed native English pride was jumped on from everyone from politicians to teachers and denounced as xenophobia at best and racism as worst.

It did not take long for anyone who was not a supporter of multiculturalism to be beyond the liberal elite Pale. By 2006 multiculturalism had been formally embedded into public life through a mixture of ideological sharing amongst the elite and their auxiliaries and the law, most notably in recent years by the Race Relations (Amendment Act) of 2000 which effectively places an obligation on all employers who receive public funding to demonstrate that they are not being discriminatory.

The contemptuous mentality of those who currently permit and advocate mass immigration to Britain is epitomised by a speech in 2006 to business leaders by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King:

“If the increased demand for labour generates its own supply in the form of migrant labour then the link between demand and prices is broken. Indeed, in an economy that can call on unlimited supplies of migrant labour, the concept of output gap becomes meaningless….The UK is not in that extreme position, but the inflow of migrant labour, especially in the past year or so from Eastern Europe, has probably lead to diminution of inflationary pressure in the labour market,relative to previous experience.

“The Home Office estimates that around 120,000 workers entered the UK from the new member countries of the European Union between March 2004 and March 2005. Without this influx to fill the skills gap in a tight labour market, it is likely earnings would have risen at a faster rate, putting pressure on employers, and, ultimately, inflation”.’ Daily Telegraph 14 6 2006.

There you have the elite view of the day: human beings are to be treated purely as factor of production along with land and capital. No greater contempt for the masses, including the white working-class, can be held.

4. The EU and other treaties

Whatever their public words, both the Tory and Labour parties were generally nationalist in their behaviour until well after the second world war. Traditional Tories were nationalists by conviction, while even the Labour left were in practice protective of the nation state because they strongly opposed the importation of cheap goods and cheap labour. British membership of the EU (then the EEC) from 1973 onwards changed the rules of the game for both parties.

The Treaty of Rome made Britain generally subordinate to a foreign authority. It was not like a normal treaty such as that of NATO which is formed simply for a particular limited purpose and which can be ended or withdrawn from cleanly. The Treaty of Rome was a full blown political project with the specific aim of creating a supranational political entity. Even when Britain joined, the EU’s powers to interfere with British political decisions were substantial, although nothing like as extensive as they are in 2012. It simply was not possible to be a wholehearted nationalist any more. That undermined traditional Toryism and paved the way for Thatcherism, which was predicated on the individual rather than the community.

For the Labour Party learning to love the EU took a long time. Their 1983 manifesto advocated withdrawing because the EU was viewed as a capitalist club. But as the Party painfully lurched towards accepting the globalist market-led creed, there came the realisation on the left that both globalism generally and membership of the EU were wonderful promoters of internationalism. They did not deliver the internationalism which the left had traditionally sought, all brotherly love and material sharing, but they accomplished a central part of the internationalist dream, the destruction of nations. This realisation, together with the fear they would never hold power again drove Labour away from their practical nationalism.

As the years passed the entire political class also discovered general benefits from globalism and EU membership. Being in international clubs such as the EU and the WTO effectively destroyed democratic accountability. Any policy relevant to a treaty could be pushed through with the excuse that Britain was legally bound by treaty to do this. Membership of the EU in particular ensured that the excuse could be used over vast swathes of policy. This loss of democratic accountability removed the last vestiges of white working-class power because there was no mainstream Party with a chance of forming a government to speak or act for them. The white working-class might as well have stopped voting then for all the good it now did them.

5.Devolution and demonising the English

Up to 1997 the white working-class in the UK as a whole suffered much the same decline in prestige and strength. Blair’s victory in that year altered matters fundamentally. Primarily for the self-serving political reason that Labour normally depends heavily on Scots and Welsh MPs to achieve a working majority in the Commons, the Party adopted a policy of devolution for Scotland and Wales. (Northern Ireland was also brought into the devolution mix but for other reasons). It was one of the first major pieces of NuLabour manifesto-promised legislation to be enacted.

Devolution created a ticklish problem. How could it be that England, where more than 80% of the population of the UK resided and where even more than 80% of the UK’s GDP was generated, should have no national representation? Why did England not deserve its own political voice if Wales and Scotland and even tiny Northern Ireland did? Because there was no reasonable answer to that question Labour (and the liberal left generally) invented unreasonable ones: England was too big, there was no such thing as Englishness, the English had no desire for a parliament, such a parliament would only mean more politicians and expense and, most tellingly, the English could not be trusted with nationalism, a claim best translated as “The ruling liberal elite are determined at all costs to prevent the English having a voice because if they do they will look after their own interests which are currently being outrageously neglected”.

When I say ruling liberal elite I am of course including the entire political elite. A prime example of the cross-party agreement on the “dangers” of English nationalism came in a BBC Radio 4 programme Brits which went out on 10 January 2000. The then Home Secretary Jack Straw and the Tory leader of the moment William Hague appeared. This is what they said:

Straw: “[the English] are potentially very aggressive, very violent [and had in the past] used their propensity for violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland”.

Hague:” English nationalism is the most dangerous form of nationalism that can arise in the United Kingdom, because England is four-fifths of the population of the UK…Once part of a united country or kingdom that is so predominant in size becomes nationalistic, then really the whole thing is under threat…”

The unresolved question of English devolution within an otherwise devolved UK led to a shift by politicians from the denigration of the white working-class generally to denigration of the English in general and the English white working-class in particular, the latter being commonly portrayed by politicians and the media as brutish people with the unspoken subtext “they cannot be trusted with power”. As most of the British white working-class are English, the white working-class were further marginalised.

Devolution also had a direct material effect on England and in particular the English poor. The amount spent per head on public services has for a long time grossly disadvantaged the English, viz:

According to official figures from the Treasury, 2010/11 projected average UK government spending per person was £10,212 in Scotland, compared to just £8,588 in England. Spending was also higher in Wales (£9,829) and Northern Ireland (£10,706). (http://tinyurl.com/cxmgwly)

The rate of increase of the per capita payments accelerated after devolution and consequently weakened public provision in England compared with the rest of the UK . That diminution of provision has struck most profoundly at the English white working-class.

6.The ethnic minority problem

Where do ethnic minorities stand in a devolved UK? German-born Labour MP Gisela Stuart writing in online magazine openDemocracy.net in December  005 described the problem, whilst also gaily insulting the English: “It  as only been in the last five years or so that I have heard people in my constituency telling me ‘I am not British – I am English’. That worries me.

“British identity is based on and anchored in its political and legal institutions and this enables it to take in new entrants more easily than it would be if being a member of a nation were to be defined by blood.

“But a democratic polity will only work if citizens’ identification is with the community as a whole, or at least with the shared process, which overrides their loyalty to a segment.” (Quoted in Birmingham Mail 18 11 2005)

The problem for people such as Ms Stuart is that Britishness was destroyed by devolution. There is no longer a comfortable overarching label of British under which everyone can be placed. All that is left for the people of Britain to cling to are emotional ethnicities.

The situation is most acute in England because that is where the majority of ethnic minorities in the UK live. There is hard evidence that ethnic minorities in England routinely do not think of themselves as English. In 2005, the CRE commissioned from the research firm Ethnos a poll designed to discover how Britons identify themselves (http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/what_is_britishness.pdf). A couple of passages are particularly telling:

“In England, white English participants identified themselves as English first and British second, while ethnic minority participants perceived themselves as British. None identified as English, which they saw as meaning exclusively white people.”

“Britishness was associated with great historical and political achievements, but only amongst white participants (whether from England, Scotland or Wales), not those from ethnic minority backgrounds”.

This tells us two things: ethnic minorities in England routinely reject the idea of Englishness and ethnic minorities everywhere in the UK have no identification with Britain’s past. So much for Britishness.

 7. Balkanising England

Recognising the danger that English nationalism represented to Labour’s domestic political hopes (and quite possibly to the EU’s wish to divide the UK into a series of regions), the Blair government attempted to create a political structure which would make an English Parliament next to impossible. Their method was to Balkanise the country through the creation of regional assemblies (the artificial regions chosen just happened to fit the regions into which the EU bureaucrats have decided England should be divided). But this plan fell over, at least for the foreseeable future, when a referendum to set up an assembly in the least artificial of the regions, the North-East, was humiliating by an overwhelming NO vote.

 8. The gradual demoralisation of the white working class

If laissez faire economics, immigration reaching a critical level and international treaties were the immediate reasons why the white  working-class has fallen so far from favour, the ground for their realisation was prepared during the thirty-five years which followed the Labour victory of 1945.

It is important not to be sentimental about the white working-class before their desertion by the British political class. Britain was far from being a peaceful society. Industrial relations were seriously fraught from the Eighteenth century onwards, long before nationalisation and the modern welfare state. Much crime went unreported because working class communities refused to report it. Vicious fights regularly took place in places such as the docks and the mines. There was considerable football hooliganism. Until the Irish Free State was founded, Irish nationalism was a constant  running sore. Violent criminal gangs controlled places such as the Elephant and Castle and Brighton.

British education until after the second world war (and the Butler Act’s implementation) was seriously flawed, with most children leaving school at 14 having received no more than a primary education – only those who committed themselves to staying until 16 received  secondary education. The general standard of education was not high,  although, unlike now, the members of the political elite were frequently well educated.

There was also a great deal of abject poverty right up to 1939 with many working people living from wage packet to wage packet, often  with the aid of a weekly trip to the local pawnbroker. There was only a rudimentary welfare state and to fall ill if you were poor was to place yourself at the mercy of the charity of others.

Despite these shortcomings, at the outbreak of the second world war working class society was much more coherent and secure than it is today. Most important was the fact that mainland Britain was racially and ethnically a very homogeneous society, even the ancestral  cultural divisions between the English, Scots and Welsh were largely shadings within a single cultural spectrum rather than violently competing ethnicities. Across the water Ireland was a problem, but even there the divisions were political and religious rather than matters of  profound ethnic difference. Such serious ethnic tension as there was resulted from the influx of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, but even there the persistent failure of Mosley’s Blackshirts to gain electoral support in the midst of the Depression tells its own story: vehement anti-semitism was not a widespread problem.

The homogeneity of Britain generated a sense of security because the mainland British at least did not have the distraction of chronic and serious ethnic strife. That sense of security was bolstered by the fact that each of the four home nations had their own territory which they dominated in terms of occupation of the land even if they did not formally control their territory. The white working-class generally did not feel threatened by people whom they felt had no place in Britain. Most felt, whatever their personal troubles, that at least they were secure in their own land.

Added to, and arguably arising from, this marvellous ethnic and territorial security were potent and well established social support mechanisms of the working class, viz:

1. Unions, including their large welfare role.

2. Co-Operative Societies – Harrods for the working class.

3. Friendly societies.

4. Homogeneous working-class communities which mutually  supported their members.

5. Large scale manual employment for the working class.

That was the position at the end of WW2, and for a considerable time after 1945 the condition of the white working-class actually improved as a full blown welfare state, rising wages and very low employment significantly increased their security and advantage.

The 1944 Butler Education Act gave all British children the chance to go to a grammar school and even those who did not gain a grammar school place got an extra year of schooling, schooling which went beyond the primary level. It was a far from perfect educational system but it was a considerable improvement on what had gone before. Most importantly, for the first time it gave large numbers of white  working-class children the chance of a first rate education and, for a significant minority, the chance to go to university.

Unions remained strong and both major political parties were committed to maintaining by protectionist measures the British economy, a fair slice of which was in any case nationalised. The white working-class were both the electoral bedrock of the Labour Party and courted by a Tory Party which realised it had to abide by the Attlee Government’s social reforms if it was to be elected (in the mid-fifties one of the proudest boasts of the Tory Government was that they had built 300,000 council houses in a year).

To this growing advantage was gradually added a de facto censorship of criticism of the white working-class. Throughout the period 1945 to 1975 there developed a pernicious habit amongst the British elite whereby public criticism of the white working-class became unacceptable in much the same way that over the past thirty years ethnic minorities have ceased to be publicly criticised.

Like any powerful class which is exempted from criticism the white  working-class abused their position, or perhaps more correctly, allowed their elected representatives whether in politics or unions, to lead them into abusive ways. The unions were all too ready to call strikes, strikes which when they affected the nationalised industries had the power to cripple British life.

The unions had become too powerful and it was their extreme propensity for “industrial action” – strikes, working-to-rule, demarcation disputes and violent picketing – which began to break down the public silence over white working-class abuses. Gradually it became acceptable for politicians and the media to criticise the white  working-class. They needed little prompting because politicians of all colours and mediafolk were more often than not were middleclass, and the middleclass had very little natural empathy with the white  working-class, just as today politicians and the media have no natural empathy with the ethnic minorities who are their current client class.

By 1970 the white working-class was outwardly as secure as a class as they had ever been and would be again. But even at the seeming height of their class advantage they were weaker than they once had been, naturally weaker than ever before in fact because sociological rats  had been gnawing away at their natural cohesion since 1945.

The mass post-war immigration began in the late 40s but it was not a major problem for the white working-class until the 1960s. More immediately damaging were the slum clearances which dominated the twenty five years after the War. These destroyed many working class communities by the simple expedient of dividing them up  between different housing estates. The working class were still living together but they were no longer the tightly knit coherent communities which had existed for generations. Instead it was strangers living together and living together not in housing which allowed an easy social life to develop, but more often than not in high rise buildings which destroyed social intimacy.

Ironically the new welfare state damaged the white working-class because it weakened the informal traditional social supports deriving from a well established community (help from friends and extended family) and led to the decline of formal supports such as friendly societies and the co-operative movement.

9. Education subverted

In the 1960s came the disaster of comprehensive schools and progressive educational theory. Comprehensivisation took away the ladder by which the bright white working-class child progressed, the grammar schools. The secondary modern -technical school- grammar school established by the Butler Act was far from perfect because it left large numbers of children labelled as educational failures, but that which replaced it was far worse a system. Most comprehensives simply did not have the resources or the will to provide a grammar school level education for their brightest pupils.

Progressive educational theory caused a general diminution in educational standards through a combination of its “discovery” method of learning, ie, do not actually teach them anything, and a self-denying ordinance which forbade any criticism of a child’s work. Stir in the lunacy of producing school exams to be taken by children of all ability (GCSE) and the incontinent expansion of higher education from the late 1980s onwards, season with the quasi-commercialisation  of schools and universities through money following the pupil or student, top with school examination boards becoming overtly commercial, and you have the recipe for the mess which is modern British education, where exam grades rise inexorably while performance moves just as remorselessly in the opposite direction.

The percentage of working-class children at university is actually lower in 2012 than it was forty years ago. Of course the numbers of children in higher education has expanded massively since the mid-sixties and in absolute numbers far more white working-class pupils go on to university in 2006 than 1966. But it counts for nothing. If more white working-class pupils may have GCSEs, A Levels and degrees now, the standard of the education they receive to gain such qualifications is so degraded from what it was forty years ago that the qualifications are next to worthless as guides to employers of a person’s ability and the education received while taking them fails to equip students for the world of work even at the basic level of literacy and numeracy.

Had the major sources of traditional white working-class employment not been largely destroyed in the 1980s and 1990s, comprehensive education would not be so dire in its consequences for the white working class, because they would still have been employed in secure jobs which do not require much education. Instead, millions  are trapped in unemployment (admitted unemployment or disguised as ill, retired early or attending worthless courses in higher education) or in insecure and ill-paid jobs, stranded without the education to find decent, well-paid work.

Any society also has to take into account the fact that any population contains many people who are naturally poorly equipped to do anything other than unskilled jobs. Ten per cent of the British population has an IQ of 80 or less. An IQ of 80 is the level at which psychologists generally agree someone begins to struggle to cope with the demands of an advanced society such as Britain. Such people require jobs they can do. Immigrants take those jobs and depress wages. The white working-class are being left with less and less.

With their traditional employments largely destroyed, subject to a state educational system which leaves them ill-equipped for any job other than the unskilled, beset by cheap immigrant labour competing  for unskilled jobs and crippled by the cost of housing, the white  working-class are ever more dependent on public provision. That provision is becoming increasingly uncertain as immigrant demand for social provision multiplies, public spending soars to dangerous heights and Blair’s mania for introducing private money and companies into public provision runs riot.

What were once the public utilities – gas, electricity, water, the railways – are becoming dearer and dearer despite providing an increasingly poor service through a lack of investment in maintenance and the shedding of jobs (the government cannot do anything to subsidise utility prices because of our membership of the EU). The poorer you are the larger part of your income is taken by these vital products and services.

Benefits and the state pension are linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) but this understates inflation substantially, primarily because the cost of housing, i.e. what it costs to buy a property, is not included (only average mortgage repayment costs and rents are). This understatement of inflation means that benefits and the state pension are gradually losing their value in real terms.

There are also many people for whom the basket of goods and services is unrepresentative. For example, 14% of the index is devoted to motoring expenses which means that the RPI figure is barely relevant to non-car owners. RPI also excludes from its spending pattern such inconvenient people as OAPs surviving on the state pension because they are not “typical”. Generally, the poorer you are, the less representative of your spending RPI will be.

Wages are also affected by official inflation figures because they are used as a benchmark for both public service and private industry wage increases. I say inflation figures because more than one index is used. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is the index used these days to give the headline rate of inflation. This is even less accurate a guide to the true rate of inflation than RPI because it excludes housing costs altogether. Where this figure is used to guide wage increases the real value of the wage decreases even more rapidly in real terms than benefits and the state pension.

Then there is taxation. The poorest people in work in the population pay by far – in direct and indirect taxes combined – the highest proportion of their income in tax of any part of the population.

10. How could the present position be remedied?

Britain needs to do four things. (1) withdraw from the EU and  repudiate any other Treaty which prevents the country exercising her sovereignty over immigration and her economy. (2) Recognise that public provision is generally best supplied by the state directly providing it. (3) Substitute for the globalist ideology an unaggressive nationalist one which steers a middle course between protectionism and manic free trade and which clearly distinguishes between the status of  citizens and foreigners. (4) End mass immigration.

The first two are essentially acts of domestic political will. Withdrawing from the EU and treaties such as the UN Convention on Refugees would doubtless cause a great deal of political huffing and puffing but would be unlikely to produce any profound ill-effects because the EU would still wish to trade with Britain and the UN is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Public services – by which I mean genuine public services such as the NHS and prisons – are essentially a domestic matter and should concern no one outside this country.

The last two are more problematic. Adopting an unaggressive nationalism and clearly distinguishing between the status of citizens and foreigners would be no difficulty in practice because those are decisions which have little practical effect on other nations, but what of our trading treaty relationships, especially our membership of  the World Trade Organisation? If we remained within the WTO would that make a middle course between protectionism and free trade impossible?

The WTO in practice permits many protectionist measures – readers will recollect how the USA suddenly slapped tariffs on foreign steel a year or so back. There is a good deal of wriggle room which Britain could use to protect her domestic economy. For example, if another WTO member is doing something protectionist and getting away with it, and many are, then the WTO will scarcely be able to penalise Britain. If the worst comes to the worst and we had to leave the WTO, bilateral agreements with other countries could be made – Britain has too large an economy for other states en bloc to forgo the opportunity for trade.

11. The end of mass immigration

That leaves mass immigration which I shall deal with in some detail because it is the most dangerous threat to the welfare of both the white working-class and the native British population as a whole. The stopping of further mass immigration alone would do more for the white working-class than any other single action by government. It would tighten the labour market and improve their employment opportunities. That in turn would improve their status. The pressure on public services, transport and housing would be lessened making access to them cheaper and easier for the white working-class. More generally, the moral climate would change because the ending of mass immigration would signal that there is a clear distinction between the rights of British citizens and the rights of foreigners.

With control resumed over our borders through withdrawal from the EU and the repudiation of other treaties, there would be in principle no problem with stopping further mass immigration. But what about the economic effects? The liberal internationalists tell us that the woes of the world would come upon us should we do such a thing,  although, like Lear threatening retribution, (“I shall do such things ….I know not what they are”) they are strangely unable to quite  say what the woes will be.  If reality, there would simply be a manageable period of economic and social reconstruction.

The immediate economic effect would be  a redistribution of labour. Labour would move into those occupations which are essential and which cannot be provided at a distance, for  example  healthcare  and education. We would discover how  occupations rank in terms of utility. Wages would rise in those occupations which had most utility to attract staff from elsewhere.

Employers would respond to labour tightening by using labour more efficiently. Automation would increase and employers would  change their attitude to the older person and the disabled.

Both employers and government would take vocational training more seriously. Government would provide incentives to employers to train their staff and increase the training of public service  professionals such as doctors and dentists. Government would also be forced to tackle the mess which is our public education to ensure an adequately educated workforce.

Employers who could not find the labour to run their business in this country would have to accept they could not do so. No one has a right to engage in an enterprise regardless of the effects on the welfare of the community as a whole. Capital which cannot be used in this country can be invested abroad.

12. Would there be an unmanageable labour shortage?

The idea that Britain is short of labour for most purposes is demonstrably absurd. The official figure for those under the state retirement age who are economically inactive in the UK is 7 million. Clearly not all of those would be able or willing to work, but equally clearly a large proportion would be able and willing to work if the conditions were right, i.e., wages rose, employers became more accommodating and the benefits system was tightened as the number of opportunities for work rose.

The claim that the indigenous population will not do the jobs immigrants take is demonstrably false. In areas of the country with few immigrants native Britons do them willingly. In many instances where foreign workers are employed it is not because native Britons will not work. Take the case of the cockle-pickers who died in Morecombe Bay several years ago it was widely reported in the media that the Chinese cockle pickers clashed with British cockle pickers who resented them invading their territory. These Chinese were not filling jobs which were unfilled by the British but competing with the British for the work.

The experience of the cockle-pickers is found elsewhere, not least because employers, particularly  gangmasters,  are frequently immigrants. They generally prefer to employ people of their own ethnicity.  The consequence is that the British are not found in some occupations in some places because the  immigrant employers deliberately avoid recruiting them.

The other thing which prevents native Britons taking jobs in some parts of the country is the fact that the native Briton does not want to work for employers whose workforce is predominantly formed of immigrants or native-born ethnic minorities. Like every other people, native Britons do not wish to be forced to work in their own land in a employment where they are in the minority.

It is also important to remember that the menial jobs immigrants take are worth far more to them than a native Briton. If you earn as little as £250 a week net – many immigrants work cash in hand – and live in accommodation either supplied by an employer or in crowded accommodation for very little rent, you will probably still be able to save a a substantial amount, say, £2,000 pa.

If you come from China where wages even in the big cities are 50 pence an hour, you would earn œ1,000 pa for a 40 hour week. Working at a menial job in Britain allows you to save double the average Chinese big city annual wage in a year. That money remitted to China takes on the local purchasing power. The multiplier for Eastern Europeans is less but even there œ2,000 saved in a year would be a good professional salary in places such as Poland. Give native Britons the chance to save the equivalent of a British professional’s salary in a year doing a menial job and they will flock to the work and put up with basic living conditions. Of course, no such employments are on offer to Britons.

13. Conclusion

The crime of the post-war British elite of all political colours has been to destroy the social and economic structures which gave  security and viability to white working-class society without replacing them with something else. The elite mashed their communities through slum clearance, thrust mass immigration into the areas in which the white working-class lived, destroyed through “free trade” the great industries which traditionally employed them and hamstrung the unions by a mixture of legislation, cheap foreign labour both at home and abroad and the creation of a perpetual “reserve army of labour” from the native population. At the same time the white working-class were deprived of the means to create new lives and social structures through a decent education. Whatever the white working-class are now, they are the product of decisions made by the British political elite since 1945.

I am not a sentimentalist who imagines that the ideal world would be one in which the white working class continued unchanged as noble “sons of toil” or that ” working-class culture” should be preserved in aspic. Had every white working-class person in the country been converted into part of the middleclass by an unforced process of improved education and rising wages I would have seen that as part of a natural sociological change. But that of course did not happen, probably in principle could never have happened in a country the size of Britain. The white working-class have been disenfranchised. The British middle class have been at best complicit in the attack on the white working-class and at worst have taken an eager and active part in it. For decades they thought themselves personally safe from the consequences of immigration and, later, imagined that they were immune from the effects of globalisation. They find themselves unable to buy houses because of the absurd prices They are beginning to learn the hard facts of sociological life: mass immigration and globalisation eventually affects all but the truly rich, a poetic justice but one which harms the country.

Can things change? For the first time in half a century British politicians (and the liberal elite generally) are beginning to display realism over the effects of immigration. This realism is coming from both the major Parties. Here is the Tory MP Julian Brazier writing in a pamphlet for the Cornerstone group:

“Overcrowding is a key cause of many of the factors which are destroying quality of life: mortgage slavery, over-development, congested roads, water shortages, flooding and overstretched public services. We should do everything we can sensibly – and fairly – to reduce the level of immigration to well below the level of emigration.” (The Times August 01, 2006)

On the other side of the political fence is Labour MP Jon Cruddas, MP for the Essex seat of Dagenham. Writing a commentary on a Rowntree Trust study THE FAR RIGHT IN LONDON which deals with the recent success of the BNP in his constituency he comments:

“…it [the Blair Government] has tacitly used immigration to help forge the preferred flexible North American labour market. Especially in London, legal and illegal immigration has been central in replenishing the stock of cheap labour across the public and private services, construction and civil engineering…

“For many of my constituents the value of their social wage is in decline. House prices appear to rise inexorably upwards whilst thousands and thousands seek nonexistent, new social housing. Public service improvements fail to match localised population expansion let alone the long term legacy of underinvestment…

“At work their terms and conditions are under threat as they compete for work with cheap immigrant labour. In terms of access to housing  and public services and their position in the workplace many see immigration as a central determinant in their own relative impoverishment….

“Those communities that must accommodate the new immigrant communities are the ones least equipped to do so they themselves have the most limited opportunities for economic and social mobility…”

But realism from a few politicians acting as individuals is worthless if the major political parties do nothing or indeed, with our various treaty obligations, can do nothing legally while we are bound by them. The only way Britain could meaningfully regain control of immigration is to leave the EU and renounce all other treaties, such  as the UN Convention of Refugees, which prevents Britain from controlling her borders. There is absolutely no sign that any major party or even individual politician is willing to contemplate such a policy.

Immigration is only one part of the problem. There is still very little realism from even by individual MPs over the effects of laissez faire economics and freer trade, both of which severely undermine the condition of the white working-class (and increasingly, much of the middleclass).

The manic drive to privatise everything in sight, whether by outright privatisation or the introduction of private money into public services, shows no sign of abating. The immediate consequence of this is all too often reduced services at greater cost, while the long –term effect may be to reduced public provision generally, either because the costs simply go out of control or because the fact that a service is provided by a private contractor rather than by direct labour public provision makes it easier to reduce the service or stop providing it altogether..

On the education side so much damage has been done to our education system, from primary schools to universities, that it is difficult to see how things could be changed in less than a generation.

Perhaps the greatest problem is the current state of our political system which has become utterly unresponsive to the needs of the British people in general and the white working-class in particular.

The Labour MP John Cruddas wrote this recently in his commentary on a Joseph Rowntree Trust report “The rise of the Far right”. “The [Blair] government is not a coalition of traditions and interests who  initiate policy and debate; rather it is a power elite whose modus operandi is the retention of power.” The words could be as readily applied to the modern Tory Party.

Compare this with George Orwell’s words in 1984:” “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. …We are different from the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and Russian Communists came very close to us in our methods, but they never had the courage to recognise their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power  with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard arevolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” (O’Brien speaking to Winston Smith during his interrogation).

That is the political system we have now: a simple desire for power. The only thing which will change it is fear, fear in the political elite that things are running out of control, that they may be brought to account. Then they will shamelessly amend their ideology, what they said was black yesterday will become white tomorrow. Elites only have one settled principle – to do whatever is necessary to preserve their power and privilege.

“British identity is based on and anchored in its political and legal institutions and this enables it to take in new entrants more easily than it would be if being a member of a nation were to be defined by blood.

“But a democratic polity will only work if citizens’ identification is with the community as a whole, or at least with the shared process, which overrides their loyalty to a segment.” (Quoted in Birmingham Mail 18 11 2005)

The problem for people such as Ms Stuart is that Britishness was destroyed by devolution. There is no longer a comfortable overarching label of British under which everyone can be placed. All that is left for the people of Britain to cling to are emotional ethnicities.

The situation is most acute in England because that is where the majority of ethnic minorities in the UK live. There is hard evidence that ethnic minorities in England routinely do not think of themselves as English. In 2005, the CRE commissioned from the research firm Ethnos a poll designed to discover how Britons identify themselves (http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/what_is_britishness.pdf). A couple of passages are particularly telling:

“In England, white English participants identified themselves as English first and British second, while ethnic minority participants perceived themselves as British. None identified as English, which they saw as meaning exclusively white people.”

“Britishness was associated with great historical and political achievements, but only amongst white participants (whether from England, Scotland or Wales), not those from ethnic minority backgrounds”.

This tells us two things: ethnic minorities in England routinely reject the idea of Englishness and ethnic minorities everywhere in the UK have no identification with Britain’s past. So much for Britishness.

“Free markets and “free trade” = elite propaganda”

Note: I wrote this long eassay  in 2005. The financial crash and recession since provide added grist to my arguments as the rich get richer, most people get steadily poorer, public provision shrinks and the inequality between people swells.

The lessons of economic history tell this story: a strong domestic economy is necessary for sustained economic growth and stability. The freer the trade with foreign states, the less stable and secure the domestic economy.

Post-war economic experience illustrates this nicely. Britain experienced her strongest sustained growth in the period  1945-1972. This was a period of protectionism and much state intervention in the economy.  Problems arose in the 1970s, but these were largely due to the oil price spike  after 1973, a consequence of globalism.  However, even with the oil price spike, unemployment in Britain never went much above 1 million until Thatcher arrived and wilfully destroyed our heavy and extractive industries.
During the period 1945-1979, Britain did not suffer a serious sustained recession. From 1979 onwards, under the Thatcherite ideology we have had three serious recessions: in the early 1980s, the early 1990s and the present recession.
To our post-war experience I would add the fact that England  built her commerce then the first Industrial Revolution behind very restrictive protectionist measures such as the Navigation Acts.  RH

 

Robert Henderson 20 4 2012

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“Free markets and “free trade” =  elite propaganda”

Robert Henderson

1. Unquestioned ideas

2. The “Free Market” is a state regulated market

3. The “free market” as its proponents conceive it

4. How effective is anti-monopoly legislation?

5. Microsoft and Windows – a natural monopoly

6. The historical trend towards contraction of competition

7. “Free trade”

8. Has “free trade” ever been practised?

9. “Free trade” today

10. Does “free trade” deliver? The lessons of economic history

11. Is society materially enriched by “free markets” and “free trade?

12. What is meant by material enrichment?

13. How the market fails to provide what the customer wants

14. Relative poverty and wealth and happiness

15. Man does not live by bread alone

16. Geopolitics

17. The democratic deficit

18. Does “free trade” increase competition and choice in the long run?

19. The reality of our economic circumstances

20. Why elites are so keen on “free markets” and “free trade”

21. A sane alternative to globalism

22. Free trade as a religion

23. An elite ideology

 

1. Unquestioned ideas

Because they have the word free in them, the terms “Free markets” and “free trade” have seduced those of all political colours to treat them uncritically as ideas. They are considered good or bad but their intellectual coherence is rarely questioned.

Neo-liberals believe in a childlike quasi-religious fashion in the workings of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, which, moved by enlightened self-interest, supposedly creates the best of all possible material worlds through the operation of the market. Socialists see “free markets” and “free trade” as economic “state of natures” which must be ameliorated by the state before a civilised society can be realised. Conservatives in the traditional sense no longer exist as a recognisable political force in the West, but when they did exist they opposed “free markets” and “free trade” primarily on the grounds of national security and the general disruption to society that they caused. Nationalists of the fascistic kind have traditionally opposed the ideas because they see the nation as a single organism which can only be strong if it is master of its own destiny, something which can only be achieved (they believe) through state direction of both the internal  market and of external trade.

There are varying quantities of truth in all these ideological responses, but their utility is seriously tainted by the lack of any  objective or even properly defined and permanent prescriptive truth in the concepts of “free markets” or “free trade”. The reality of these ideas is that they are arbitrary chosen bundles of behaviours which  are excluded or included at the will of their proponents. Moreover, the bundles of behaviours are not static.

The widespread negligence in examining the coherence of these ideas is all the more remarkable because their incoherence as theories and the arbitrary and dishonest nature of their practical realisation is not only readily apparent but fundamentally undermining of the claims made for them by their champions.

2. The “Free Market” is a state regulated market

There is a splendid irony in the objection of the self-defined “free marketeers'” and “free traders” to state intervention for the natural end of a truly free market is monopoly – or at least greatly reduced competition resulting in oligopoly and the rule of cartels. All so-called “free market” societies recognise this by passing anti-monopoly laws. The “free market” is in fact a market controlled by the state in the most fundamental way, that is, to prevent its natural workings. It is one of the great propaganda triumphs of history that “free markets” have been successfully sold as being what happens naturally without state intervention. Call a spade a spade and substitute the truthful “state regulated non-monopolistic market” for “free market” and the psychological shape of the idea changes dramatically.  (Some casuistical “free marketeers”might argue that the “free” in free market applies to the workings of the market rather than the market as a natural phenomenon. That explanation falls because “free marketeers” invariably make the blanket claim that markets only work efficiently without government interference. Their honest position would be to state that they want state regulated markets to prevent monopoly. They will not do that because it would be an acknowledgement that state regulation of the market is legitimate and hence remove any general argument against regulation. That in turn would mean any form of state regulation would be potentially reasonable and consequently each form of regulation would have to be argued down individually on the merits of the case, rather than simply empty-headedly dismissed on the grounds of no regulation = good; regulation = bad.

The state regulated “Free Market” is not even a natural phenomenon made somewhat artificial by rules to exaggerate the natural phenomenon in the same way that we breed animals to exaggerate nature. Rather it is just about as far from being a natural phenomenon as anything can be for it goes against all Man’s inclinations, both individual and social.

Economic history is overwhelmingly a catalogue of market regulation, local and national, from guilds to governments. It would be surprising if it were not because human beings, like all other organisms, naturally behave to secure their own advantage or that of their group. Extended to the nation state, this natural behaviour has commonly resulted in domestic markets being protected against foreign competition. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is another matter – a question I shall deal with later – all I am concerned to do at this point is to nail down that the fact that protectionist behaviour is what is natural.

Historically, whether you were anything from a rich merchant to a poor day labourer  it was obviously not in your personal interest to allow others free access to your markets to offer the goods or services at a lower price or to work for lower wages. The merchant might be driven to bankruptcy by competition, the labourer from his job.  History also tells us that whatever their previous economic station, such people will probably not be able to find equivalent or better paid employment and often may not be able to find any employment at all where structural unemployment arises. What was historically true not only remains true today, but its effect is much magnified because the opportunities for competition are greatly increased by modern communications and the ease of travel and cargo transportation.

Of course, any individual or sectional advantage causes strains in a society and if the material privilege of any person or group becomes excessive, sooner or later there will be a successful revolt and the wealth in a society will either be shared more fairly through a change in the way the society is structured, for example, through the abolition of tolls, the ending of state monopolies or even through a removal of the rich as a class without any increase in the wealth of the majority.

But wherever wealth distribution through social change has occurred it has normally been done with the express intention of benefiting a particular group or even an individual in the case of monarchs. The odd thing about “free marketeers” is that what they ostensibly advocate is not to privilege any particular individual or group but to benefit society as a whole. Whether free markets do so is another matter, but that is their claim.

The “free marketeer” says to a population, do what I say and in time society will become richer. He does not say this person or that group will become richer or even all will become richer, but merely that the society as a whole will become richer. This is an extraordinary thing to ask people to trust in. It is also the most wonderful blank cheque ever written to a politician because not only does it absolve him or her of any need to take the responsibility for regulating the economy, it also means that he or she can never be held to account for dishonesty by any individual if that individual is personally worse off. All a “free marketeer” politician has ever claimed is that his economic way will make society richer. Provided society overall is richer, he has met his met his promise.

It is also telling for their intellectual credibility and honesty that “free marketeers” will oppose government interference in such matters as subsidies, quotas, embargoes, wage rates and working hours and grumble about tax rates and public expenditure, but are generally quite happy to see other gross distortions of the market deriving from government action. They not only tolerate patents, copyright and trademarks, but often defend them as property in themselves and as devices which actually improve economic performance because they encourage invention, investment and expansion. In addition, those who constantly bleat about Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” sorting out the business wheat from the chaff insist that limited liability is necessary. This of course is also a violent interference with the market because it means that the individual shareholder never takes full responsibility for their investment. (It is worth noting that the British industrial revolution – the one and only bootstrapped industrial revolution – took place before limited liability became legally possible (Limited Companies Act 1862) and at a time when patent rights were insecure and in practice limited to the domestic British market.)

It is true that none of these things are actually part of what the concept of a “free market” is and that they are inimical to such a market, but the fact that almost all modern “free marketeers” have tacitly incorporated them into their vision of what a “free market” is demonstrates their intellectual confusion (or dishonesty if you prefer).

3. The “free market” as its proponents conceive it

Let us put aside for the moment the fact that “free markets” are state regulated markets and ask the question what is a “free market” as it is conceived by “free marketeers”? A jolly good question. Even if market distortions which appear acceptable to “free marketeers” such as patents and limited liability did not exist, that would leave many other things which prevent unfettered domestic competition. In an advanced modern economy these include:

Taxes

Non tax fiscal measures, for example, control of interest rates

The state of the currency

Exchange controls

Overall Government expenditure

State Subsidies

Industry and trading standards, official and otherwise

Public sector employment

Transport costs

Public ownership

Defence

Direct and indirect Government intervention

Copyright, trademarks and patents

The moral and social climate, for example, a tradition of wWelfare or the feeling of the

people, for example, the national feeling of Japanese Practical cultural barriers

such as the difficulty of a language

Dumping

Transport costs

Working hours

Trading laws

Labour laws

Wage rates

Bureaucratic differences

Company laws – particularly the attitude towards foreign ownership

Banking laws

Banking system

Social policy – welfare, health and so on

Physical infrastructure

Honesty of public servants

Foreign policy

National strategic considerations

Education – The amount spent, school leaving age, curriculum,

Limited Liability

Environmental laws

Some of these things such as subsidies, patents, quotas and limited liability could be obviously and legitimately ruled out of order by a “free marketeer” because they are deliberate state interferences with competition, but what of items such as the provision by the state of education or the physical infrastructure of a country? They are undeniably distortions of competition at some level, but they are not deliberate attempts by the state to distort competition. A purist “free marketeer” could just about say such things were no business of the state and still be intellectually coherent because it is possible to conceive of a society without such state provision. But however purist they might be, sooner or later the “free marketeer” will run into features which undeniably restrict competition but which must exist simply because they are an inescapable part of society. The most obvious is tax.

Any modern state needs a large tax revenue to sustain itself, the only questions to determine being how large should be the revenue and what  it should be spent on? Some things such as defence and policing are inescapable expenditures for any state, although even there the amounts to be spent are debatable and elastic. Items such as education and welfare are more subject to variable expenditure. Nonetheless, substantial amounts are as a matter of contingent fact invariably spent on such items by all advanced states. Such countries also engage to a lesser or greater degree in all the forms of regulation listed above.

In theory, and even more in practice, the notion of a “free market” seems to rest on little more than anti-monopoly laws, wages and prices set by the market (although in practice this does not happen purely through the market because of welfare provision, tax regimes etc) and a lack (or at least a minimum) of state interference in such areas as health and safety, employment law and company law.

The inclusion of these narrow criteria are merely a subjective choice made from a much larger menu of man-made distortions of the market. Consequently, there is no objective coherence to the concept of the “free market” as it is conceived by the “free marketeers”. It is an arbitrary ideology based on subjective choice.

4. How effective is anti-monopoly legislation?

Anti-monopoly laws operate within the constraints of the type of social and economic circumstances described above. That alone means they are severely limited in what they can do. They must, for example, tolerate state granted monopolies in the form of patents and copyright.

Anti-monopoly legislation generally only effectively attacks the problem from one end. A company can be prevented from growing its market share by taking over other companies but there is normally no meaningful restriction on a company growing its market share simply by expanding the existing company. Microsoft and the domination of Windows is a classic example.

Where companies try to expand by takeover, experience shows that those charged with applying the legislation allow very large parts of a market – 25% or more – to be held by a single company. The consequence is that a market which would seem to be an obvious candidate for competition, for example, food and domestic supplies retailing, can easily come to be dominated by three or four major players (as is the case in Britain).

There are also those products which are either natural monopolies because of the physical location of their infrastructure – railways, roads, the utilities such as gas – or which are inevitably going to have few entrants in the field because of reasons of cost, for example, aerospace, motor cars, ship building.

Finally, there are those rare markets which are dominated by one company simply because of the nature of their business. The classic example of this is Microsoft and their Windows operating system.

5. Microsoft and Windows – a natural monopoly

In South Park: The Movie, there is a glorious scene where, under martial law, Bill Gates is executed for falsely promising that Windows 98 would be “faster, easier to use and more reliable”. Many long-suffering Windows users doubtless wish that life had imitated art in that instance. Yet despite widespread dissatisfaction Windows remains the overwhelming dominant operating system.

At first glance it might seem that operating systems should be just the type of product which is open to fierce competition because software is a market which potentially has low entry costs. It is true that most areas of programming are competitive – within the constraint of the dominant operating system (OS) – but operating systems are the odd man out. The reason is simple. Once a single OS gained dominance, the chances of any other system effectively competing were very small. This is because the weight of programs available to run under the dominant OS soon became much greater than those which could be run under any other OS. Thus, it becomes inefficient to choose any other OS. That in turn means most of the software is written in a way to make in “friendly” to the dominant OS systems’ users. This further excludes OS competitors and the software to run under them because users, especially employers, do not want to spend the time training their employees on completely new systems, converting data  and so on.

The consequence is that Microsoft still has a stranglehold on the pc market. Moreover, if anyone wants to write any other software, they are constrained by the practical need for it to run under the Microsoft OS if they wish to reach the mass computer user market.

The near monopoly has lasted a long time. It has done this despite considerable attempts by both rivals and the US government to diminish their market position. Windows’ dominance looks secure for the foreseeable future.

 6. The historical trend towards contraction of competition

As remarked previously, the logical end of a free market is monopoly. The reason is obvious: competition tends to reduce the number of competitors through the natural process of success and failure and the takeover of one firm by another. In some trades this does not create an obvious serious anti-competitive difficulty because the initial capital investment is small and entry to the trade within the reach of many. But entry to a considerable and growing number of areas of manufacturing and service provision is too expensive for all but a few.

In a significant minority of trades starting a business from scratch is practically impossible for any one individual or even a group of private investors. The car industry is a first rate example, the number of companies now being small (and becoming smaller) compared with the number of even 40 years ago. Moreover, many of the car companies which do still exist do so only because of state subsidy and protection.

7. “Free trade”

“Free trade” is frequently treated as synonymous with international trade. In principle it does not have to be restricted to international dealings because the concept may be applied to any market, whether that be within a global, regional, national or even a local context. The United States for example displays considerable differences in local tax rates between not only states but within localities within a state, and, indeed, the ultimate aim of the “free trader” is to create a single world market. However, there are considerable differences in practice between domestic markets and international markets, not least because the criteria which are deemed to fall within the concept of “free trade” are not identical with those which are said to be a necessary part of the concept of a “free market”, for example, laws to prevent monopoly are redundant when it comes to international trade because one country will either supply or not supply goods and services to other countries and a country with a monopoly of an important good or service can as a matter of fact only be persuaded to supply the good or service against its will by extra-legal action, ultimately force or the threat of force. Consequently, it is convenient to treat “free trade” as being economic intercourse between nation states and that is what I shall do.

What does and does not constitute “free” international trading? In times gone by, people would have pointed to those honest workhorses of restriction: embargoes, quotas and tariffs and navigation laws and not much else. But in the modern world things are much more complicated as we discover almost daily during the seemingly interminable EU squabbling and the GATT rounds.

Some things are obviously incompatible with “free trade” such as embargoes or state subsidies, but what of different tax regimes, welfare provision or labour regulations? Why should they be excluded from the things which should not be tolerated in a “free trade” regime? After all, a low company tax regime could be regarded as a form of state subsidy to business and all welfare provision could be regarded as a subsidy to wages.

But even such items are straightforward compared to others. What of national sentiment which gives a preference to home produced goods regardless of whether they represent the best value when judged purely by price and quality? Should a country be forced to take the cheapest of  any particular equivalent good or service, regardless of the wishes of the  people of that country, on the grounds that not to purchase that which  gave “best value” constituted “unfair competition”? A reductio ad absurdum? Well, consider the fact that public bodies within the EU (which for these purposes includes any organisation drawing part of their income from public funds) must allow any company within the EU to bid for any work put out to contract, and if the lowest bid is not accepted, the public body risks being fined for a breach of the Single Market rules.

Even more problematic are things which are simply effects of economic activity. Take true dumping, not the state subsidized export regimes which often pass for such, but a simple economic practice to maximise profit.

True dumping works like this. Imagine that a company can make 2,000 units a week. It covers its costs for all 2,000 units if each week it produces and sells 1,000 units at œ1 each. The company finds it can sell a maximum of 1,500 units in the home market at œ1. If it reduces the unit price to 75 pence it could sell all 2,000 but that would only produce the same amount of revenue as selling 1,500 at £1 each.

Consequently, it sells 1,500 in the domestic market at £1 each and the other 500 at 50 pence each (carriage paid by buyer) in foreign markets. Total sales are £1,750 instead of  £1,500.

That is a very simple model of dumping but something akin to it happens regularly with differential pricing from country to country (the European car market is a prime example of this). No state subsidy has been given, no state intervention of any sort has occurred. Why should it not be considered as reasonable a practice as the toleration of different national wage rates? In fact, why should it not be considered more reasonable because wage rates are directly linked to such hidden subsidies as those of welfare and low company taxation? (in fairness, the economic activity of the dumper would also be linked to wage and tax subsidies, but the connection would be more remote.)

Most contentious perhaps is the question of immigration. Does “free trade” require the movement of people as freely as goods and services? This is generally accepted as self-evident by purist “free traders”. Yet there is no logic to the claim. Economic forms are made for men not men for economic forms. We know as a matter of practical experience it is possible to have the exchange of goods and services without the mass movement of people. If a society decides that the benefit gained from the free movement of people is outweighed by the social disruption caused by such migration, it is a perfectly rational decision. A people may decide that they will have or not have free exchange or movement just as they may decide to have this or that level of taxation or welfare provision. It makes no more sense to say a society which restricts immigration – which all advanced states in practice do – is not a “free trader” than to say they are not a “free trader” because their income tax rate is higher or lower than that of their competitors.

The treatment of human labour as merely a factor of production (along with land and capital) is also incompatible with the liberal democratic tenets of the equal worth of each person and the rights and obligations of citizens. Allowing mass immigration to reduce wages or the exporting of jobs to cheaper labour overseas is treating human beings as being of no more account than inanimate objects. It is inhuman.

So what does “free trade” actually mean? Does it require merely that countries may trade with one another without any formal barriers such as tariffs and quotas? Or should it take into account all those items such as national tax regimes, non-tax fiscal measures, wage rates (where these are set by the state), standards of practice and manufacture (official and otherwise), and the size of the public sector. All of these are controllable either entirely or to some degree by men. In other words, they could be removed or altered.

If a definition of “free trade” is accepted which includes these and other non-traditional elements of market distortion, the ultimate logic of the definition is that “free trade” as a global concept cannot exist until all peoples and countries are reduced or elevated to the same general economic condition.

Those who run the European Union would say that is precisely what is required, at least within the EU. But the experience of trying to create unified trading conditions at a supranational level in the most advanced of supranational political and economic entities, demonstrates just how difficult it is to create a supranational market in which there is a broad uniformity in the trading conditions within its constituent national parts. Despite nearly half a century of trying through treaty after treaty and the covering of the EU members with an avalanche of EU directives, there is no meaningful economic uniformity within the EU, either in the circumstances of private enterprise competition or in the function of the state. The introduction of the Euro has painfully revealed exactly how disparate the economies of even the richer EU states still are with Germany needing low interest rates to re-inflate and Italy requiring high rates to control public spending and the European Central Bank paralysed by their inability to square such an economic circle.

The Holy Grail of “free traders” is comparative advantage. This is a first rate example of a neat and emotionally satisfying (to a certain type of mind) intellectual idea which bears little relation to reality. The idea is that every country concentrates on making what it is best at and the overall global product rises because of increased efficiency. Even in theory this is rather dubious because it ignores every other aspect of society than a narrow view of economic relationships and assumes tacitly that a comparative advantage will last. David Landes in his The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (Little, Brown and Co 1998) cites the instance of the Englishman John Borrow, who in 1840 urged the states of the German Zollverin to concentrate on growing wheat, and sell it to buy British manufactures and comments: “This was a sublime example of economic good sense: but Germany would have been the poorer for it. Today’s comparative advantage…may not be tomorrow’s.”

The truth is that any definition of “free trade” is as subjective as that of a “free market”. It has no natural boundaries because the implications of both ultimately embrace the whole of human material endeavour and there are no true natural variables on which to base a definition – even those which might at first glance appear to be objectively and naturally set, such as wages and prices, are determined by matters other than the market, for example tax regimes and welfare provision.

8. Has “free trade” ever been practised?

Between 1860 and 1914 Britain operated the best approximation to “free-trade” the world has seen. In the period 1840-1870 not only did she by degrees open her markets to all regardless of whether other countries reciprocated, but the size of the British state was so tiny that the distortions of government expenditure and taxation were minuscule compared with the present day. But achieving the best approximation to “free trade” was not difficult to achieve because no other country of any size has ever seriously attempted it for any length of time.

For a quarter or a century or so, Britain got away with the ill-effects of being a reckless “free trader” whilst other major countries remained protectionist to varying degrees. She escaped the consequences for three prime reasons: Britain’s industrial dominance, long distance transport of bulk goods remained cumbersome and expensive and the fact that America and Europe were strangely slow to follow Britain’s example and industrialise.

That all changed in the 1870s. Bulk transport was becoming much easier and cheaper. Railways – ironically more often than not built with British capital and technical expertise – had begun to have a considerable influence on the continent and in America and were beginning to snake across Australia and South America. Perhaps most importantly the age of the practical steamship and refrigeration arrived. Manufactured goods, food and raw materials could now move around the world in volumes which dwarfed anything which had gone before. British farmers were especially badly hit when the Americas and Australasia flooded the British market with food and wool.

To these developments, and arguably in part as a consequence of them, there was a widespread retreat into a deep protectionism in the 1870s, most notably by the USA and Germany. Britain failed to respond to these developments by guarding her own markets.

The period of 1870-1914 saw the predictable results of Britain’s quixotic refusal to guard her markets when all about her were assiduously doing so: she lost her general industrial predominance, well nigh destroyed her farmers and failed to dominate vital new industries, such as the chemical, which at one time she had led – Britain produced the first synthetic dye (Perkin 1856) and the first synthetic plastic (Parkes 1855). Two of the most enthusiastic protectionists, the USA and Germany, became the first to exceed Britain’s GDP.

Bismarck summed up what had happened in a speech in 1882 when he said: “I believe the whole theory of free trade to be wrong…England abolished protection after she had benefited from it to the fullest extent. That country used to have the strongest protective tariffs until it became so powerful under their protection that it could step out of those barriers like a gigantic athlete and challenge the world. Free trade is the weapon of the strongest nation, and England has become the strongest nation in the world owing to her capital, her iron, her coal, and her harbours and owing to her favourable geographical position. Nevertheless, she protected herself against foreign  competition with her exorbitant protective tariffs until her industries  became so powerful.”

But even the “free-trade” Britain practised was far from complete. Government contracts were generally given to British companies. Ditto municipal contracts. Moreover, there was a strong sense of patriotism in the country which, as with the present day Japanese, mitigated the effects of free-trade. Nor, of course, was there a WTO, EU or any other body to question and interfere with the internal economic workings of Britain such as taxation, interest rates or working conditions.

British “free trade” was further complicated by the existence of the Empire and a widespread imperial sentiment which created the opportunity and the desire to trade with members of the Empire rather than the rest of the world. It does not do to over-egg the effects of this because British trade with the world outside the Empire, especially the USA, always remained strong, but it undoubtedly significantly distorted British trade.

9. “Free trade” today

If “free trade” was a gigantic gamble for an industrially, commercially and politically dominant Britain in 1850, it is vastly riskier for any country now. Transport even after the arrival of railways and the steamship was still expensive, slow and cumbersome compared with now. The electric telegraph was the height of sophistication. Most parts of the world could not engage in international trade on their own terms because they were colonies, under the practical control of foreign powers or unindustrialised.

Today physical transport is fast and cheap. In place of the telegraph, we have the internet. Many countries have industrialised. The age of formal empires is over.

But there is more than political and technological change which makes a difference between our own time and the last outbreak of “free trade” mania. The “free trade” being advocated now is doctrinaire to the point of idiocy, namely the god of comparative advantage (the idea that each nation should concentrate on those products which are most profitable and forget the rest) is to be applied to everything, even (in the EU) to all public contracts, including those for weaponry. Childishly doctrinaire as they were as they played with their untried intellectual toy, even the most extreme “free traders” in the 1830s and 1840s saw that some parts of the economy could not be reasonably opened to competition for strategic reasons, military supplies being the prime case.

Let us suppose that we had a perfect “free trade” world now, a world in which there were no tariffs or quotas or embargoes or “standards” to meet; that all the artificial restraints on trade were removed; that no government subsidized productive employment in any way and all that remained to differentiate countries were market decided labour rates, carriage costs and the cost of nonproductive public works such as justice and the army. What then?

The consequences would be extremely dangerous for the West. Farmers in the First World would be on their knees and mass production of virtually anything in general demand would quickly become impossible because whatever a company’s efficiency, it simply would not be able to compete with labour which was a tenth or less of the cost of its own native workforce. All such countries could do is try to make high-value goods,

Even if the redundant working populations of the First World could find alternative employment, which is dubious, their countries would be left utterly at the mercy of those who now produced their food and most of the manufactured goods they consumed.

10. Does “free trade” deliver? The lessons of economic history

Free traders base their case primarily on the increase in prosperity which they believe will only come through increased global trade. The general answer to that claim is that Man does not live by bread alone. Moreover, even if there is a general rise in the global product at present, it does not necessarily follow that the same or better result could not be achieved by other means. The experience of all industrialised countries to date is that industrialisation is best achieved – perhaps can only be achieved by protecting the national economy. Indeed, there is a powerful logic in the idea that developing nations today require protection more than the early industrialising states because the early industrialising nations had little competition.

But even if it could be shown indubitably that the global product is increased more by “free trade” than by protection, it does not follow that it is in a particular country’s interest to adopt free trade. Consider the position in a national market which operates “free trade” within that market, but protects its trade and industry from foreign competition. Companies go bust if they do not compete. But successful companies take their place and continue to provide employment at broadly similar rates of pay. The logic of global “free trade” is that countries which cannot compete will go bust and not be replaced by others in the domestic market. There will be no replacement jobs within the bankrupt country because the successful competitor is abroad.

The most lethal ammunition to discharge at “free traders” is the fact that no country in the history of the world has industrialised successfully without very strong protectionist measures being in place. That includes the first industrial nation, Britain, which spent a couple of cosy centuries behind the Navigation Acts, the first of which was passed in 1651, before becoming a free trader. Not only that, but Britain only adopted “free trade” principles after she had become heavily industrialised and did so at a time when the country was still the dominant industrial power in the world by a long chalk and her exports were more or less guaranteed to sell in foreign markets.

Before Britain dropped her old colonial protectionist system in the mid 19th Century, she had industrialised in the modern sense from scratch and expanded her GDP massively. Perhaps most impressively she had managed to continue to largely feed herself without the price of corn going sky high, despite the fact that the UK population almost doubled between 1801 (the first Census) and the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.

As described above, Britain’s experience during her most committed “free trading” period was one of declining market share and commercial and industrial dominance while rigid protectionists such as Germany and the USA experienced massive growth. Of course, Britain could not hope to remain so dominant but her decline was remarkably rapid. In 1870 Britain was the richest country by GDP in the world: by 1914 both Germany and the USA had larger GDPs. Moreover, by religiously adopting open markets, for capital as well as goods and services, Britain seriously distorted her economy. Vast capital exports resulted in underinvestment in Britain and foreigners manufacturers and traders took full advantage of Britain’s open doors. The result was that by the Great War in 1914 her farmers were on their knees and modern industries such as the chemical and pharmaceutical were sadly undeveloped because of foreign competition (this distortion of the economy was soon to be a great national embarrassment during wartime when many industries were found to be inadequate to replace imported goods).

Here is a German voice from 1913: “By its free trade policy England has been more useful to us than its numerous political machinations have been harmful to us. Where would our sugar industry – one of the first items to help us in our economical rise – have been today, or our textile and iron industries, had it not been for the free markets of England? Nowhere: we should have been entirely without our new German capital, our financial resources. On the back of free trade England we grasped at and secured our economical world-power….Industrial and political supremacy go together. Warships are machines, and the nation which succeeds in attracting the centre of capital is the nation that can afford to build most. The present rulers of England represent the fourth generation of dictators to the world. It will not be easy for them to give up the role of ‘primus inter pares'”. (Prof von Schulze-Gaevernitz quoted – p347 -in The fall of protection 1840-50 by Bernard Holland)

Britain limped on with “free trade” after the Great War until 1931 when the secular religion was abjured, at least temporarily, during the Great Depression. Although unemployment remained high by historical British standards until WW2, the British economy behind protectionist barriers recovered quickly compared with most of the rest of the world. Most interestingly, the newer high-tec industries such as the motor, chemical and electrical recovered and grew fastest following their protection.

From 1945 to the mid eighties of the last century at least, Britain continued in an essentially protectionist system, as did the rest of the world. The world economy grew strongly during the period despite the protection. Even within the EU the “free market” mania did not really get under way until the Single European Act of 1985.

It is true that since protectionist barriers have come down over the past 20 years economic growth has been strong in the First World, but then it has been strong behind protectionist barriers and, indeed, with state direction of the domestic market. Germany under Hitler in the 1930s recovered amazingly quickly, despite the fact that the Nazis pursued an economic course which was probably as close to autarky as it is possible for a major modern state to bear. Imports and exports were regulated according to what was perceived to be necessary to make Germany strong through self-sufficiency. What Hitler did not do was attempt to run industry directly. Instead, the Nazis allowed private enterprise to run commerce and industry whilst directing what was produced and supplied.

All that tells us three things: that “free trade” is not necessary for rapid economic growth, that state regulation of the domestic market and international trade is not a recipe for disaster and that being a “free trader” when the rest of the world is not reciprocating is a mug’s game.

11. Is society materially enriched by “free markets” and “free trade?

This is an impossible question to answer categorically because there is no way knowing what would have happened if protectionism had remained full blooded throughout the last century and a half. One can compare growth rates under stronger or looser protection regimes, but they really say little because the other determining factors such as public expenditure have varied so greatly. These variables also blur judgement about the comparative merits of controlled and “free” domestic markets.

The most certain thing one can say from the economic experience of the developed world is that governments running commercial industries such as coal and steel directly is generally a mistake. (Governments are the natural suppliers of universal services such as healthcare only because private provision of such things is never adequate.)

What is certain is the fact that the material effects of “free trade” are far from uniform. It is no consolation to those who suffer along the way that others may benefit from their disadvantage. The next generation or the generation after that may be richer but why should their benefit be brought at the cost of disadvantaging a prior generation? Certainly no politician or political party standing at an election would dare to do so on a platform of “we shall make many of you poorer to make future generations richer.” Those living at any point in time have their own moral context and needs.

The constant economic turmoil caused by “free trade” and its inevitable concomitant, the supranational corporation, undeniably leads to  circumstances which greatly disadvantage large swathes of the population in the First World through the removal of First World jobs to the rest of the world. At worst, these people become the perpetual victims of structural unemployment (try getting a job in an area where the main employer closes and you have no scarce or easily transferable skills or you are middle-aged or, indeed, try opening a new business or becoming self-employed in a depressed economy): at best they are driven into ill-paid and uncertain employment.

 12. What is meant by material enrichment? Britain as a case study

The assumption is that the material conditions for most have improved considerably over the past two hundred years. Any economics textbook will plot economic improvement in terms of rising real wages. But those supposedly rising real wages are based on measures which are often questionable, incomplete or derived from very narrow data such as corn prices. Even modern measures such as the Retail Price Index (RPI) are not static, their content and weighting being regularly revised. Nor do such measures fully represent the true costs of necessities, the most notable distortion in Britain being the failure of the Retail Price Index (and its successor index the Consumer Price Index) to reflect housing costs fully. Any comparison between different times based on such measures needs to be treated with caution.

Of course no one in their right sense would question whether there has been massive material advance in the past two centuries. A more  interesting question in our context is whether most people are materially better off now than they were in 1960s, by which time a fully fledged welfare state was bedded in, housing, both owned and rented, was reasonably priced, social housing was being built in massive quantities, university education was not merely free but students subsidized with grants, unemployment was tiny and inflation low.

Today the welfare state is constantly under attack by the British political elite and in some areas such as NHS dentistry already seriously inadequate, while the state pension is much reduced as a fraction of the average wage following two decades of increases linked to the cost-of-living pegging rather than increases linked to the average national wage.

Housing of all sorts in most parts of the country is presently absurdly costly and social housing is greatly reduced through Right-To-Buy and minimal new building since the 1980s.

The cost of university education is rocketing and grants are a distant memory.

Unemployment remains high today (2005) even by the official figures –  approximately 950,000 by the claimant count and around 1.5 million by  the most widely used international measure – figures which most  probably severely understate the real unemployment level because it ignores the considerable disguised unemployment within the 2 to 3  million people currently on long term sick benefit payments (the 1980  figure for such people was 600,000). The increase in those staying on at school after the age of 16 and going on to university has also reduced the present figures by taking hundreds of thousands out of the jobs  market for years. From 1945 to the late seventies unemployment never rose above a million on the official claimant count and for most of the time was considerably lower even with little disguised unemployment and far fewer people staying in education after the school-leaving age (which was only 15 until the mid sixties).

There are other fundamental social changes which bear upon the material state of the nation. Many more people today have to travel long distances to work than they did forty or fifty years ago. That is costly both in terms of fares and time. More generally, it is increasingly difficult for someone on the average wage to support a family on that wage. That often means both parents have to work not from choice but necessity.

Taxation bears much more heavily on the poorer part of the population now than it did in the past. Direct taxation – income tax, national insurance, inheritance duty – applies to many more people now than it did in 1960, primarily because a failure to maintain personal allowances and tax bands at a reasonable level. Direct taxation is also broader in scope, for example VAT compared to purchase tax. Such taxation takes proportionately more of the income of the poor than the rich.

It is a moot point whether overall people are generally materially better off than they in 1960. They may own more trinkets such as TVs and computers and some imported goods such as clothes may be at least much cheaper, but those are small advantages to set against the great increase in housing costs and commuting fares and the diminishment in social provision. Doubtless a section of society has benefited, but it would be a brave man who wanted to argue that the condition of the vast  majority has improved, especially the poorest third of the population.

Many will read this with astonishment, saying but we have so much more today, dazzled as they are by the many new products. It is important not to confuse technological advance with “free markets” and “free trade” or general material wellbeing. People are undoubtedly better off in 2005 in terms of being able to purchase such things as cars or electronic goods then they were in 1960. But people in 1975 were also better off in those respects than those who had lived fifteen years before. That improvement was long before “free markets” and “free trade” had become the elite ideology. It is worth adding that new products often result in additional expenditure regardless of whether the individual really wants the product – any product which becomes widely used is difficult to resist. Technological innovations are particularly prone to induce reluctant purchases.

13. How the market fails to provide what the customer wants

There is no better modern example of the market failing to provide what the customer both needs and wants than the computer industry. If it was driven by the customer, the computer industry would produce hardware and software which was easy to install, had continuity of use, was simple to use and was supported by adequate help lines and manuals. The industry signally fails to do any of these things.

Hardware and software are of course purchased in ever greater volume and computer services, including maintenance, continue to swell. But that is not an indication of customer satisfaction. Rather, it is simply a reflection of how computers have become an inescapable part of our lives, not only as obvious computers but also in the guise of so many of the other machines we use – everything from phones to intelligent clothes. Business and public administration have become so dependent on their use that they cannot do without them. That being so, whatever is on offer, however unsatisfactory, is bought out of sheer necessity. The computer companies have the modern world over a barrel.

It might be objected that although most people cannot completely escape computers at their work, they do not have to bring them into their private lives. Yet increasing numbers buy computers for private use.

Why do they do that if the machines are so unreliable and demanding? Simple: once a significant minority have private computers and business uses them very widely, it becomes very difficult for the rest to resist,  not least because businesses and government increasingly require those dealing with them to do so by computer. But there are other pressures as well.

We have long passed the point where a handwritten document is likely to be read by most people in business unless it is an order or payment. Now, except between social contacts, everything must be word-processed to be acceptable. A word processor or access to one has become a sine qua non for anyone who wishes to be taken seriously. Even amongst private individuals a letter is increasingly seen as unusual or even quaint.

With emails, we have not come to the stage that telephone ownership reached a quarter of a century ago when not to have a phone became considered eccentric, but we are rapidly moving towards it.

Employers increasingly wish to contact employees by email wherever they are and this means the choice is often between having a computer and email at home or not having a job.

Those with school age children, whatever they think of computers, find it next to impossible to deny their children not only a computer but access to the internet, both because the children want it to match their peers and because they have been brainwashed into believing that a computer is essential.

In short, people are increasingly being driven to become computer owners and users not because they actively want to, but because they feel isolated and excluded if they remain computerless. Again, as with the analogy between telephones and emails, within the foreseeable future, someone without a computer is in danger of becoming in the eyes of the majority as much as an oddity as someone without a TV is now considered.

14. Relative poverty, wealth and power

Even if most people or even all people were in absolute terms better off as a consequence “free trade”, that does not mean that their general situation has improved in power terms.

Wealth is not merely an advantage for what it can directly buy but also for the power it brings. The poor are doubly disadvantaged by their poverty by their restricted ability to purchase what they want and their subordination to those who can purchase anything they desire. Consequently, the ordinary man or woman may well be happier and freer in a society which is materially poorer overall but which is less oppressive through the absence of great differences in wealth. Charles Darwin in the Voyage of the Beagle describes a port in South America which suffered an earthquake while the Beagle was there in harbour. The town attached to the port was virtually destroyed and its inhabitants were reduced at least temporarily to the same material level. Darwin noted the happiness, almost gaiety, of the population after this happened.

The example of Britain is instructive when it comes to relative wealth. Until the 1970s inequalities in wealth were narrowing. Despite all the puffing of the “trickle down” of wealth which supposedly results from Thatcherite “free market” practices, wealth distribution has not changed dramatically over the past quarter century of “free market” policies by successive British governments.

A Royal Commission (1976-79) on the distribution of income and wealth found that in 1976 the top 1 per cent of the population owned 25% of all personal wealth, the top ten percent raked in 60% and the bottom eighty per cent had a measly 23% (Penguin Dictionary of Sociology p72). The Inland Revenue figures for wealth distribution in 2002 are show the top 1 per cent own 23% of national wealth and the bottom fifty per cent of the population have a staggeringly small 6% (Office of National Statistics (ONS) website – published 2004). Those figures, eye-opening as they are, conceal the fact that wealth inequality in 2002 would be much greater than 1976 were it not for the increase in home ownership and the rise in house prices.

Another ONS report (2005) entitled “The long shadow of childhood” (TLSOC) based on research by the London School of Economics concludes that there has been remarkably little change in social mobility in Britain over the past 30 years. The study was based on census records between 1971 and 2001.

TLSOC also demonstrated how the social and economic status of children is very much tied to that of the parents. For example, more than two thirds of those with parents in professional or managerial jobs managed to take a degree: of those with semi-skilled/unskilled parents, 14 per cent had a degree.

15. Man does not live by bread alone

Even if the “free traders'” claims of an overall increase in the wealth of a society were true, there would still be strong arguments against the policy because a society is more than its crude economic relationships.

Human beings do not like too much uncertainty. A certain amount of stress is good for them, but only so much. Like masochists and physical pain, human beings are comfortable with stress only in so far as they feel it is within their control. Manifestly, for many people the uncertainty they experience is utterly outside their control. This widespread insecurity leads not merely to individual suffering but damages the social fabric by generally diminishing confidence in the future and the ability to cope in the here and now.

A 2005 study (Molly Watson Western Mail 31 9 2005) by a Cardiff University Department of Psychology team led by Prof Aylward Mansel suggests that the general level of happiness in the Depression was greater than it is now (the team analysed data from surveys of assessing happiness and contentment from the past 70 years.) This conclusion might seem absurd to most people living today who, if they have any conception of the Depression, it is one of a dire time packed with the most horrendous stress. Yet the findings of the report have a certain plausibility because in the 1930s there was undoubtedly a greater sense of social solidarity, especially amongst the working class, than there is now and civil society was far stronger then – the working class not only lived in close-knit communities which offered support to those who fell on hard times, but they were woven into supportive institutions such as the co-operative movement and unions. They were anything but socially isolated whereas today people are often isolated. Social involvement, the Cardiff University study found, was the single most important cause of happiness or unhappiness.

One must be cautious with such studies because however scrupulous the researchers a degree of subjectivity is inevitable. Nonetheless the equation of isolation with unhappiness will, I think, strike a strong chord with most.

There is also the question of a people’s self-confidence. If a nation’s visible and everyday manufactures are predominantly foreign, it tends to produce a sense of dependence in the individual. A man looks around and can find next to nothing he can identify as produced either in his own country or made by companies owned by his countrymen. Not unnaturally he begins to lose confidence in the ability of his own country to stand alone. Peoples throughout history have allowed themselves to be conquered simply because they believed themselves to be generally inferior to those who confronted them and slaves have been routinely controlled by owners who deliberately attempted to reinforce their sense of inferiority.

16. Geopolitics

Free trade is postulated on an absurdity, namely that the world will no longer see wars which will significantly disrupt trade, or at least the trade of the First World. It is a fool’s paradise.

Those with memories greater than that of a goldfish may recall the help and support Britain received from her supposed EU “partners” in the Falklands. Remember how France supplied military equipment in the form of missiles to the Argentine during that war. Imagine what would have happened if Britain at the time had relied largely on equipment which was either wholly or partly produced abroad. Suppose, for example, her main fighter aircraft had been produced by an EU consortium (as it soon will be), what guarantee could Britain have had of fresh supplies of spare parts and weapons during the Falklands war?

The dependence on foreign suppliers affects even the greatest states. The New York Times (29 Sept 2005 – “More US weapons have foreign roots”) documents the reliance of the US military on foreign suppliers. This is still small as a percentage of the whole defence budget but it is growing and already encompasses important areas such as bio-chemical warfare protective suits.

17. The democratic deficit

“Free trade” emasculates democracy. It does this by confining politics within narrow limits. The present “free trade” agreements mean that no political party can easily stand on a platform of extending state intervention, whether by nationalisation, trade restrictions such as embargoes or the subsidy of its own industries. A party which wished to do any of these things could of course propose to withdraw from the treaties, but that would be in practice a very difficult course to follow, especially where the treaty obligations go beyond mere trade such as those involved in membership of the European Union.

Loss of democratic control is obviously to the disadvantage of the masses. However, it also has implications for competition. The prevention of the formation of monopolies and cartels can be done at the national level, but it is impossible when companies become supranational. You offend against America’s anti-trust laws? No problem, you remove your manufacturing abroad to countries which are happy to have you (or at least their clients are) regardless of what arrangements you may have made with competitors or the any monopoly position.

18. Does “free trade” increase competition and choice in the long run?

In the industrialised world at least, the experience of less restricted trade since 1945 is that competition has reduced not merely in the capital intensive industries and occupations but in those which are not obvious. The numbers of farmers has greatly contracted, but so have the number of storekeepers as chain stores and supermarkets have overwhelmed the individual proprietor. In fact, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to find a mature field of economic activity, that is ,  one which has not sprung up since 1945, which has not displayed reduced competition within the post-war period.

Some of this reduction in competition is simply due to the working of the domestic market towards monopoly, for example, the growth of chain stores, but much of it is directly related to the removal of protection for First World economies.

It is true that large parts of the world have industrialised and increased the number of international competitors, but the overall number of businesses in the developed world has been reduced. multinationals control much of the economic activity of the Third World and, in some industries, dominate the national markets of the First World.

The car industry is a wonderful example of the squeezing of competition. All over the world car companies are being taken over by the giants and many car companies which do exist rely on state aid and favours. The number of companies now being small (and becoming smaller) compared with the number even 40 years ago. Moreover, many of the car companies which do still exist do so only because of state subsidy and protection.

Other traditionally important industries where competition is greatly reduced are aerospace, aviation, shipbuilding, oil, chemicals, steel and farming.

19. The reality of our economic circumstances

What we have does not even fall within the arbitrary and narrow definitions of “free markets” and “free trade” which most of their adherents espouse. States still protect their economies with state subsidies, favourable tax regimes, quotas and tariffs. Nonetheless, protectionist barriers have been reduced sufficiently to severely damage first world industries through products from the developing world with their absence of labour laws and wages many times less than those of developed economies.

First World economies have also exported vast numbers of jobs to the developing world. These range from manufacturing to skilled white collar work such many IT functions. The old middle-class belief that they were immune from the effects of globalisation has received a rude buffeting.

At the same time as jobs and industries have been exported, the industrialised world has increasingly allowed the purchase of native companies by foreigners. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this has been the complete transfer of London merchant banks to foreign ownership.

The fourth strand in the modern “free trade” web is immigration. Since 1945, with the exception of Japan, the First World has allowed through a mixture of design and neglect of border controls, vast numbers of immigrants into their territories, most of whom have been unskilled or low-skilled.

The primary consequences of the slowly evolving post war international economic regime have been two. The first has been the gradual growth of dependence on the imports of vital goods and services by the developed world and a loss of governmental control of companies within their borders, not least because any large multi-national can hold the threat of upping sticks to another country if a government does not play ball.

The second consequence has been the degradation of the economic circumstances of those whose jobs were most at threat from the internationalisation of trade. Those affected are mainly the poorer and less qualified workers and their dependents. They have found their opportunities for work much reduced and the pay and conditions for the suitable work which remains eroded by extra competition from both native workers chasing fewer jobs and immigrants competing for the same jobs.

Those whose jobs opportunities have been degraded have suffered a form of theft. Had mass immigration and the export of jobs been prevented, the wages for the jobs taken by immigrants would have been higher than they are when subjected to the additional competition of immigrant labour and the exported jobs would not have been exported, which in itself would have tightened the labour market. In societies of rising aspiration, this could result in jobs considered menial being better rewarded than those which enjoy high status under “free trade” circumstances. It might be necessary to pay a sewage worker as much as a doctor. Doubtless many would throw their hands up at this. But there is no logic to such a response, because in a society with a large private enterprise component a wage is simply a response to the value the market puts on a job. Unskilled workers may not earn as much as the average doctor or lawyer at present, but skilled tradesmen such as plumbers and builders often do.

20. Why elites are so keen on “free markets” and “free trade”

“I just think that a lot of modern corporate capitalists — the managerial class basically — has no loyalty to any country anymore, or any particular values other than the bottom line.” (Pat Buchanan quoted by Daniel Brandt in his article “Class Warfare” in issue 13 of Namebase Newsline -http//www.namebase.org/news13.html).

Buchanan is grasping a demon which he only dimly apprehends. What is happening is vastly more significant. We are presently witnessing the creation of an international class of plutocrats who care for nothing but their own class. They have the potential to form a true international aristocracy. If that happens, the imperfect democratic control the masses have been able to exert over their elites in the past century will end. The prime tool for the creation of such an international aristocracy is “free trade”.

There are parts of Western elites which are more or less reluctant to embrace “free markets” and “free trade”, but the general economic trend is clear: the internationalist, globalist creed is the dominant philosophy when it comes to trade and increasingly the idea of “free markets” in the domestic sphere is being accepted in practice if not in overt political policy.

Why have these elites moved from their previous socially oriented nationalism to internationalism? The answer to this question reveals the nature both of elites generally and the particular philosophy they currently support.

In most circumstances throughout history the wishes of the mass of a population have been of little or no account in any formal sense. The masses made their presence felt through rioting and social disturbance or as pawns in the service of elite members who wished to rebel. An elite took note only when they were frightened enough – the creation of a form of national public assistance by the Poor Law of 1601 is a classic example of such behaviour.

Eventually, representative government evolved to the point where the masses began to have a direct say in the political process through the vote. The elite as a group did not welcome this but felt it could not be resisted. It was not democracy to be sure but elective oligarchy, which was buttressed by elite constructed devices to exclude new entrants into the political process such as first past the post voting, election deposits and a very strong party system. Nonetheless, once the franchise was broadened the masses were able to exercise a large degree of democratic control because politics was still national and a political party had to respond to the electors’ wishes. The elite resented this control over their behaviour as all elites do and looked around for a way to diminish democratic influence. They found the means to do it through internationalism.

In a sovereign country elected politicians cannot readily say this or that cannot be done if it is practical to do whatever it is. That is a considerable block on elite misbehaviour. So elites decided that the way round this unfortunate fact was to commit to treaties which would remove the opportunity for the electorate to exercise control. The most notable example is the Treaty of Rome and the subsequent treaties which have tied Britain into the EU.

Vast swathes of policy are no longer within the control of the British Parliament because of these treaties. Add in the treaties tying Britain to the UN and the WTO and the commitment of every mainstream British party to them, and democratic control has essentially gone.

But internationalism is not simply a bureaucratic elite device to weaken democratic control, it is a sociological event in itself. An elite thinks of itself as a separate group, a group which may in some circumstances extend beyond national boundaries and jurisdictions. The medieval aristocracies of Western Europe thought themselves part of a chivalric whole. When Charles I of Egland was executed in 1649 the monarchs of Europe were horrified because they thought it would set an example for other royal killings.

The ruling elites in the First World today have a class interest which binds them more closely to one another than to the people they rule. Indeed, there is arguably a greater sense of international elite solidarity than ever before. This is because modern communications allow people, goods and ideas to move with an unmatched ease. Because of this the international class can constantly revitalise and extend their group solidarity.

The advantage to the elites of this culturally based international solidarity underwritten by many personal elite relationships across national boundaries, is that it allows them to weaken even further their dependence upon their immediate (native) populations, because not only does a particular national elite have a ready made excuse for not doing something – our treaty obligations will not permit it – but the personal relationships and the growing sense of class solidarity increases the confidence and hence the willingness of the various national elites to act ever more in the international elite class interest.

Indeed, the more they are together and the more they act together, the more natural it will seem.

It is important to understand that elites are not engaged as a group in a conscious conspiracy against the masses. What happens is that the psychological and sociological forces which press upon us all lead the elite to adopt policies which always lead to their retention of power. It is not difficult to see how this happens.

All human beings have a powerful ability to write a narrative in their heads which will persuade them that they act not from self-serving or disreputable reasons but honourable and socially useful ones. The consequence of this is that while individual members of an elite will consciously comprehend the likely effect of their ideology, the majority will simply accept their ideology at face value. This helps to bolster and stabilise the elite’s position because no elite ideology ever overtly states that the masses will be disadvantaged if the ideology is followed, and in the case of formal democracies, the ideology positively claims to materially better society as a whole. This will emotionally reassure most elite members, who will bolster their acceptance of the ideology through inter-elite conversations – if most or all those in a group are positive about something, that is most powerful social reinforcer.

21. A sane alternative to globalism

Economic history suggests that the most effective general strategy to promote economic development in a country is to allow competition within the domestic market (where it does not create serious social discord) whilst regulating international trade through protectionist measures sufficient to maintain the general capacity of a country to point where it can maintain itself in an emergency such as war or blockade and be sovereign in most circumstances.This would require the judicious use of embargoes, tariffs and quotas to ensure that all the vital industries remain as a presence in Britain.

A few industries should be in principle wholly supplied from the British market. These are defence equipment and the various energy sources. The reasons for defence equipment provision being domestic are simple: any foreign supplier can cease to supply goods for political reasons or simply be unable to produce the goods when wanted at all or in sufficient quantities.

Energy supplies should be domestic because if they fail the whole of society is brought to a halt. Self-sufficiency in energy in any advanced country could be achieved in the medium term by nuclear power supplemented perhaps by new sources of energy such as wave and current power and bio-fuels.

A country should also build up a stockpile of essential materials such as metals and the minerals used in the chemical industry. Five years national supply should be a minimum.

A country should be able to feed its population from its own production at a pinch. In Britain this is possible with modern crop yields and animal husbandry. Crop yields are considerably greater than they were even in WW2 and the opportunities for increasing the volume of animal products have multiplied greatly over the past 60 years, for example, in the massive development of poultry farming since 1945.

75% of the market in every other vital industry should be reserved for the domestic market. What is a “vital industry”? Try these for starters: metal (especially steel), chemical, biotech, computers, robotics, motor vehicles, shipping, aerospace, clothing, building, machine tools.

I would also reserve to domestic production at least 25% of the market for goods that are useful but not vital to provide a base for an expanded home production in times of emergency. Trade in wholeheartedly nonessential goods – Christmas trees, pogo sticks and suchlike – could be “free”.

I am not arguing for autarky. What I am advocating are trading circumstances which allow a nation to defend its national interests, particularly in time of war or international crisis. The measures I propose would produce self-sufficiency in food where necessary, the maintenance of the ability to manufacture a complete range industrial goods and most importantly the maintenance of an arms industry which can produce a full range of weapons necessary for the defence of the country.

Such a system would provide the security the state requires and permit very substantial international trade even in essential goods.

Obviously such a regime could not be followed in its entirety by most states. However, all could exist within those parts of it suited to their circumstances, for example, Britain could manage the entire regime, many third world countries could be self-sufficient in food.

22. “Free markets” and “free trade” as a religion

Free marketeers fancy themselves to be rational, calculating beasts. In reality, their adoration of the market is essentially religious. They believe that it will solve all economic ills, if not immediately, then in the medium to long term. Armed with this supposed objective truth, they proselytize about the moral evils and inefficiencies of public service and the wondrous efficiency and ethical outcomes of private enterprise regardless of the practical effects of their policies or the frequent misbehaviour of those in command of large private companies. Their approach is essentially that of the religious believer.

Like the majority of religious believers, “free marketeers and traders” are none too certain of the theology of their religion. (I am always struck by how many of them lack a grasp of even basic economic theory and are almost invariably wholly ignorant of economic history). They recite their economic catechism sublime in the concrete of their ignorance.

The religion has its roots in the first half of the 18th century when there were occasional attempts to suggest tariff reform, but the idea only became a serious political policy in the 1780s with the advent of Pitt the Younger as Prime Minister in 1784 who long toyed with “economical reform”.

The 18th century also provided the religion with its holy book, The Wealth of Nations by the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith. This strongly argued for “free markets” and “free trade”, but Smith also recognised the demands of national security, the need for government to engage in social provision such as road building and maintenance which would not otherwise be done and, must importantly, the nature of a society and its economy. Here is Smith on the Navigation Acts: “…the Act of Navigation by diminishing the number of buyers; and we are thus likely not only to buy foreign goods dearer, but to sell our own cheaper, than if there were a more perfect freedom of trade. As defence, however, is of much more importance than opulence, the Act of Navigation is, perhaps, the wisestof all the commercial regulations of England.” (Wealth of Nations Bk IV. ch ii)

But Smith and his book suffered the fate of all those who found religions, secular or otherwise. As the decades passed Smith’s cautious approach was redrawn in the minds of his disciples to become a surgically “clean” mechanical ideology in which all that mattered was the pursuit of profit and the growth of trade and industry through the application of the “holy edicts” of open markets and comparative dvantage. The disciples, like other religious believers, avidly quoted the passages from their holy book which suited their purposes and ignored those which did not. They also found a further holy text in homas Malthus’ Essay on Population of 1802, whose predictions, although unproven by events, could be used to demonstrate that economic expansion was vital if widespread starvation was not to occur.

The clinical, soulless and inhuman nature of the laissez faire idea as it evolved is exemplified by the English economist David Ricardo. Here is a flavour of his mindset: “Under a system of perfectly free commerce each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to both. The pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole. By stimulating industry, and by using most efficaciously the peculiar powers bestowed by nature, it distributes labour most economically, while increasing the general mass of the production it diffuses general benefits, and binds together by one common tie of interest and intercourse the universal society of nations”. (David Ricardo in The fall of protection p 174).

The Napoleonic wars largely foiled Pitt’s wish for broad reform and placed “free trade” in suspended animation as a serious political idea until the 1820s, when cautious attempts at tariff reform again were made. But underneath the political elite was a radical class who were very much enamoured of wholesale economical reform. With the Great Reform Act of 1832 they were given their opportunity to become part of the political elite. They took it with both hands, their most notable and extreme proponents being John Bright and Richard Cobden backed by the intellectual power of David Ricardo – all three became MPs.

Within a dozen years of the first election under the Great Reform Act’s passing, Parliament had been captured by the disciples of Adam Smith and the pass on protection had been sold by of all people a Tory prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, an action which kept the Tories from power for most of the next 40 years.

Such was their religious credulity that the “free traders” advocated not merely opening up Britain’s markets, both at home and in the colonies, to nations who would allow Britain equivalent access to their markets, they advocated opening up Britain’s markets regardless of how other nations acted. The consequence was, as we have seen, disastrous for Britain.

Disraeli in a speech on 1st February 1849 cruelly dissected this insanity:” There are some who say that foreigners will not give us their production for nothing, and that therefore we have no occasion to concern ourselves as to the means and modes of repayment. There is no doubt that foreigners will not give us their goods without exchange for them; but the question is what are the terms of exchange most beneficial for us to adopt. You may glut markets, but the only effect of your attempt to struggle against the hostile tariffs by opening your ports is that you exchange more of your own labour each year for a less quantity of foreign labour, that you render British labour less efficient, that you degrade British labour, diminish profits, and, therefor, must lower wages; while philosophical enquirers have shown that you will finally effect a change in the distribution of the precious metals that must be pernicious and may be fatal to this country. It is for these reasons that all practical men are impressed with a conviction that you should adopt reciprocity as the principle of your tariff – not merely from practical experience, but as an abstract truth. This was the principle of the commercial negations at Utrecht – which were followed by Mr Pitt in his commercial negotiations at Paris – and which were wisely adopted and applied by the Cabinet of Lord Liverpool, but which were deserted flagrantly and unwisely in 1846″. (The fall of Protection pp 337/8″).

Ironically, the “free traders” make the same general errors as Marxists. They believe that everything stems from economics. For the neo-liberal the market has the same pseudo-mystical significance that the dialectic has for the Mar ist. Just as the Marxist sees the dialectic working inexorably through history to an eventual state of communism (or a reversion to barbarism to be exact), so the neo-liberal believes that the market will solve any economic problem and most social ills. Neither ideology works because it ignores the realityof human nature and its sociological realisation.

The one track economic mentality of the early “free traders” is well represented by the father of J S Mill, James Mill:”The benefit which is derived from exchanging one commodity for another arises from the ncommodity received rather than the from the commodity given. When one country exchanges, or in other words, traffics with another, the whole of its advantage consists of the in the commodities imported. It benefits by the importation and by nothing else. A protecting duty which, if it acts at all, limits imports, must limit exports likewise, checking and restraining national industry, thus diminishing national wealth.” (The fall of protection p 174). And to Hell with any social or strategic consideration or changing economic circumstances.

After the Great War and the fall of “free trade” as public policy in 1931, the religion went underground for nearly fifty years. When it re-emerged as a political idea in the 1970s the politicians who fell under its spell were every bit as unquestioning and credulous as those of the 1840s. Tony Blair’ statement on Globalisation, ie, free trade, at the 2005 Labour Party Conference shows that it is alive and kicking today.

Scorning any attempt to discuss Globalisation, Blair said of those who wished to oppose it “You might as well debate whether autumn should follow summer”. (Daily Telegraph 1 10 2005.)

None of this would matter very much now if those who believe in “free markets” and “free trade” were without political power. Unfortunately, theirs is the elite ideology of the moment and the past 25 years. In Britain, the Tories may be more fanatical in their devotion to the market as panacea, but Blairite Labour have caught more than a mild dose of the disease. A good example of this is their response to house price hyperinflation where they desperately and futilely attempt remedies within the constraints of what they perceive to be “free market” disciplines rather than opting for the obvious state generated remedies such as restricting immigration, building a great deal of social housing and forcing developers to release land for building.

Both the traditional Left and Right have been duped by globalisation. The Left initially welcomed globalisation as a dissolver of national sovereignty, but they are discovering by the day just how restrictive international treaties and membership of supra national groups can be. As things stand, through our membership of the EU and the World Trade Organisation treaties, no British government could introduce new socialist measures because they cannot nationalise companies, protect their own commerce and industry or even ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent in Britain with British firms. A British government can have any economic system they like provided it is largely free trade, free enterprise.

The Right are suffering the same sickness with different symptoms. They find that they are no longer masters in their own house and cannot meaningfully appeal to traditional national interests because treaties make that impossible.

But there is a significant difference between the position of the two sides. The traditional Right have simply been usurped by neo-Liberals in blue clothes: the traditional Left have been betrayed by a confusion in their ideology which has allowed their main political vehicles to be surreptitiously by the likes of Blair.

The left have historically objected to “free-trade” on the grounds that it destroys jobs and reduces wages. But what they (and especially the British Left) have rarely if ever done is walk upon the other two necessary planks in the anti-“free trade” platform: the maintenance of (1) national sovereignty and (2) a sense of national cohesion. The consequence is that the Left has been and are still struggling with two competing and mutually exclusive ends: internationalism and the material improvement of the mass of the people.

23. An elite ideology

The best way of judging any political ideology is to ask cui bono? (who benefits?) The obvious answer in the case of “free markets” and “free trade” are those who believe (with good reason) that they nor their dependants will never be amongst those who will suffer the ill-effects of free trade. These people are and will continue to be overwhelmingly drawn from the middle and upper classes for the same reasons that such classes have always maintained their superiority, namely that such people will have inherited wealth, social connections and superior opportunities for education which are denied to the majority.

The new international elite is neither left nor right. Its ideology is simply designed to promote the interests of the elite. It has aspects of right and left, but they are merely the policies which allow the elite to both disguise their true intention and to give a pseudo-moral camouflage to their ends. They speak of the internationalist equivalent of “motherhood and apple pie” with exhortations to “end world poverty” and fund a “war on disease worldwide”. If I had to find a term to describe this elite I think I would settle for neo-Fascist because so much of what is proposed is reminiscent of fascism.

It is also telling that Western businessmen who ostensibly support the idea of the positive effects of competition arising from “free markets” and “free trade” never want it for themselves. They always happily grab a state subsidy or an embargo if it is to their advantage. None of the US airlines had any hesitation in grabbing billions of dollars from the Federal government after 911. Large companies publicly complain of government regulation while secretly welcoming it because they can bear the cost of it more easily than their smaller competitors. Multinationals shamelessly play one country off against another in their search for massive subsidies and other favours before they deign to operate in a country.

Countries play the same game, cheating wherever they can. And the more powerful the state the greater the cheating, both in terms of helping particular industries with direct state aid and in the formulation of the treaties governing world trade. Hence, the USA presents itself as the ultimate champion of free enterprise whilst being both now and throughout its history one of the greatest of protectionists and state subsidisers of its industries – that it is seen widely as an enterprise society is one of the great propaganda triumphs of history. Its behaviour after 911 is symptomatic of the unequal nature of modern “free trade”.

The US not only handed, as mentioned above, billions to its ailing private airlines, but put up protective tariffs to protect its steel produces.

It was ever thus. The two greatest names of the early Industrial Revolution, Josiah Wedgewood and Matthew Boulton, were happy to climb on the Enlightenment bandwagon with its beliefs in the universality of Mankind and advocate lesser tariffs and freer trade -until the proposed freeing threatened their own businesses.

What goes for businessmen goes for the individual worker. Who has ever met someone whose job was threatened by “free trade” speaking in favour of it?

Abe Lincoln’s used to put this question to pro-slavers who said slavery was a boon for the slave because they were provided for and were free of normal responsibilities: “What is this good thing that no one wants for himself?” An equivalent question should be put to the “free traders”.

The truth is simple: “free markets” and “free trade” are simply part of an elite ideology and like all elite ideologies they serve the purposes of the elite first, second and last. Those not of the elite who espouse it act merely as useful idiots to promote the interests of the elite.

Opposition to globalisation should not be a Left or Right issue. The socialist and the Conservative should both resist it because it removes the ability of the electorate to control those with power and the power of their political movements to realise their ends.

The Winter 2011 issue of the Quarterly Review is now available.

Editor Derek Turner: editor@quarterly-review.org
Deputy Editor Leslie Jones: lesliejones@quarterly-review.org

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CONTENTS

Editorial Derek Turner

Click here to read

The state of the States Peter B. Gemma reviews Pat Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower

Click here to read

Canadian candour on race and culture Robert Henderson reviews the Fraser Institute’s Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Living Standards and Society

Poles apart Mark Wegierski on the recent Polish elections

The charge of the light brigade Sonya Jay Porter on energy-efficient lightbulbs

Now for the tyrants in our heads Horatio Morpurgo on Western views of Islam

A dictionary for the future Michelle Berriedale-Johnson reviews David Fleming’s Lean Logic

The problem with unlimited kindness Patrick Keeney reviews David Stove’s What’s Wrong with Benevolence

Downward mobility Edward Dutton reviews Richard Lynn’s Dysgenics

The endless cycle of war Frank Ellis reviews David Stevenson’s With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918

A J P Taylor: genius or fool? Geoffrey Partington on the famous historian

Uncollected Folk Roy Kerridge on British children’s songs

Taki’s Universe Taki on ethnic parades

Orpheus rising Stoddard Martin reviews Ann Wroe’s Orpheus: The Song of Life

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Cult of beauty, blasted Leslie Jones on the Vorticists

Second Reading Svein Sellanraa on Jeppe of the Hill

Replay Mark Wegierski on Excalibur

POETRY

On an erstwhile editor, feminist Catharine Savage Brosman

Famous horse J. K. Murphy

Anger Niels Hav

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Sample article

Canadian candour on race and culture Robert Henderson reviews the Fraser Institute’s Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Living Standards and Society

Edited by Herbert Grubel  – a compilation of essays by  12 authors

Published by the Fraser Institute of Canada  in 2009 ISBN 978-0-88975-246-7

Massive numbers of immigrants who are either unable or unwilling to integrate with the society into which they come; cities increasingly dominated by ethnic and racial ghettos;  laws which grant immigrants rights which make it next to impossible to stop them entering the country or to deport  them once they are there;  employers greedy for cheap labour;  immigrants depressing wages and forcing up native unemployment; immigrants taking more out of the communal national pot in benefits than they put in through taxes;  a political elite which is  sold on the idea that immigration is an unalloyed good at a naïve best and a source of new voters  for parties which support mass immigration at  a venal worst; a bureaucracy which religiously carries out the politically correct  dictates of  the elite embraced  multicultural ethos ; the development of  an “immigration industry” comprised of vested interests such as lawyers, pressure groups, charities; public servants  appointed to act as what are effectively political commissars for multiculturalism; a mainstream media which ceaselessly propagandises on behalf of the wonder of multiculturalism and value of immigration whilst censoring any opposition;  a rabid state-inspired  suppression of  dissidence at any level by a mixture of  laws banning honest discussion of immigration and its consequences  and the engendering of a public culture which puts  anyone who voices anti-immigration views, however cautiously, at risk of losing  their job or political position and to  ostracism from their social circle  if they are judged to have committed a “crime” against multiculturalism.

Welcome to the Canadian experience of the joy of mass immigration. Sounds familiar? It certainly will to British ears, but the same could broadly  be said of any First World country for the globalist ideology has become the creed of elites throughout the First World.   This makes the book generally valuable as a primer on the dangers of mass immigration.  This utility is enhanced  by significant reference being made to immigration as it affects  the  USA, Britain and France.

There are of course differences of detail  between the Canadian and British experience.  Canadians   traditionally have seen themselves as a nation of immigrants whereas the British  have not and do not.  This means that  Canadians have, like Americans,  at least the residue of the sentimental  idea that immigration should be the natural order of things and  that it is somehow wrong to deny  to others what they or their ancestors enjoyed. The Canadian elite have taken this to extremes  according to   Stephen Gallagher of the Canadian International Council because “….more than any other country  Canada has bought into the  cosmopolitan logic that there can exist a ‘civic nationalism in the absence of any ethnic or cultural majority, shared roots or social coherence” (p188). His claim is borne out by the objective evidence of modern Canadian immigration policy and its consequences.

The problem with the “civic nationalism” mentality is it is one thing to have immigration consisting overwhelmingly of people who are broadly  similar in race and culture into the receiving society  – as happened throughout most of Canada’s history  -who  can  assimilate rapidly; quite another to import immigrants in large numbers  who are radically different in race and culture and either cannot or will not assimilate.  That is what has happened to Canada in recent decades.

Over the past quarter of a century  immigrants to Canada have come  overwhelmingly from Asia. The result is that at the last Canadian census  5 million  (16 per cent) out of the Canadian population of 16 million  were  “visible minorities” (p5).   The size of the overall population also counts hugely:  16 per cent of 33 million is considerably more concerning than 16 per cent of, say, Britain’s currently  estimated 62 million.

It might be thought that the geographical vastness of  Canada   would mean there is  not the same sense that the country is being  physically swamped as there is in a geographically small country such as Britain, but  Canada  is a very urbanised country with   25 million Canadians  living in towns or cities and most  immigrants  are concentrated  in a few places.   60 per cent of the  5 million “visible minorities”  live in the Metropolitan areas of Toronto and Vancouver (p5).  In Toronto  in 2001  those classified as  “English (Anglos ) “only  formed a majority in  in a quarter of metropolitan “census tracts” (p180).  The sense of conquest by stealth is as apparent in those particular places as it would be in London or Birmingham.

Reckless Canadian immigration  took off in the  1990s. In 1990 the annual limit was raised to 250,000 by  a Progressive Conservative government with the  Minister responsible, Barbara McDougal, arguing that this would help the party with the ethnic  minority vote, the clear implication being that a large portion of the additional immigrants would be black or Asian (p4). Since then  immigration has averaged nearly 1 per cent  of the population (p4. )Things worsened after the 2001 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was passed.  This  set selection criteria for immigrants without putting any limit on the numbers who could come in. As there were vastly more people who could meet the criteria than  Canada  could readily accommodate and there was no flexibility to adjust to changes in economic conditions generally or to  the Canadian labour market in particular, the system soon ran into trouble. A backlog of would-be immigrants waiting to be processed formed which is estimated to reach 1.5 million by 2012 (p7) to which did not include refugees who number is considerable.  Canadian asylum policy became so lax in the 1980s that over the past 25 years more than  700,000 asylum seekers were admitted (p14).  Canada has taken steps to amend the  Immigration Act,, but even if those are effective the existing backlog of 1.5 million will be processed under the old rules (p5).

All but one the most sacred cows of the pro-immigration, pro-multicultural lobby are precisely dissected before being put out of their misery.  Overall, immigrants  do not add to Canada’s per capita wealth (p104), not least because less than 20% of immigrants come in based on their work skills or training (p3);  cultural diversity does not equal an enhanced  society  but a divided one with an ever weakening national identity and  bringing in huge numbers of  young immigrants will not solve the problem of an ageing Canadian population – Robert Bannerjee and William Robson (chapter 7)  estimate that to even stabilise the  Old Age Dependency ratio – the ratio between those of working age  to those over retirement age – and those   from what it is at  present would take decades of annual  immigration amounting each year to 3% of the Canadian population (p142). The effect of that would be to effectively end any concept of a Canadian nation as it has been and still largely is.  It would be a classic case of  the transformation of quantity into quality.  A place called Canada might still exist but  he  existing Canadian nation would be no more.

The sacred cow which remains standing if more than a little nervous,  is the question of the incompatibility of races.  Nonetheless ,  some of the contributors (especially those in chapters 9-12)  come close to venturing onto this currently forbidden territory, for example :-

“..the analysis of Sammuel Huntingdon (2004), who argues that a nation is the function of the identity of its majority population  and in the United States this identity is rooted  in the original founding Anglo-Protestant  culture and a value system described as the American Creed.” (Stephen Gallagher P188).

“What guarantee do we have that diversity in itself is a desirable objective? At what point does diversity mutate into a form of colonisation? (James Bissett p6).

The book is also good at flagging up consequences which are not immediately obvious. For example, Marcel Merette  makes the important point that as higher skilled immigrants increase the differential in wages between the skilled and the unskilled shrinks  (p159). This discourages  Canadians from taking the trouble to acquire skills because the advantage of doing so would be lessened.

Nor is any change in the type of immigrants without ill consequences. For example, if immigrants are restricted to the young (which might be thought a god thing in an ageing society) that  disadvantages the native young because it means they face greater competition for jobs from the immigrants in their age group.

There is also the effect on the one long-standing substantial Canadian minority, the French-speaking  Quebeccers . They are increasingly finding their language and culture undermined both by the presence of immigrants who will not integrate and by  having to compete for attention and privileges from the majority population with the new minority groups.

Rather touchingly, Gordon Gibson (chapter 11)  imagines that the position is much healthier in Britain because there is at least growing public discussion here and  an organisation such as MigrationWatch UK  to ostensibly provide a  focus of concern about immigration (the  final  essay in the book is by the head of MigrationWatch UK  Sir Andrew Green).   But public debate can be not merely useless but positively harmful if it is controlled.

It is true that there is vastly more  public discussion in Britain now than there was under  the Blair Government when any many of immigration and its consequences brought squeals of “racism” from politicians, the left-liberal dominated media and any pressure group or individual  able to climb onto the “anti-racist” bandwagon.   But public discussion does not equal action and  despite Cameron’s  Coalition  Government’s rhetoric about cutting net immigration to Britain “from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands a year” , the  numbers remain much the same as under the Blair and Brown governments.

The extent of  the growing disquiet amongst Canadians is indicated by the very existence of the book.  The editor has brought together a  wide-ranging group of contributors:  economists, political scientists, think tank members and retired ambassadors. These are not the class of people who would  commonly be found  publicly expressing  concern  about immigration,  for they are by background part of the broad elite which has embraced the multiculturalist  ideal.  That they are willing to write pretty forthrightly about the dangers speaks volumes in itself.  The message it sends is that they are so worried by the observable effects of mass migration that they are willing to put their heads above the parapet  and risk, at the least, social, political and academic ostracisation.

The failure to address the question of race as a social separator is frustrating but understandable in the present politically correct circumstances, but it cannot be ignored forever. Those who say physical differences in race are unimportant and  that race is merely a social construct should reflect upon the fact that if there was no natural mechanism to stop humans of different physical types breeding as  freely together  as those of a similar physical type then there would be no broad physical groups which we call races . These group separations cannot be ascribed to humans evolving in separation from one another  because  throughout history there has been an immense amount of movement of peoples  with every  opportunity for inter-breeding. We see the same thing happening today in places such as London where,  despite the open invitation to inter-racial breeding and the incessant multi-culturist propaganda over several generations, a surprisingly  small percentage of the population does interbreed.

I can unreservedly recommend this book because it provides almost all the ammunition needed to  refute the multiculturalist propaganda . It is not the easiest of reads  because most of the contributors take an  academic approach, which means a fair number of  charts and tables plus a decent dollop of jargon. But the book is  not very heavy going and its message is  the most important which can be given to the developed world at present: guard your own societies against this surreptitious form of conquest or  they will die.

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