When will it pay

Yet again those in favour of remaining in the EU are asking “when will Brexit pay off” , the latest iteration this question being in the Gruniad. Now I may well have missed something as I often do, but being better off was never that I noticed a primary argument made for leaving the EU. Certainly many people said we could be better off outside the EU, but it wasn’t ever a primary argument. In fact according to the like of the Gruniad it was racism and nostalgia for faded glories that was the motivation for people voting leave not economic improvement. Economic improvement was usually cast as a bonus.

Lot of other people have already observed that people frequently vote against their own direct economic benefit, for example most Gruniad readers that vote Labour. So voting against direct economic benefit really shouldn’t be a surprise to them. However what really annoys me about this “when will it pay off” argument is how morally bankrupt it is. Historically it’s probably just as well we never asked that question ( and I’ve been resisting these comparisons ever since the question was first raised ).

Lets look at a few other occasions when as a nation we’ve acted against our own best direct economic advantage:

  • World War II debts (1941-45) repaid 2006
  • World War I debts (1914-19) not yet repaid
  • Irish Distress Loan (1847) repaid 2015
  • Slavery Abolition Act (1835) repaid 2015
  • Napoleonic Wars ( 1803–15 ) repaid 2015

Now some of those one might argue were avoidable and our own fault for getting invovled in wars and foreign ventures – though that would surely be an argument for isolationism? But equally some of those debts were obviously incurred for worthwhile causes that didn’t advance the countries economic interest. Blatantly raw economic interest should not be, and historically hasn’t been, the only factor to consider when we take action as a nation. So I do find it incredibly odd that people that would otherwise claim that individuals and companies should act for more than just economic gain all of a sudden feel that economic concerns outweigh all other consideration. But to answer their question a time scale of 100 plus years seems to be acceptable.


The peoples fuck up

So there was a bit of a march in London the other day which was attended by between 120,000 and 720,000 people depending on who you listen to. This was just the latest round of the great Brexit melodrama, and was to either ensure proper democracy giving people a say on the vote or to “stop Brexit by any means necessary” and in the process make a mockery of democracy again depending on who you listen to. Our glorious leaders have ignored pretty much every demo ever held, so there no good reason to expect them to pay attention to this one, unless it gives them an excuse to do what they already want to do. That aside though – as other more well-informed people have observed at this point even if everyone involved were to act with utmost speed it’s already too late to prevent the UK leaving Europe via article 50. Further even if the UK did by extraordinary efforts manage to decide we’d changed our minds in time the rest of the EU would have to agree to that, and presumably if there was any change to our terms of membership we’d have to have another referendum to agree to that ( as that’s apparently how things work these days ).

I’d love to blame this debacle on those that sit in Westminster, a corrupt media and sinister foreign powers and they may well all have played their parts but unfortunately “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” We elected those politicians and whilst the choice wasn’t great we’ve been electing the same brands for years, for fear of the other brand or because there’s no point in not voting for anyone else and we lambaste any politician that makes a mistake, changes their mind or acts in any way like a normal human. We have it seems the Government we deserve. As to the media well we’re all by and large far too partisan in our fact checking and keep supporting which ever lying rag tells us the prettiest lies. More than that far too many people on both sides of the fence have acted like the very rabble we’re accused of being, lapping up whatever nonsense our echo chambers serve us because having real debates and reading white papers is just far too much work.

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