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On “Brexit Day” both Remain and Leave cling to their illusions

Remain supporters remain deluded both about the EU and the possibility of preventing Brexit; Leave supporters remain oblivious to Britain’s diminished place in the world.

Alexander Mercouris

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On what is already being called in Britain “Brexit Day”, both the opponents and the supporters of Brexit are restating their positions.  Since both sets of positions are shot through with illusions, it seems a good point to say something about them.

Many of Brexit’s opponents still seem unwilling to accept that it is actually going to happen, and still talk as if it could be reversed.  They still seem to cling to the idea that at some point Leave supporters will experience some sort of “buyer’s remorse” – though there is absolutely no polling evidence to support this – and still insist that they were fooled into voting the way they did.  They also lament Brexit as a catastrophe for Britain and for Europe.

On the subject of whether or not Brexit is going to happen, it not only is going to happen but I am becoming increasingly exasperated by the way some Remain supporters claim to respect the outcome of last June’s Brexit referendum and actually do no such thing.  A good example of this is the Guardian newspaper, the editorial of whose Sunday Observer edition says the following

Like others who favoured Remain, we have reiterated, ad nauseam, our acceptance of the referendum result. But whether you were for or against, what confronts us all now is drastically different from what was on the table last June……As Lord Heseltine has suggested, a more imaginative, braver and more consistent leader [than Theresa May] could have used the referendum result to propel an immediate negotiation with the EU on much-needed reforms. If, at the end of that process, Britain’s demands remained unmet, the divorce could have proceeded or, if a deal were agreed, been put to a second vote.

This is a complete misrepresentation of the June referendum result.  The British people when they voted were not told that if they voted Leave that would merely open the way to a new negotiation to ‘reform’ the EU, at the end of which there would be a second vote.  They were told straightforwardly that if the voted Leave then Britain would leave.  When the Guardian talks in this way, it is not showing “acceptance of the referendum result”.  It is showing the opposite.

It is anyway completely false to say that what is offered now is “drastically different from what was on the table last June”.  I doubt that most people who voted Leave were familiar with the detail of the arguments but I have no doubt that they overwhelmingly sought a complete separation from the EU, which would include imposing immigration controls.  That surely is what all the talk of “taking control” was all about.

As it has become clear that Britain is heading towards a “hard Brexit” – quitting the EU’s single market so that it can impose immigration controls – support for Brexit has remained steady.  As Dominic Lawson has written for The Times, both the Remain and the Leave campaigns made it clear during the referendum campaign – contrary to the myth now being peddled by the irreconcilables in the Remain camp – that the result of a Leave vote would be that Britain would quit the European Single Market (ie. go for ‘hard Brexit’)

Perhaps one reason is that those Remain voters — let alone the 17.4 million Leave voters — do not buy the argument, advanced by speakers at the rally, that it was never made clear Brexit would involve leaving the EU’s single market…….

Yesterday, interviewed by Sky’s Sophy Ridge, [former Liberal leader] Nick Clegg repeated (once again) the canard that ‘no one’ realised Brexit would mean leaving the single market. He brushed aside Ms Ridge’s accurate retort that this was exactly what David Cameron and George Osborne had said would happen if Vote Leave won. ‘They were on the other side,’ he sniffed.

Nick Clegg told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that ‘no one’ realised that Brexit would mean leaving the single market

Yet the pre-eminent member of Vote Leave in the Cabinet, Michael Gove, made this clear during the campaign —so clear that last May the Financial Times splashed on its front page with ‘Michael Gove says leaving EU would mean quitting single market’. Almost all other leading members of the Leave campaign followed this line.

The reason for this was obvious. At the heart of the Vote Leave campaign was a pledge to end free movement from the EU into the UK. Yet the rules of the single market are that all members must allow such free movement. It is one of the founding principles, theological in its force. So if we were to remain members of the single market, we would have to continue with unchecked migration from the other 27 members.

There was never a chance that the EU would allow us the one without the other. Such a negotiation would end as soon as it began. That is why May is instead seeking a bilateral free trade agreement with Brussels, akin to that negotiated between the EU and Canada.

Even a majority of those who voted Remain seem to sympathise with this approach. A poll published last week by the National Centre for Social Research found that not only did 86 per cent of Leave voters think that ‘prospective EU migrants should have to go through the same hoops as non-EU migrants’, but 54 per cent of Remain voters agreed with this proposition, too.

The other point which needs reiterating is that the constant Remain refrain that “only” 52% of voters voted Leave is a false one.

In any democratic election it is supposed to be the will of the majority which prevails, however small that majority may be.  However, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the claim that “only”52% of voters voted Leave anyway disregards the fact that a clear majority of voters in England outside London – the core territory of the United Kingdom – voted to do so.  It is both undemocratic and unrealistic to try to set aside the decision of these voters, and the consequences of doing so for the political establishment in London if it did would be catastrophic.

To see how that is so it is merely necessary to look at what has happened to the Labour Party.  Though the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs and Labour Party members are strongly pro-EU, and though a majority of Labour voters in the referendum voted Remain, in many of the Labour Party’s core areas outside London voters voted heavily to Leave.

When analysed carefully, it becomes clear that much of the criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from liberal Remain supporters because he is supposedly failing to oppose Brexit vigorously enough.  However were Corbyn to resist Brexit as vigorously as his critics want, Corbyn would not prevent Brexit – as Leader of the Opposition he has no power to prevent it – but he would be risking the Labour Party’s continued existence in England outside London.

Recently two parliamentary elections were held in two former Labour constituencies: Copeland and Stoke.  Labour held on to Stoke, but lost Copeland.  I have no doubt that the primary reason Labour lost Copeland and why it is so far behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls is because the Labour Party – struggling to overcome its own divisions – is unable to put forward a clear view on Brexit.

Had the Labour Party supported a ‘hard Brexit’ it might have held on to Copeland.  However in that case it would have risked seeing its position in pro-Remain London collapse.  Had it opposed Brexit vigorously – as Corbyn’s critics want – it would however not only have lost Copeland but also Stoke.

If Remain irreconcilables are deluded about the level of support for Brexit, and about the fact it is going to happen, their greatest delusion of all is however about the nature of the EU itself.  Here it is worth returning to the recent Guardian editorial I discussed previously

Like sheep, the British people, regardless of whether they support Brexit, are being herded off a cliff, duped and misled by the most irresponsible, least trustworthy government in living memory. The moment when article 50 is triggered, signalling Britain’s irreversible decision to quit the EU, approaches inexorably. This week, on Black Wednesday, the UK will throw into jeopardy the achievements of 60 years of unparalleled European peace, security and prosperity from which it has greatly benefited. And for what?

(bold italics added)

As a Greek national I simply do not recognise the existing EU in these words.

I was again briefly in Greece at the beginning of March and I can confirm the total accuracy of the devastating picture of what has happened to Greece as a result of the imposition of EU policies on the country recently provided by Michael Nevradakis for The Duran.

Suffice to say that talking about the EU in the way the Guardian and many Remain supporters do totally ignores the EU’s disastrous mismanagement of its expansion into eastern Europe, which has triggered a war in Ukraine and the massive migration flows which have now caused Britain to vote for Brexit, and its equally disastrous mismanagement of the European economy and its single currency, which have caused the total share of global GDP by purchasing power parity accounted for by the EU’s present members to shrink from roughly 30% in 1980 to less than 20% now.

Probably most British voters are not familiar with the totality of this picture.  However they are certainly not entirely blind to it.  It seems however that some Remain supporters are.

If the perspective on Brexit of many Remain supporters continues to be shot through with illusions, it remains concerning to me however how little understanding there is amongst Leave supporters of the scale of the challenge Britain now faces.

The reality of Britain’s economy is that it has been in steady decline since the 1950s with only a brief uptick in the late 1960s, which however was not sustained.  Margaret Thatcher’s famous reforms of the 1980s may have improved the working of parts of the British economy, but at the price of weakening or entirely destroying the rest.

EU membership has to some extent insulated Britain from this reality, attracting inward investment to Britain and allowing the City of London to position itself as Europe’s financial capital.  All this is now at risk.  Talk of Britain once again becoming a great trading nation following Brexit ignores the reality that Britain’s economy though appearing large is uncompetitive so that Britain has been running large trade deficits in its trade on tradeable goods since the 1980s.

Brexit might in theory energise Britain, forcing Britain finally to confront its many structural problems and finally turning its economy around.  Certainly the means to do it are there.

However that will require the British to be honest with themselves about the state of their society and economy, and about Britain’s profoundly diminished place in the world.  Of that unfortunately there is no sign.

 

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Zuckerberg Clings To Power While Sandberg Claims Ignorance After Damaging NYT Report

The New York Times reported that Facebook hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, to smear liberal detractors as Soros operatives. 

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Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are battling backlash over an explosive investigation by the New York Times into Facebook’s mercenary damage control tactics in the wake of several major scandals.

Despite fresh calls from investors for Zuckerberg to step down in his dual role as CEO and chairman and appoint an independent director to oversee the board, the 34-year-old tech titan brushed off the suggestion during a Thursday call with journalists.

“A company with Facebook’s massive reach and influence requires robust oversight and that can only be achieved through an independent chair who is empowered to provide critical checks on company leadership,” said New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Zuckerberg disagrees. “I don’t think that that specific proposal is the right way to go,” said the Facebook CEO when asked if he would consider stepping down, adding that other initiatives had been launched to “get more independence into our systems.”

The measures include creating an independent body to advise the company on decisions over whether controversial content should remain on the site.

Ultimately, he said Facebook is never going to eradicate mistakes. “We’re never going to get to the point where there are no errors,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to set up the company so that way we have our board, and we report on our financial results and do a call every quarter, but that also we have this independent oversight that is just focused on the community.” –Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, meanwhile, is claiming ignorance – telling CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell “we absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news – that they have assured me was not happening.”

In their Wednesday exposé – the culmination of interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members,the New York Times reported that Facebook had hired GOP PR firm, Defenders, which smeared liberal detractors as Soros operatives – and worked with a sister company to create negative propaganda about competitors Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Meanwhile, Sandberg stressed that Facebook was undertaking new security measures, telling O’Donnell: “Our strategy was to shore up the security on Facebook and make major investments there,” and that the company had made significant investments in combatting fake news and foreign influence.

“It was not what I was doing nor was it the company’s strategy to deflect, to deny or to hire PR firms to do things. That’s not the strategy. And I was part of none of that. We’ve taken great steps, we’ve made huge investments. We’ve invested a ton in AI and technology and if you were following us before the election you saw those efforts pay off. We were able to take down lots of stuff over and over, over and over because we were now focused on this,” said Sandberg.

When asked if rank-and-file employees are confident in her, Sandberg replied: “Yes, I believe so.

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Hillary Clinton Ordered To Answer Additional Questions Under Oath About Private Email Server

A federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system.

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Via Zerohedge


A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton to respond to further questions, under oath, about her private email server.

Following a lengthy Wednesday court hearing, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (who is also presiding over fmr. National Security adviser Michael Flynn’s case), ruled that Clinton has 30 days to answer two additional questions about her controversial email system in response to a lawsuit from Judicial Watch.

Hillary must answer the following questions by December 17 (via Judicial Watch)

  • Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
  • During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.

Sillivan rejected Clinton’s assertion of attorney-client privilege on the question over emails “in the State’s system,” however he did give Clinton a few victories:

The court refused Judicial Watch’s and media’s requests to unseal the deposition videos of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and other Clinton State Department officials. And it upheld Clinton’s objections to answering a question about why she refused to stop using her Blackberry despite warnings from State Department security personnel. Justice Department lawyers for the State Department defended Clinton’s refusal to answer certain questions and argued for the continued secrecy of the deposition videos. –Judicial Watch

Wednesday’s decision is the latest twist in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit targeting former Clinton deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The case seeks records which authorized Abedin to conduct outside employment while also employed by the Department of State.

“A federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system – which is good news,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is shameful that Judicial Watch attorneys must continue to battle the State and Justice Departments, which still defend Hillary Clinton, for basic answers to our questions about Clinton’s email misconduct.”

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May Forces Brexit Betrayal to its Crisis Point

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote. 

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The only words that were left out of Theresa May’s announcement of achieving Cabinet approval over her Brexit deal were Mission Accomplished.

Theresa May was put in charge of the U.K. to betray Brexit from the beginning.  She always represented the interests of the European Union and those in British Parliament that backed remaining in the EU.

No one in British ‘high society’ wanted Brexit to pass.   No. One.

No one in Europe’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

No one in the U.S.’s power elite wanted Brexit to pass.  No. One.

When it did pass The Davos Crowd began the process of sabotaging it.  The fear mongering has done nothing but intensify.  And May has done nothing but waffle back and forth, walking the political tight rope to remain in power while trying to sell EU slavery to the both sides in British Parliament.

We’re 29 months later and the U.K. is no closer to being out of the EU than the day of the vote.  Why?

Because Theresa May’s 585 page ‘deal’ is the worst of all possible outcomes.  If it passes it will leave the EU with near full control over British trade and tax policy while the British people and government have no say or vote in the matter.

It’s punishment for the people getting uppity about their future and wanting something different than what had been planned for them.

Mr. Juncker and his replacement will never have to suffer another one of Nigel Farage’s vicious farragoes detailing their venality ever again.  YouTube will get a whole lot less interesting.

It’s almost like this whole charade was designed this way.

Because it was.

May has tried to run out the clock and scare everyone into accepting a deal that is worse than the situation pre-Brexit because somehow a terrible deal is better than no deal.  But, that’s the opposite of the truth.

And she knows it.  She’s always known it but she’s gone into these negotiations like the fragile wisp of a thing she truly is.

There’s a reason I call her “The Gypsum Lady.” She’s simply the opposite of Margaret Thatcher who always knew what the EU was about and fought to her last political breath to avoid the trap the U.K. is now caught in.

The U.K. has had all of the leverage in Brexit talks but May has gone out of her way to not use any of it while the feckless and evil vampires in Europe purposefully complicate issues which are the height of irrelevancy.

She has caved on every issue to the point of further eroding what’s left of British sovereignty.  This deal leaves the U.K. at the mercy of Latvia or Greece in negotiating any trade agreement with Canada.  Because for a deal between member states to be approved, all members have to approve of it.

So, yeah, great job Mrs. May.  Mission Accomplished.  They are popping champagne corks in Brussels now.

But, this is a Brexit people can be proud of.

Orwell would be proud of Theresa May for this one.

You people are leaving.  Let the EU worry about controlling their borders.  And if Ireland doesn’t like the diktats coming from Brussels than they can decide for themselves if staying in the EU is worth the trouble.

The entire Irish border issue is simply not May’s problem to solve.  Neither is the customs union or any of the other stuff.  These are the EU’s problems.   They are the ones who don’t want the Brits to leave.

Let them figure out how they are going to trade with the U.K.  It is so obvious that this entire Brexit ‘negotiation’ is about protecting the European project as a proxy for the right of German automakers to export their cars at advantageous exchange rates to the U.K. at everyone’s expense.

Same as it was in the days of The Iron Lady.

If all of this wasn’t so predictable it would be comical.

Because the only people more useless than Theresa May are the Tories who care only about keeping their current level of the perks of office.

The biggest takeaway from this Brexit fiasco is that even more people will check out of the political system. They will see it even more clearly for what it is, an irredeemable miasma of pelf and privilege that has zero interest in protecting the rights of its citizens or the value of their labor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s voter fraud in the U.S. or a drawn out betrayal of a binding referendum. There comes a point where those not at the political fringes look behind the veil and realize changing the nameplate above the door doesn’t change the policy.

And once they realize that confidence fails and systems collapse.

Brexit was the last gasp of a dying empire to assert its national relevancy.  Even if this deal is rejected by parliament the process has sown deep divisions which will lead to the next trap and the next and the next and the next.

By then Theresa May will be a distant memory, being properly rewarded by her masters for a job very well done.


Please support the production of independent and alternative political and financial commentary by joining my Patreon and subscribing to the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Investment Newsletter for just $12/month.

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