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Will the Brits Muddle Through?
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Two of the most perilous military operations are crossing rivers while under enemy fire, and retreat while engaged with enemy forces.

Britain’s embattled Prime Minister, Theresa May, must accomplish both maneuvers if she is to extract her very confused nation from the horrid Brexit mess and save her job. We wish her lots of luck.

On December 11th, British members of parliament must vote to accept some sort of Brexit deal; a negotiated withdrawal and/or trade association. But there is bitter opposition within May’s Conservative Party and rival Labour Party to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The rump Northern Irish Unionist Party, which shores up May’s Tories in parliament, is making everyone crazy.

Increasing numbers of British voters now think that the original referendum to withdraw Britain from the European Union after four decades of grudging membership was a catastrophic mistake. Britain was one of Europe’s big three members; without with EU, Britain will be marooned somewhere off the coast of northern Europe and forced to become totally responsive to US demands and policies.

Equally vexing, the proud Brits, who a century ago ruled a quarter of the globe’s surface, will be forced to see old rivals Germany and France become the undisputed kingpins of Europe while no one pays attention to the toothless old British lion.

British supporters of Brexit don’t care. They tend to dislike foreigners…aka ‘bloody wogs’…, chafe at regulations imposed by faceless bureaucrats in remote Brussels, fret over a rising tide of EU immigrants, fulminate over the steep costs imposed by the EU, and deeply resent being compelled to accept working in the EU collective instead of trumpeting imperial demands.

But times and economic realities have changed. Britain is no longer the manufacturing powerhouse it was before World War II. Its industries are rusting, the quality of its manufactured products questioned (Dyson excepted) and the once mighty financial power of the City of London diminished.

Europe’s money lenders and their ilk are slinking off to Frankfurt and Paris; the City of London is no longer the wild, anything goes casino where all sorts of financial chicanery was quietly tolerated. London is slowly losing its charmed existence as a tax refuge – or to quote Somerset Maugham’s great quip about Monaco, ‘a sunny place for shady people’.

As Britain’s economy deflates under Brexit, its working class will have refuge against the snobs and toffs who sneered at them for generations and perpetuated the class system. But ditching the EU will be like Britain shooting itself in the foot. All economic signs show that Britain will be impoverished if Brexit happens. Everything – the stock markets, industry, trade, housing – are pointed downhill. Divorcing Britain from the EU will be nightmarishly complex and fraught. The Bank of England warns that Brexit will plunge the country into a serious recession.

ORDER IT NOW

All this for the sake of national ego and a chance to stick it to the ‘bloody foreigners’. Certainly not worth the expense or national anguish, say many sensible Brits and the Labour Party. The Tories are split over the issue and locked in bitter infighting. The leading Conservative MP’s remind one of all the things we didn’t like about snobby, imperial Britain.

The way out of this nasty mess is for Parliament to do its job and mandate another referendum. Many pro-Brexit voters misunderstood the real issues and regret their hastiness. Divorce is always ugly and painful. After all the shouting and name-calling, Britain will be left with a cup of cold flat tea, not the golden chalice it hoped for.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, Britain 
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  1. without with EU, Britain will be marooned somewhere off the coast of northern Europe and forced to become totally responsive to US demands and policies.

    actually that doesn’t follow

    Equally vexing, the proud Brits, who a century ago ruled a quarter of the globe’s surface, will be forced to see old rivals Germany and France become the undisputed kingpins of Europe while no one pays attention to the toothless old British lion.

    more opinions and based on what?

    • Replies: @Herald
  2. plantman says:

    I usually agree with Margolis, but this article is a disaster. Brexit is not about “snobbery” or an eagerness “to stick it to the ‘bloody foreigners’”. That’s nonsense! It is an effort to reestablish the sovereign rights of the United Kingdom. Nearly, 60% of British law is now overridden by edicts from Brussels. The Brits do not control their borders, their laws, their fishing grounds, or ‘who enters their country’.

    How can anyone call this freedom or sovereignty?

    And what is this European Union to which the UK belongs and to which they have sacrificed their sovereignty?

    It is a group of unelected , almost-nameless bureaucrats whose loyalty is to the giant merchant banks and global corporations who believe that statehood should be subordinated to the free movement of capital, the unimpeded movement of people, and restrictions on deficit spending that leave many countries in the south of Europe in a permanent state of enforced depression.

    These rules do not create a United States of Europe, they create a Capitalist Valhalla where the social contract is subordinated to the unrelenting avarice of the investor class and their political lackeys.

    Do I exaggerate?

    Ask a Greek or an Italian or a Spaniard!

    Liberals have paradoxically taken up the EU cause to express their support for internationalism and open borders, whereas conservatives are solidly on the side of revolt, sovereignty and the nation-state.

    I have been a liberal my entire life, but I don’t support this misguided effort to preserve the tyrannical corporate superstate, the European Union.

    The UK will suffer greatly for withdrawing from this hateful institution, but that is the price that must be paid to establish their freedom.

    Vive Nigel Farage!

    • Agree: Bill Jones, Craig Nelsen
  3. djm says:

    An article straight out of the deluded & demented world of Adonis & Grayling, and as such safely ignored.

  4. Ace says:

    Steve Deace has correctly observed that expediency is always the wrong choice.

    As plantman, above, makes clear, the EU is a repulsive enterprise. It’s founded on the lie that nationalism is the source of Europe’s woes and therefore (?) centralized, authoritarian government is what stupid, white Europeans need for their own good. Think Merkel, Macron, and Timmermans and then you know why no price is too high in separating from such smug, multicultural zealots.

  5. Alistair says:

    The European Union is mish mash of little countries without a real synergy among themselves who are forced into political integration, but not all the EU members are ready or willing for one single political and fiscal standard; International trade revolves around the economic notion of “Comparative Advantages” – but the majority of the EU members have too much economic similarities as opposed to complementarities.

    Yet, the main problem with the EU is its old political class in Brussels ( France, Belgium, Netherland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal……) who are primarily after political integration of the Europe ahead of the EU’s economic benefits; the old European political class are nostalgic of their colonial past which they want to maintain under the guise of the European union, whereas the average european citizens only want an open market access between member countries with whom they have real synergy ( i.e. comparative advantages, economic complementarity as opposed to economic similarity ). For instance, there aren’t much differences between British, Italian, French or Germans industry where labour standard and cost are similar, Fiat, Renault, or VW – or French wine versus Italian or Spanish wine, they are virtually the same, the economic similarity of the EU countries is at the heart of the EU disintegration,

    International trade revolves around economic notion of “Comparative Advantages” where one trading partner posess but the other lacks, yet, the EU political class are aiming to eliminate all comparative advantages between all members – aiming to make everything one standard across entire Europe, such effort is counterintuitive, it’s the achille heel to overcome; because not every country in the EU is ready or willing for integration into a single standard as Brussels bureaucrats are proposing, Europe should emphasize on the common market as opposed to a political union.

  6. anon[250] • Disclaimer says:
    @plantman

    I usually agree with Margolis, but this article is a disaster. Brexit is not about “snobbery” or an eagerness “to stick it to the ‘bloody foreigners’”. That’s nonsense! It is an effort to reestablish the sovereign rights of the United Kingdom. Nearly, 60% of British law is now overridden by edicts from Brussels. The Brits do not control their borders, their laws, their fishing grounds, or ‘who enters their country’.

    apparently he doesn’t understand that some things are more important than collecting a few extra shekels

  7. “Increasing numbers of British voters now think that the original referendum to withdraw Britain from the European Union after four decades of grudging membership was a catastrophic mistake”

    So giving a voice to the millions of voters who had been ignored for decades, was a catastrophic mistake? Tells you everything you need to know about the (((author))).

  8. TG says:

    “Britain is no longer the manufacturing powerhouse it was before World War II. Its industries are rusting, the quality of its manufactured products questioned (Dyson excepted) and the once mighty financial power of the City of London diminished.”

    Um, so that’s what EU membership did for Britain? Is it really so irrational for Britain to want to leave?

    Oh, and by the way, Dyson does not I think make its products in Britain. I think they moved all their production to Malaysia some time ago…

    • Replies: @Alistair
    , @Philip Owen
  9. Alistair says:
    @TG

    Genie is out of the bottle and no one can put it back in the bottle; Globalization is responsible for desinstrailzation of the western countries and Britain, and the European Union is only a small part of the globalization phenomenon; over the last two decades, manufacturing has relied on the global supply chains to produce goods and services – stretched from the far East, all the way to Europe, America, and Africa. the reality is that manufacturing is no longer national but a global operation – the genie is out of the bottle, and the West must learn to thrive within the new global economy.

  10. anon[225] • Disclaimer says:

    Tells you everything you need to know about the (((author))).

    that’s what i thought too

    then i looked it up and one of the top ten search results said he’s not, but the name is suspicious

    • Replies: @Christo
    , @geokat62
  11. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    Another bulls*** article by Margolis full of his usual half-truths, lies and exaggerations.

  12. The fix for “a cup of cold flat tea” is to drop an ice cube into it, not to reheat it.

    • Replies: @Anon
  13. The leading Conservative MP’s remind one of all the things we didn’t like about snobby, imperial Britain.

    If there is one thing that I have learned from the Brexit fiasco, it is the low quality of most of the prominent British politicians (excepting Theresa May). The Conservatives’ Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, and Diane Abbott, and the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, are not fit for high office; but the chances are that some combination of them will soon be our leaders.

    Certainly not worth the expense or national anguish, say many sensible Brits and the Labour Party.

    It would have been perfectly possible for Parliament to take this line after receiving the referendum result. The margin of victory for Brexit was narrow, and the referendum was merely advisory. However, both Conservative and Labour MPs voted to honour the result of the referendum. Now, it appears, they no longer wish to do so. What a mess.

    Mr Margolis quite correctly distinguishes “sensible Brits” from the Labour Party, which has been captured by Trotskyite wreckers.

    The way out of this nasty mess is for Parliament to do its job and mandate another referendum.

    First the ECJ must rule on whether the UK can withdraw our letter under Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. If we cannot, then a referendum could choose only between the deal on offer, and leaving the EU without a deal.

    Mr Margolis is evidently not British, because he perpetuates a number of stereotypes that are decades out of date.

    British delusions of imperial grandeur persisted after the loss of the British Empire in the 50s and 60s, but they were finally killed by the economic and political humiliations of the 1970s – nearly fifty years ago. Cries of “bloody wogs” and “bloody foreigners” are equally dated.

    The exodus from London to Frankfurt and Paris has been greatly exaggerated. The amount of construction going on in London is more than I have ever seen in the last 40 years. For whatever reason, investors appear not to share Mr Margolis’ gloomy view.

    Membership of the EU is an issue that has split the UK for over 40 years. It is a toxic issue – I would suggest that it is less toxic than the “culture wars” of the USA, but this point is hard for me to judge because I live in Britain and I can only judge the US political climate from media reports.

  14. Christo says:
    @anon

    Correct , he is not of the tribe. He is an anti-war liberal. Was always for the “remain” side of the Brexit debate. Actually had no actual dog in the fight since (if memory serves) he is Canadian. So only a provincial view of what England should do.

  15. Pontius says:

    Eric is American.

    Any British products I have used have been the equal to or better than those from anywhere else. People persist in judging “British Made” by the woeful standards of cash strapped auto and motorcycle manufacturers cobbling together vehicles based on 1930s technology with parts sourced from the lowest bidder, while operating under the cloud of various industrial actions initiated by increasingly militant labour unions. Current Triumph motorcycles are equal to anything made anywhere. British made tools are excellent. British engineering is dominant in auto design in Formula 1. When I was a field service industrial mechanic, I would take a British made machine over German any day. It would be far less fussily engineered, made of readily available subcomponents, field serviceable, and didn’t have 10 extra layers of complexity to achieve a 3% increase in efficiency.

  16. The way out of this nasty mess is for Parliament to do its job and mandate another referendum.

    So Parliament’s job is to keep having referendums till a certain outcome is obtained?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  17. Sovereignty without power isn’t sovereignty. Brexiteers don’t get this. Anyway, they voted for 17.4 million different unicorns. There could only be one. Guess what, it wasn’t their particular wish come true. Meanwhile, Remain have a real and existing horse. We are not in the end game yet but Leaver lies will bury them when their supporters stay home without a personal unicorn to ride.

    • Replies: @Plato's Dream
  18. @TG

    It is what the price of oil did to Britain. Germany was not so cursed. British manufacturing decline is exaggerated anyway.

  19. peterAUS says:
    @Фрэнк в СПБ

    So Parliament’s job is to keep having referendums till a certain outcome is obtained?

    That rhetorical question?

    But, for West at least it stops there.
    For everywhere else, when “proles” rebel other methods are used, with ease.
    Regime change(s) for example.

    The problem I saw with all this, at the very beginning (just a BAD gut feeling), was Farage’s resignation as soon as Brexit was announced.

    He led the move, and when it got serious he……well….deserted? Can’t find a better word.

    It feels that here is a CERTAIN uncomfortable (for some) truth in all this.
    Extremely uncomfortable, actually.

  20. Herald says:
    @Rabbinical Rube

    Based on good knowledge of what goes on in the world. Simple really.

  21. Gordo says:
    @plantman

    I usually agree with Margolis, but this article is a disaster.

    it’s a disgrace.

  22. geokat62 says:
    @anon

    … but the name is suspicious

    Your suspicions are well placed:

    Margolis is a surname that, like its variants shown below, is derived from the Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation of the Hebrew word מרגלית‬ (Israeli Hebrew [maɹgalit]), meaning ‘pearl,’…

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margolis

    While his mother, Nexhmie Zaimi, was Albanian, his father, Henry Melville Margolis, was most likely Jewish, as he is acknowledged as “a founding trustee of the American Jewish Congress.”

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1989-11-05-8901280398-story.html

  23. @Philip Owen

    I’ve read a few comments of yours, here and in other discussions. Genuine question: would you not be happier on The Guardian forum?

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  24. Anon[130] • Disclaimer says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Milk tea? I don’t mind it tepid, but flat and iced (more than one ice cube will be needed to do the trick) doesn’t sound much better than flat and hot.

  25. @Plato's Dream

    Why preach to the converted? And if there are valid Leave arguments I want to hear them. There seem to be three main arguments for Leave.
    1 Stop immigration
    2 Increase sovereignty
    3 Increase prosperity

    3 is laughable, even Rees-Mogg won’t defend it. Only Davis and Redwood are left trying to ride that unicorn. For 1 and 2 there is a case but in each case there are costs in terms of the issue as well as the economic costs of leaving. I don’t think that the Leave case is strong enough but I am open to discussion.

    The unicorn I want to see is a two speed Europe, with a Catholic core busy unifying and Protestants and Orthodox in the Single Market with all four freedoms enjoying votes on economic matters including regulation. More or less the EEA with a vote. (The EEA loses the CAP and CFP. Ultimately this gives the initiative to the Catholic core but leaving does that anyway without any hope for participation from the UK. Russia via the EEU for example is harmonizing its regulations with the EU as fast as it can. (A 2 speed EU might allow Russia a space to join).

    I think the EEA is the solution that respects the vote and allows a recalibration of the UK’s relationship with the EU. Agriculture apart, the Customs Union is a complete red herring. The UK does not make low added value goods that sell on price. The petropound killed those industries 30 years ago.

    Finally, I live in Wales. The UK track record for infrastructure support in Wales is poor. Most recently rail electrification from Cardiff to Swansea, promised and then withdrawn. The EU has been much more transparent and reliable. A more honest partner all round in the real world than England.

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