06 July 2016

10 Reasons Why Remain Voters Should Be Cheerful About Brexit

1. EU Reform.
Finally we are getting some real noises about the sort of progressive EU reform we've been asking for. From the Czechs to the Germans, Danes and French. Governments and EU officials are unhappy about Brexit and asking why are EU citizens so unhappy that they want out. I don't believe a Bremain vote would have kickstarted anything like this. There is talk about looser arrangements for some countries, deeper integration for others, the powers of the EU parliament enhanced and Commission powers reduced. Ironically Britain whether under Cameron or Brown fought against this, so it is now more likely to happen.

2. The Breakup of the UK.
This is actually a good thing. British nationalism is no better than any other nationalism, in fact it is probably worse. The sort of civic nationalism arising in Scotland is internationalist and progressive. It is being held hostage by Westminster. I'm also optimistic about a new England ruling itself. New nations to the North and West will drag the economic centre to the more deprived parts of England and away from the overheating South East. And the pessimism of those that only see a Tory dominated England is so defeatist and completely untrue. The English Left will be liberated to concentrate their efforts solely on winning again in England (like they have many times in the past). I would also add that smaller political units generally tend to be more democratic. This was a genuine fear about the sprawling over-enlarged EU gaining more and more powers.

3. The Loss Of The UK's Financial Services.
This is a tricky one to argue in favour of, because it does involve arguing in favour of a temporary recession. But so much of our economy in financial services is causing all sorts of problems - an over-valued pound, housing bubbles, huge household debt, exacerbating the north-south divide. So much of our resources is being sucked into London, it is starving the North.
Recessions can cause huge damage to an economy, but are also needed to restructure. An overvalued pound is destroying the high tech industries we need for the future. Lending only to housing not business has no future. Freed from the EU, governments can foster new industry easier and alleviate absolute poverty. In a country with our wealth, no-one should be so poor they are without homes or begging on the streets. It is all about allocation of resources - investing in housing, infrastructure and industry will reduce the amount of lattes, mountain of consumer goods and domestic help the wealthier can afford, and they will squeal very loudly about it. But if the result of a slightly lower GDP is an improved quality of life for all, I'm all for it. Let's reduce car use and green over large parts of our cities and towns. We'll be poorer on paper, but have richer lives as noise, pollution, danger and stress are lessened.

4. The EU is S#&t.
Let's be honest here, even those voting to Remain had serious doubts about the EU. Most wanted fundamental reform and were kidding themselves that this was going to happen anytime soon.

5. Some Leave Voters May Have Done The Right Thing For The Wrong Reasons.
Immigration is a complex subject. Some are opposed purely for racist and xenophobic reasons, we all accept that. And that is terrible and the rise in racist incidents since the referendum are awful. My hope on this, is that it is temporary. These feelings were always there and we are now seeing them manifest. We must quickly as a society make it known that this behaviour is not tolerable.
Also leaving the EU might make no difference to levels of immigration anyway. A point I made often while arguing for a Leave vote, and a strong Labour Leave campaign would have de-toxified this issue and perhaps reduced post-brexit tensions. Only those campaigning for Leave would have been believable when arguing that a Leave vote was not the solution to immigration issues.
There are genuine concerns around how quickly infrastructure and housing can be built, or even about how much land we want to cover in more roads etc.
The simple overlooked fact is that immigrants are people. Generally fairly young and healthy and probably more economically productive. So their tax revenues should more than cover the cost of extra services and infrastructure (in theory). But the effect on the population can be mixed from area to area. There does seem to be a class effect. The liberal middle classes were heavily for Remain, yet the working classes were more for Leave. Why was this? There are two reasons I can immediately see.
What realistic opportunities does free movement bring to unskilled Brits only able to speak English? Only the middle class were likely to work or learn in Europe or benefit from cheaper labour costs here. For those on low incomes in Northern towns, only the competition from EU immigrants is visible. Competition for jobs, public services and infrastructure from eager Europeans and sometimes more able and skilled Europeans.
When English is the world language widely spoken in Europe, free movement for the working class was only ever likely to be one way.

6. Inequality
Brexit has opened the door to capped banker bonuses and a financial transaction tax. The falling pound has already caused losses for "gold brick" investors from abroad buying up UK (mainly London) properties and scandalously leaving them empty while people are homeless. Lower house prices can only be good for the young and poor of this country.

7. Democracy
Rather than relying on an EU that hasn't passed a law protecting worker's rights since 1997, we now HAVE to beat the Tories here in the UK. Progressives need to get their act together and cooperate. Electoral pacts & electoral reform are long overdue.
Also, every permanent resident should get citizenship and full voting rights in the country they reside. Current free movement policy goes against the principle of "no taxation without representation".

8. Environment.
A one sized fits all approach has been slanted toward French farmer's needs. The CAP pays our wealthiest landowners to clear woodland hills and scrubland which helps flood our towns and villages. The EU dumps surplus produce on world markets causing African farmers to lose their livelyhoods. There is little environmental in specialisation of agriculture and the added air miles of produce travelling throughout Europe.

9. The Beginning Of The End For UKIP.
UKIP have our biggest contingent of MEPs and their scrapping will cost UKIP millions. Farage has resigned perhaps in anticipation that the long term future for UKIP is bleak. They now have no reason to exist.

10. Maximum Chaos In The Tory Party.
Although it may not look like it at the moment, the Tories will have real problems from Brexit. The final four years of this parliament will be dominated by it, with little room for anything else. We need a general election soon, but there is little chance the Tories will concede one. The Tories have lost their big scapegoat, yet leaving the EU in 2019 means they are still bound by it's laws until then.

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