Brexit Will Lower Wages 225

It has surprised the naïve that in the last two weeks Tory ministers have been lining up to assure employers that there will be no reduction in the flow of immigrant workers into
the UK after Brexit.

There are two things that infuriate me about the “left wing” argument that EU immigration lowers wages in the UK through importing labour. Firstly it is not left wing at all, it is narrowly nationalist and founded on the protectionist premise that the condition of the worker in say Poland – who would benefit both from opportunities in the UK and from international labour competition elevating wages there – does not matter. The “left wing” proponents of the protected national labour market are actually just ill-disguised racists.

The second criticism of these “left-wing” people is that they are extremely stupid. Anybody who believes that the plutocrat paymasters of UKIP, the Tories and the corporate press, supported Brexit in order to raise wages, is certifiable.

That is why the Tories are making plain there will be no reduction in the labour supply from the EU. That will keep coming. But there will be one essential difference.

EU workers will no longer be in the UK as fellow EU citizens with exactly the same rights as UK EU citizens. In future, the EU workers will be here on work visas, probably two or five year renewable. These will be awarded through sponsorship by their employer. That will put them at the absolute mercy of employers and make them terrified of complaint or even standing against gross abuse and illegality. The conditions at the Sports Direct warehouse will seem good compared to what is coming in workplaces throughout the UK, once people like Mike Ashley can simply have “troublemakers” instantly deported.

All workers will of course lose more formal rights and protections, like the maximum working week and strict health and safety regulation. EU citizens in the UK will also lose the citizen’s right of address by political participation and voting.

Brexit will lower wages. It will be the biggest license to exploit ever handed back to predatory capitalists, at a time when the wealth gap between the super rich and the poor is at its widest, and notions of social responsibility among the wealthy at their weakest.

Brexit is a disaster for the working woman and man. Yet so many of the so-called “left” are too blind to see it.

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225 thoughts on “Brexit Will Lower Wages

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  • TH

    Have EU been good for the working class? Is TTIP good for the working class?
    Have the wages for the working class been soaring or have they stagnated because of the EU?

    • SEC

      Wages have been rising in much of the EU where they still have decent employment laws and trade unions with teeth. Don’t confuse The EU with our own predatory government.

  • michael norton

    Whatever happens, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union and that includes Scotland.
    We existed as a nation for a long time, we will continue to exist as a nation, without the hated E.U.
    If another Referendum were to be held on the E.U.
    this time Mrs. May would swing the public behind her, there would be a much greater vote in favour of leaving, almost everyone is aware of this, except the S. N. P. / Greens and the Lying Liberals.

      • michael norton

        I think it must be Dave who is labouring under delusions.

        Look at Cyprus / Greece / Italy / France / Belgium / Portugal / Spain / Ireland,

        50% youth unemployment / lack of hope / lack of future

        all brought about by being in the Eurozone of hate.

        • glenn_uk

          Strange, I’ve been to five of the countries you list, and a couple of others besides, in the past year.

          In _none_ of them did I encounter anyone referring to the EU as being “hated”. Do you suppose they all kept it to themselves?

  • Dave

    Yes Craig all true. But no-one will address the fact that English workers constantly vote against their own interests and keep voting Tory and UKIP.. There’s no excuse for that even if Labour has deserted them. When English workers vote Tory Scotland suffers. I’m sick to death of them. They put Thatcher in and it has worsened since. Stop defending these ignorant people.

  • MD

    Well Craig, perhaps it is not such a disaster. If working conditions are to be as bad in Britain as you suppose, then it is perhaps not a given that “there will be no reduction in the labour supply from the EU”. It is quite possible that Polish and other workers will stay away from Britain and seek more advantageous employment opportunities elsewhere in the EU. In which case, employers in Britain will have to make do with more expensive and better protected local labour, or resort to even more efficient automation alternatives. Either way, it is arguable that the alternatives will be good for Britain.

  • Yoav

    >Has the EU been good for the working class?
    Yes, think working time directive and environmental safety, for a start
    >Is TTIP good for the working class?
    Maybe, maybe not. But the British government was all for TTIP and are so desperate for for trade deals that any deal with the USA will make TTIP look benign. And as Craig mentioned before the EU is an institution, not a policy. The EU is currently dominated by neo-liberal governments so that reflects its policies. Policies can change.
    >Have the wages for the working class been soaring or have they stagnated because of the EU?
    I think we have bankers to blame for that far more than the EU. But you knew that.

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      “Yes, think working time directive…”

      You obviously haven’t been taking on employment at the lower end of the jobs market in the UK – the very first thing they get you to do is sign away your rights under the Working Time Directive (even if they’re only offering you zero hours), and if you refuse, you don’t get the job.

      It’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  • Andy

    ”There are two things that infuriate me about the “left wing” argument that EU immigration lowers wages in the UK”

    Who on the left says this? The left says strong unions protect wages and rights.

    • Red

      Andy Burnham, Liz Kendell, Yvette Cooper and few other members of the Progress/Mandelson movement were spouting it not so long ago.

      I suppose it gets drowned out in the false hysteria directed at the Labour leadership.

  • Ian Seed

    “stupid”, “racist” etc etc

    One only needs to take a look at Greece to see how much the EU care about workers rights.

    • Stephen Townsley

      The “EU” is not a single entity. It is made up of member states. EU directives are enacted by national governments passing national laws.

      For example the UK allows exemptions for the maximum 48 hour week. The UK does not implement freedom of movement rules that allows a EU worker to be deported if they dont have a job, assets or educational course after 3 months. EU rules also state that if a citizen does not have a valid E111 they need health insurance so as not to be a burden on the hosting state. None of these rules the UK implements.

      That’s OK the UK can choose to do that. The Greek government is also free as to how it brings in workers rights using the directives. If a worker or trade union in Greece feels their government has not implemented the directive correctly in their national law then they can use the European Court of Justice to force compliance.

      Its a perpetual mistake of those who oppose the EU that they miss the fact member states are the implementors and interpretors of directives.

      • Ian Seed

        and “it’s a perpetual mistake of those who DON’T oppose the EU” that they miss the fact that the Commission make all the rules. The European Parliament is a pointless little talking shop. Yet these people think Britain had “influence”?

        Cameron went to the EU in February 2016 with a shopping list of 10 demands for reform. They gave him a big fat zero of his 10 requests. “Fried air” the Italians called it as they all laughed at him.

        That’s how the EU treats their biggest export market under the real threat of leaving.

        “Influence” my arse.

  • Neil darroch

    I work in construction and have done for many years I saw a massive reductions in wages when the polish labourer came over here and I can see it happening again and I can assure you I’m not a racist but guys like how think they have all the answers really piss me off as it never effect you as your so polictaly correct that your afraid to fart in case it offends someone.

      • giyane


        What do you mean ” when the Tories came to power “? When have they not been in power, except to generate an illusion of a democracy?

      • Dave Price

        No, he means what he said: he saw a reduction in wages from the time when Polish labourers joined the labour force over here.

        You are pointing out another contemporaneous event, a reduction in house building under the Tories. You want your chosen event to be the only significant cause of wage reduction for construction workers, but you haven’t gone the extra mile to prove this. And if both of you are talking about the same time period, then the fact that Polish construction labourers still came to this country even during a period of limited construction would seem to throw doubt on your case.

      • Stu

        Tradesmen’s wages started dropping immediately after immigration from the A10 countries started.

        British tradesmen employed a form of protectionism by sticking to their trades. Polish workers who entered the market offered to do multiple trades eg electrician and joiner/carpenter and carpet fitter.

        • Dave Price

          That would account for a drop in quality of work as well, which is something I’ve experienced.

    • Stephen Townsley

      I actually have a lot of sympathy with reduced wages. However the economy has changed. Companies haven’t trained for a couple of decades and the education system is orientated towards services and professions. Trade unions, that used to reach collective agreements on wages and conditions, have been marginalised and demonised by successive governments.

      Within this context wages were never going to rocket upwards. Add in a financial crisis and some polish workers then you have a great opportunity for employers to push down wages.

      Now in the EU those polish workers have some rights. After we leave the employers will be lobbying for employer based visa systems to get the construction workers they want. Now the worker will be tied to that employer. The employer will have further leverage to reduce costs. Also the price of free trade with India, Pakistan and the like will be more immigration. I suspect that within 10 years unskilled construction workers will be coming in globally with no rights guaranteed by the EU and significantly poorer pay that UK workers can’t compete with.

  • giyane

    In the construction industry it was Norman Tebbitt that removed all rights to either continuity of employment or entitlement to a pension. You never know whether a job will last 2 minutes or 2 months. A fellow worker was discharged before sitting the induction the other day because he came from the Congo.

    At least us scum of the earth subbies are beneath the radar of the corporate spying world. We are massed into pens with fingerprinted turnstiles where we are isolated from people, and our portakabin toilets cannot offend. We work one week in hand which is as good an incentive as any not to complain about bullying or conditions.

    If materials have not been ordered on time, we are cheap enough to be left standing around for days at a time, trying to pass the time in conversation. The engineers then sense with a great feeling of Victorian indignation that we are rebelling, or lazy, or unwashed or mentally unstable, whereas they are entitled to endless coffee and not particularly high salaries for their high qualifications.

    Anyway the EU was a political construct to re-unite Warsaw Pact countries into the USUKIS fold. It was gesture politics, like offering a Caliphate to anyone who would ethnically cleanse Syria. USUKIS now runs Eastern Europe and Syria is ethnically-cleansed. Why would USUKIS continue to honour its promises after their political goal has been achieved?

    In other words it’s not very nice and it doesn’t do for the politically naïve founders of the EU like Craig, and the politically naïve like those who voted for the invasion of Iraq, to turn round and criticise others for their political naivety. Perfidious Albion. Or as Kissinger put it, covert operations aren’t social work. We are ruled by cold-blooded murderers, who aren’t even shy to be recorded saying things like ” Fuck the EU ” while they murder.



    The arguments for Brexit are based on lies though and though. As were the arguments to vote ‘NO’ in the Indyref 2014 and the appalling spectacle of last years presidential election in the US.

    We live in dark times for democracy if this is the best we can do.

    The problem as so often is rooted in a morally bankrupt mainstream media. You just can’t get these things discussed at the length and in the depth needed to make any headway. The so called ‘left’ are scared of being voted out by racists so dare not make these kind of points.

    I live and work abroad at the mercy of work visas and the points you make are absolutely accurate. Poles will still flood in to fill the low paid low skilled jobs but will now do so at still lower wages and with the cost of the Work Permits handed on to them as a additional kick in the Pollacks.

  • fred

    You could well be right there are presently far too many unknowns to say either way, Brexit is a huge gamble.

    That is why I argued against it before the referendum.

    • D_Majestic

      It’s a huge gamble-and one somewhat unlikely to come off. I’ll be interested to see where we are in 10 years time-if still here.

      • fred

        If we all work together with the aim of getting the best exit deal possible for all of Britain the the odds won’t be nearly as bad as they could be.

        If one part of Britain is more than happy to see the return of children working in coal mines in the rest of Britain to get what they want then the odds are stacked against us.

  • michael norton

    I think it very likely that people from Poland now work in Germania, they perhaps can go home to Poland for the weekend
    but many of the Polish people who come to the United Kingdom are here to stay, they want to be here and many fit in well.
    What is it, that so attracts the Polish workers to traverse Germainia, to settle in the United Kingdom?

  • Let My People Go

    The UK is already a “high cost – low wage” economy, and so workers in this country already get the worst of both worlds. This is unlike e.g. Denmark – a high cost, high wage economy, or France (where trade unions have much more clout) or Germany (where workers’ councils and great apprenticeship schemes see to it that workers are well looked after). Spain is seen as a low wage but low cost economy.

    So if Brexit worsens these already deplorable working conditions (zero hours contracts, chronic employment insecurity for many, the so-called ‘gig’ economy such as Uber drivers, temporary, short-term and low paid jobs, huge percentage of graduates unemployed or under-employed), then the UK is surely finished. The “leaders” of the English parliament have made it unworkable. Already banks and one third of manufacturers are talking about quitting the UK. What’ll that be like? Does it prefigure a return to the feudal system? Scotland would be better out of all this incompetent mess. With a much higher share of the natural resources in these islands, and a smaller population, Scotland would do well.

  • David

    It looks more like retaliation to class war than racism to me. Perhaps a pathetic attempt to cling on to a dubious democracy. Of course we’ll be attacked which ever way we turn, but that just means it’ll become ever more difficult to conceal the reality that we’re under attack. Maybe that’s when the worm turns.

  • michael norton

    The Elites have done very well out of the European Union, especially the political class.
    Ordinary workers have been done up like a catch of Scottish Kippers.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Left is blind, has been blind most of the time, will be blind in future on many more issues. One of the key reasons is that Left is too dogmatic. Too much about dogmas (like religion) and too little about common sense, or in fact logic.

    Brexit will not only drive wages down, it will open up doors for UK government to adjust UK labour law to force out many positive and beneficial for the workers rights which came from EU labour laws.

    • giyane

      Was Russia so blind when it armed itself with pinpoint accuracy cruise missiles recently deployed against the US proxy invasion of Syria? Maybe you would like Al Qaida and Daegshit USUKIS mercenaries to plough Eastwards to your own country? I can’t believe you’re that blind!

  • J

    This is interesting, especially if true:

    “There is now mounting evidence of US interference in Britain’s EU referendum vote. From what we already know, this could constitute a flagrant breach of UK electoral rules.

    Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a US company, endorsed by Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). President Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon is a board member of the company. And Trump’s main backer, Robert Mercer, is a key financier. During the EU referendum campaign in Britain, CA targeted over a million social media users. According to a prominent figure, it was CA technology that ensured a Brexit win.”

    • Hmmm

      So it’s got nothing to do with folk getting fucked over for years? It was just fake news on t’internet. Well, the world is a simple thing after all.

      • J

        As I said, very interesting if true, which I’m sure you can’t deny.

        The problem for the left is that the leave campaign (and the entirety of main stream media machinery from The Sun to The Guardian) effectively neutered any real criticism of the EU and successfully did exactly what you seem to be suggesting I did above. That is to paint any referendum result as black and white: The remain vote, a victory for democracy and common sense. The Exit vote, a victory for racism and un-reason.

        I don’t recall the leave campaign making any substantial reference to any of the real issues regarding the EU, from Greece to trade treaties (TTIP, TISA, CETA), lack of transparency, democratic mandate, etc.

        The wiki descriptions of the workings of the EU are extremely careful to give the impression of democratic control but a diligent reading indicates that no elected MEPs have the ability to propose legislation for example, and this is crucial. That falls to the European Commission. And how are they elected? They’re not. They are all appointed, including their twenty four thousand staff. There is theoretical parliamentary oversight but If democracy is the intent, this isn’t how you would begin. For anyone with more than a passing interest, there is a serious, probably fatal lack of accountability in the EU from its foundation forward. It began as a trade organisation and slowly gathered the trappings and the language but not not the substance of a democratic body. As I’ve said before, I was for reform rather than leaving. Just wanted to make apparent the difficulty for someone who could be described as ‘left’ acting as a cheerleader for the EU.

        To put it another way, if you wanted to make a vehicle for rolling out the financialisation of Europe, in essence ceding control to banks, (and it would have to accommodate the various democratic objections to it) the EU as presently constituted looks very much like that vehicle.

    • lysias

      No mention of Obama’s speaking against Brexit and threatening Britain if it voted the wrong way?

  • Jessica C

    Who are these left-wing voters that think EU workers lower wages?!? I do not know one left-winger that wants Brexit! What planet have you been living on? We aren’t stupid: Profit and greed driven businesses lower wages. A failure on the government’s part to ensure the minimum wage is set at a level that would enable the average low-wage worker to live without subsidy: That is what keeps wages low. We know this. Why claim we feel otherwise?

    • Martinned

      I do not know one left-winger that wants Brexit

      Rather appropriately, given the nature of this blog, I think that’d be an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

      • Dave Price

        No I don’t think so. Jessica is not claiming a priori no person could simultaneously be a left-winger and believe EU workers lower wages. She is saying from her own experience she knows no left-wingers who hold this view.

        • Stu

          I am one.

          It is pretty obvious that wages and supply of labour have an inverse relationship.

          Craig admits as much himself when he says “who would benefit both from opportunities in the UK and from international labour competition elevating wages there”

    • Laguerre

      “I do not know one left-winger that wants Brexit! ”

      Isn’t Corbyn an example? As Benn was before him.

  • michael norton

    Brexit will lead to a monster money shortfall for the rest of the E.U.
    The U.K. is the second largest GDP nation in Europe, we pay in BIG TIME to the hated E.U.
    There will have to be some belt tightening in the E.U.

    Gunther Oettinger said eurocrats need even more money to tackle growing crises like migration and the fight against terror at a time when the E.U. is losing its third largest net contributor.

    He warned that the massive loss of cash set to be unleashed by Brexit cannot be offset by cuts to the ballooning Brussels budget and will have to be made up by the bloc’s richer countries instead. Like Germany.

    • fred

      Britain will still be paying a vast sum of money into European projects for decades to come michael.

      We’ve already made commitments, the projects we are signed up to we will have to pay for or be in breach of contract.

      • michael norton

        Hopefully the whole awful structure of the European Union will crumble to dust, very soon, in its destruction
        will be the saving of Southern European countries, free to make their own decisions, free to find their way in the world, again.

    • Laguerre

      You’re getting tiring about the EU, Norton. Can’t you even do some research before spouting endless fake facts?

  • Loony

    More drivel from the blog author.

    Why can’t you understand that the game is up – the EU is finished. It is dead. The British delivered the first blow to the head and soon other Europeans will follow up with a blow to the body. No-one wants the EU and its faux protections.

    The UK is deranged. It does not produce either sufficient food or energy for its population. It has nothing to sell of equal value to the food and energy that it needs. It therefore steals these commodities from other parts of the world – all paid for with freshly [printed money. Pretty much exactly the same as British colonists acquiring ownership of vast tracts of land in exchange for a few beads or a scrap of reflecting glass.

    What is really racist is the people that choose to provide cover for such an epic theft by bleating about workers rights.

    Sure Sports Direct pays crap wages – but that is because they are in a crap business. Basically the marketing of rubbish – no-one wants their products and can only be persuaded to acquire them via advertising and rock bottom prices. Try to raise the wages in Sports Direct and the whole thing collapses. It collapses because it is not wanted. It serves no purpose.

    Look at Wendy’s – wages must rise say the fake liberals. So what happens Wendy’s orders 1,000 self ordering kiosks so that they can cut their wage bill by sacking staff. What do you think driverless vehicles are all about? There is a robotics and AI revolution underway – it has nothing to do with nationalism or racism. You sound like a Dr. who is trying to cure a Brain tumor by recommending that the patient gets his hair permed.

    • michael norton

      the United Kingdom does have very useful stuff
      Gold, Copper, Tin, Lead, Zinc, iron, potash, Lithium, Kolinite, Graphite, coal, gas, oil, plenty of fresh water, much coastline, useful for fishing and windmills, great agricultural land.
      However we have at least double the amount of people, we need or could support.

      • giyane


        ” However we have at least double the amount of people, we need or could support”

        Not on. EUgenics is a particularly nasty twisted projection of white man’s guilt. We stole and colonised the wogs, therefore the wogs are at fault. Not on at all in a civilised blog.

        • Loony

          Good to see that you view arithmetic and the exponential function as morally deficient. The bad news for you is that neither arithmetic nor the exponential function can be shamed into changing their modus operandi so as to produce results more morally acceptable to you.

          It is what it is. What it is not about is you or your twisted and perverse sense of morality. One again here is Professor Bartlett setting out how it all works

    • Laguerre

      Sounds like from Lony’s post that it is Britain that “is finished. It is dead.” Not the EU, about which he does not give us even a word.

      • Loony

        I have more than one word. Try Geert Wilders, Marine le Pen, Viktor Orban and the AfD.

        If you want more such words I can supply them on request.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Think that’s a bit harsh on Sports Direct. I bought shedloads of their stuff until I discovered how rottenly their employees were treated, then I stopped shopping there immediately.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    If you voted for Brexit because you are a ‘racist’, in the Craigian sense, then you will have been expecting that the facilitators of the peoples’ will would cut all immigration. Or, perhaps and, as a backstop, provide infrastructure, services and wage legislation sufficient to cater for those immigrants deemed essential. This will not be the case, sadly: in Europe or out, the neoliberal agenda is to cut wages in real terms, cancel services, and outsource essential social needs to inefficient and greedy contractors. That system has been up and running for decades. May, while she supports Brexit, is equally a supporter of global neoliberal economics – the real culprit in rising inequality, increasing poverty, and a general fuck-you-jack ambience.

    Uncomfortably, too, allow me also to point out that remaining in Europe might involve some very unsavoury future alliances with the likes of Le Pen and Wilders…can I offer you a crucifix to hold?

    Voting for Brexit may have been wrong. We shall see how much that kick in the system’s arse actually changes anything for the better. Perhaps it won’t. But voting for Remain was to vote for a deteriorating and unsatisfactory state of affairs.And we knew nothing would change for the better if we let it be.

    Finally let me yet again mention that the Brexit vote achieved a tangible majority in a referendum, and while anyone is as yet free to complain about the decision, that is how we decided to decide it, and it’s decided. As Lord Bird, the Big Issue’s founder, suggested last week, attempting to overturn this democratic decision is likely to end in (real) tears.


    • Bill Rollinson

      I voted Brexit for my families Sovereignty, for the people to be able to decide who Governs them and not be dictated to!
      We know the immigration wont stop, but it will effect the unskilled. The Economy is structured in such a way, it relies on Immigrants. Money is created from fresh air every time a loan is made and ADDED to our GDP. We have 20m people Economically In-Active [can’t get a loan] which is why immigrants get the low paid jobs that require a loan to survive.
      Once we have left, we can repatriate all that manufacturing that was off shored. We had to sell all our Industry, Transport and Utilities, because of EU Competition rules, which is why we couldn’t bail Tata out. Public Ownership is the only way we’ll create jobs, it will also give Corporations some competition, bringing prices down. The next move would be Sovereign money as we stop banks creating from fresh air. Issued interest free, we can rebuild our social infrastructure, once we have removed Corporations from them.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        I have a nasty feeling we’re now waiting for the next political time-bomb to go off. Which is when the public realises that while Brexit could have provided a reset of our politico-economic system, it’s instead been turned to the advantage of global finance.

        I still think it was worth a try, though. And it adds weight to the assertion that our ‘democratic’ politicians are mostly the tools of other interests than ours.

        • Republicofscotland

          “And it adds weight to the assertion that our ‘democratic’ politicians are mostly the tools of other interests than ours.”


          Have you just figured that out?

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Have you anything constructive to add? Like any practical alternative political landscape for an independent ( free, equal and joyous) Scotland and a a hint as how you will arrange matters to get it?

            Yup, it’s old news, RoS. And somehow no-one bellowing about what ought to be ever takes account of what has always stood in the way of Utopia, let alone come up with viable means of accomplishing real progress. Which should really take account of human nature, its tendency to corruption, and the fiscal realities.

            If you think indyScotland will be any less dependent on bought politicians than the UK currently is, you’re fantasising.

            You might devote your mind to addressing the problem itself, rather than the commentary.

        • Uzbek in the UK

          “I still think it was worth a try, though.”

          Why is that? Why was it worth a try? We are going to have Tory government in the next 7 years (at least), and then it can even be worse, economic stagnation can bring to power even more radical right-wing forces.

          Yes, Brits do elect the parliament unlike EU executives, but do you seriously think that post-brexit British government will do any better for Brits than EU would have done.

          I will tell you one thing for sure. It was all about migrants. For right and for left. Right just hate people who are not WASPs and speak English with accent, left blame them for lowering their wages and putting them on benefits, whereas in fact shortage of skills and inflexibility does so.

  • Bill Rollinson

    “That will put them at the absolute mercy of employers and make them terrified of complaint or even standing against gross abuse and illegality.”

    This would in turn force people to stay home and seek work in their respective nations, work that doesn’t exist because it’s been ‘mechanised’. This can only bring forward Basic Income, something Corporations know is needed, but are scared to introduce before they bring in ‘cashless’. We’ll need Basic Income, otherwise the Corporations profits will cease and their own demise hastens.

    • J

      “This can only bring forward Basic Income, something Corporations know is needed, but are scared to introduce before they bring in ‘cashless’.”

      Makes sense. On the other hand sections of the deep state, if they don’t depend on the black market certainly find it ever useful to their operations despite legit investments. ‘Cashless’ may well be anathema to them at least. Why is Trump anti legalisation for example? Because on the face of it, he should be in favour, especially if his spat with the CIA is real (unless they are heavily invested in legal or it’s a concession to them from Trump.)

      With the state of investigative journalism on the whole we’ve less chance than ever of knowing how of the public discourse is theatre, at least until after events have already happened.

    • Loony

      The UK is too far gone for Basic Income.

      Finland has a scheme like this and it pays Euros 560/month – Imagine trying to live on this in London. The UK is going for ever more complexity. Complexity that will be cheered on by dodgy technocrats, bleeding heart liberals and red in claw and tooth capitalists. The idea is to use poor people as a conduit for transferring money to the rich.

      Housing benefit is a classic example. This puts a roof over poor peoples heads and guarantees the payment of economic rent to the rich. Any time you need to inflate asset prices all you have to do is increase housing benefit. If a few rich immigrants turn up then the anti racists will celebrate by deporting all of the indigenous poor to some northern slum and create a whole new generation of home grown millionaires feeding from the spoils of housing benefits.

      Thus a virtuous circle is created and this will last for just so long as entire societies are able to suspend their belief in reality and maintain a brazen hatred of the poor all masked by the tears of the clown sobbing over the condition of the huddled masses

  • Cyril Wheat

    I suppose I am on the so called left but I heartily agree with you on this as with many other things. This is causing schisms across all political beliefs but I think the “left” as you call us are more conflicted than most. I don’t know why that would be the case as I am a European and an internationalist but at odds with people I know and respect. I agree with the points on predatory capitalists and the dimunition of workers right whether immigrant or UK nationals. Maybe we will see a Risorgimento amongst trade unions but I wouldn’t count on it. Once these hard won rights are gone I can’t see them being returned as has been all to plain when Labour was in power. Thanks for a good piece. This debate needs to be kept live.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Firstly it is not left wing at all, it is narrowly nationalist and founded on the protectionist premise that the condition of the worker in say Poland – who would benefit both from opportunities in the UK and from international labour competition elevating wages there – does not matter. The “left wing” proponents of the protected national labour market are actually just ill-disguised racists”.

    I don’t really know where to begin analyzing that sentence, Craig. First, you seem to feel that all British people should be equally concerned with the pay (and presumably welfare) of Poles as with those of British people. (Maybe you don’t even believe that distinction is valid?) How do you feel about Chinese people? Russian people? Do you feel exactly as concerned about their pay and welfare as about those of your compatriots?

    Second, are you really suggesting that anyone who cares more about her own compatriots than about foreigners is a “racist”? I have felt for many years that people who complain bitterly about racism, but acquiesce in the murder of millions of Middle Easterners and Africans, are thoroughgoing racists.

    But you are asserting that to feel any preference for your own country-people is racist. I honestly don’t understand how your mind works.

  • michael norton

    *Chicken Boy George Osborne warns against leaving European Union without trade deal*
    George Osborne has warned that leaving the European Union without any trade deal would amount to “the biggest act of protectionism in British history.”

    The ex-chancellor told business leaders that the UK could not rely on new trade deals beyond Europe after Brexit.


    They are wheeling out all the old staggers now

    Boy George
    Michael Heleltine,
    Ken Loony Clark,
    John Major,
    who next Keith Vaz?

    • michael norton

      Saint Theresa May has said
      “No deal would be better than a bad one”
      and she has “indicated” she would be prepared to see the United Kingdom (including Scotland)
      revert to World Trade Organisation trading rules in the absence of any agreement.

      Personally, I believe we should not trigger article fifty, just send a curt note to say
      “We have gone – good luck – there is no money”

    • Republicofscotland

      Now you know how it feels, in 2014 during the Scots indyref, London wheeled out every ex-dud politico they could find who backed the union, and as many Z-listed celebs that also backed the union, it was pathetic.

      • giyane

        The meaning of the word politician is one who earns his living by telling lies. The meaning of the word diplomat is a nationalist politician.

  • Mark Golding

    Craig is correct in telling us the ‘nasty party’ Tory overlords will take advantage of Brexit to drive forward their mission of a low-waged capitalist free-for-all which arms dealer Liam Fox describes as restoring “Britain’s competitiveness” – albeit I believe this reaction will be a ‘shot in the pants’ for the feeble, spineless bank-rolled TUC to dismantle the Tory Trade Union Act in much the same way the Teachers Union NAHT must act to dismantle the Tory PREVENT strategy and projects like Faith on the Frontlines which manufactures an opinion supportive of the British militarism, and promotes a state-friendly understanding of historical events among children.

    I myself believe Britain and her gentle folk must understand BREXIT is a seed that needs sustenance, critical thinking before forthcoming laws are recast towards authoritarianism and a closed society.

    • J

      “I myself believe Britain and her gentle folk must understand BREXIT is a seed that needs sustenance, critical thinking before forthcoming laws are recast towards authoritarianism and a closed society.”

      Worth repeating. It’s hard to have the discussion as just about any open discussion anywhere demonstrates, this strange new territory of possibility and opportunity should be where each of us reconsider what our opinions are made of, how we can set them aside if need be, how we can arrive at and agree upon truth, how we can assess what works, and how we can begin to build and sustain the communities (currently atomised) who can do what you suggest. Most of the MSM organs have relinquished any willingness and authority to be involved, falling ad revenue only accelerates their problems and intensifies their allegiances to the few big corporate donors they have. The political parties either can’t or won’t. On the positive side there are numerous indies who could and should be bringing their audiences together.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Brexit is a disaster for the working woman and man.”


    Brexit will set worker rights back decades possibly more. Wages will plummet, Britain will (and is at present so some extent) become a low wage economy, where workers have few protections.

    What’s left of England’s NHS will be swallowed up by (probably US) companies. The Tory mantra is if it can be privatised it will be privatised.

    But before the above takes place we’ll have to pay a whopping exit fee around €60 billion, and pay billion more into projects we’ve already agreed to with the EU. In the process, we’ll also lose access to countless groups and bodies, and vital information.

    Brexit is a right wing scam put across as “taking the country back” the reality is the only ones taking anything, will be the Tory government.

    No doubt the other EU nations will, see Britain as a narrow minded parochial island full of isolationists.

    • michael norton

      The cheek of u RoS
      now tell us without blushing that the S. N. P. are not narrow minded.

      • Republicofscotland

        They’re not, the SNP, Scottish government are a inclusive government. They seek independence through civic nationalism, not ethnic nationalism.

        • Dave

          Civic nationalism is different to racial nationalism, but only to a degree. That is civic promotes the idea of nationality based on culture whereas racial promotes the idea of nationality basis on ethnicity. Civic nationalism is about sharing the same culture and flag and therefore if genuine can be multi-racial but not multi-cultural. This can work when the racial minority is small and assimilated, but becomes impossible with large scale immigration, because ethnicity is a big part of cultural identity too and so different racial groups would be viewed as distinct cultural groups too! I.e. The SNP/civic nationalists can avoid this truth as long as few immigrants cross their open borders.

          • michael norton


            racial/religious differences put to one side, the state gave you all you needed, including how to think.

            Sound familiar RoS?

          • Republicofscotland

            ” The SNP/civic nationalists can avoid this truth as long as few immigrants cross their open borders.”


            Scotland isn’t even independent yet, but we are all a bunch of divisive racists, that is if you listen to Sadiq Khan, (London mayor) or Anas Anwar (Labour nobody who crawled in through the back door after voters comprehensively rejected him).

            Of course you seem know what Scots will think in the future, lucky you.

            However bear in mind, that if you voted for Brexit, and wrapped yourself in the Union Jack, you were a patriot.

            If you voted or intend to vote for Scottish independence, in the near future, you’re a divisive separatist, or to some, such as the Mayor of London, you’re a racist.

          • Republicofscotland


            Really, so convenient that she deleted the evidence and there’s no mention of police involvement, very Susan Calman-esque if you ask me.

            Of course it is all “not” a coincidence that Claire Heuchen, who describes herself on prior Twitter accounts as “British and Proud” should suddenly come under attack, 48 hours after the Labour London mayor, outed himself as a racist.

            In my opinion, this is just a diversionary story, created by unionists and backed up by the slimy unionist press.

          • Dave

            Khan’s first act was to meet with the Israeli Ambassador and implicitly disparage Corbyn as anti-Semitic and Leave voters as racist and despite supporting Remain says the SNP are racist too because nationalism is a racist creed. In one sense its amusing to see anti-racists complain about being called racists, particularly by a little racist like Khan!

          • fred

            Sadiq Khan didn’t call anyone racist, he said that nationalism can be as divisive as racism and religious bigotry, to my mind merely stating the obvious.

            You are the one calling him racist.

          • Republicofscotland

            I’m not a big fan of Andrew Neil or Gordon Brewer, nor the BBC for that matter.

            However on the Sunday politics show, they called out Sadiq Khan over his, as they saw it “racist” comment.

            Khan’s Labour party Scottish branch manager, gish galloped for around 10 minutes, in order to say anything other admit what Khan’s roundabout comment actually meant, eventually Andrew Neil gave up asking.

            However Anas Sarwar agreed wholeheartedly with Khan’s comment, by saying “Lets call it what it is.”

        • Ba'al Zevul

          They got in on the same populist wave – disenchantment with the existing order – that fired Brexit up. And if it becomes obvious that they haven’t any real solutions either, they’ll be replaced by something harder-nosed. Be warned.

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