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.


225 thoughts on “Brexit Will Lower Wages

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  • bevin

    Craig’s argument has two false premisses.
    The first is that it is inevitable that Brexit means Tory rule, while in fact it will reveal the complete bankruptcy of Tory policies- they have no plan. The party which comes up with a plan for rebuilding Britain and mapping a new direction for the people will get power. And this will mean that it will be able to use the regained sovereignty to employ British resources for the people. By doing so-as was done to a limited extent in 1945-50- the country will be able to show the world that such things as the NHS, nationalised industries, a serviceable social safety net and full employment are within reach. In an EU in which there are massive pools of unemployment, privatisation is the order of the day and living standards are equalising downwards, this will be no small achievement.
    The second wrong assumption is one that we also see in the discussion of Scots Independence- it is the assumption that neo-liberalism is inevitable, that as Thatcher said There Is No Alternative to an economy based upon the, thoroughly discredited, ideology of capitalism.
    Once it is assumed that, apart from Brexit nothing changes (and that after Independence Scotland continues to be ruled by the caste of lairds and shyster lawyers who have held power and employed it against the working people and never so firmly as they have done under the Union) then we are left dithering around worrying about what will happen when nice Mr Brussells isn’t at hand to look after the under privileged.
    The truth is that any protections for workers in the EU were put there at the insistence of the Trade Union and Socialist movements-and that both were mightily inspired, after 1945 and despite US influence against it, by the British example.
    Leaving the EU is not a policy but the opening of political possibilities. It means that Britain will have to decide what sort of economy it wants and what sort of society it wishes to build. The wheel is still in spin: and the choice is between Thatcherism and Socialism. The sooner that the Socialist vision of a society in which, for the first time, the enormous productivity gains made over the past couple of centuries are used to make everyone secure, economically, to cut hours of work, to improve diets, to provide comfortable homes and to ensure an environment in which life can be lived to the full and to cut the threads which link the country to imperialism and the global system of slavery which it has built, the better it will be.
    As to racism: half of the governments in the EU, and those which are setting the pace politically, pushing neo-liberal policies and dribing their workers overseas in search of jobs, are run by real racists, in the cases of Poland, Hungary and the three Baltic states by the descendants of the collaborationist and Nazi parties whose leaderships were preserved and incubated by the US government in the Gladio period. Nowhere is this more exemplified than in the EU’s disgraceful role in Ukraine. It is no accident that neo-liberalism and racism go together-they always have done

    • Martinned

      The party which comes up with a plan for rebuilding Britain and mapping a new direction for the people will get power.

      What is it about (British) politics in recent decades that makes you say that?

    • Martinned

      the choice is between Thatcherism and Socialism

      What is it about current British politics that makes you think that this is how the choice is perceived by anyone other than you?

      • Martinned

        I mean, get real, it’s Britain we’re talking about. The difference between the UK and France is (or at least was until the Sarko-era) that in Britain even the socialists are conservative, while in France even the conservatives are socialists.

          • Habbabkuk

            A feeble response, Bevs, which shows that you’re not really up for discussion and debate. Martinned’s aphorisms could be discussed and debated but megaphone-style trumpeting from the Trot Handbook is more your line, it seems.

            This is why the sort of politics you espouse are laughed out of court by the UK electorate whenever there’s a general election.

          • bevin

            Yawn!!
            There is not an idea among, what you courteously refer to as, “Martinned’s aphorisms” that was not old in 1890. I am not attempting to play the pundit game-so beloved of conformists- but to point out that those who wish to change the direction the country is taking will not succeed in doing so merely by voting to leave either EU of UK. The real challenges will come afterwards and it is folly not to understand that this is so.
            Quite what this has to do with Trotsky I am at a loss to guess. You seem unable to make up your mind whether it is a more devastating refutation of an argument to call me a Stalinist or a Trotskyist (perhaps you are unaware of their differences?).
            What you never do is actually to engage with any of the arguments I make before scuttling into the sewer and flinging ad hominems.

          • Iain Stewart

            I find your unquenchable optimism admirable, Bevin. Although it does remind me of the well known Holy Grail “just a flesh wound” scene.
            Black Knight: [calling after King Arthur] Oh, oh, I see! Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to you! I’ll bite your legs off! 🙂

    • Laguerre

      There are no signs yet of anyone coming up with new worthwhile ideas for the future of Britain. Either in or out of the EU. Funnily enough, there might in France with Macron (if he turns out to be elected, competent, and uncorrupt, rather a large demand, I know). He is young enough to be interested in the new generation, and flexible enough to come up with a new path for France. Not like that in Britain, where we seem to heading back to the 1950s, Or at the latest, the first half of the sixties. 1962-3, that’s May’s style, when they had nice grammar schools, and everybody did what they were told. And even the Beatles wore suits.

    • Republicofscotland

      “The party which comes up with a plan for rebuilding Britain and mapping a new direction”

      _________

      The Tories already have, and plan is one of Americanisation, watch out for Hoovervilles and Obamavilles coming to your area soon.

    • J

      I notice the only argument some of your critics have is more of the same political ‘wisdom’ we’re all abandoning.
      I agree. It really is all up for grabs. The gap in politics for difference, for imagination is simply vast. Such is the power of group think.

  • michael norton

    So why is the European Union
    so very keen to get The Ukraine into the E.U.?
    Is it to do the bidding of the American elite?
    The American Elite are (slightly) changing.The Swamp is going to be drained.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39113585
    On Monday the rebels threatened to take control of Ukrainian-run businesses on 2 March if the blockade was not lifted.

    “These enterprises will be oriented towards the Russian Federation, to receive raw materials [from Russia],” said Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).

    Last week the mining and metallurgical giant Metinvest suspended production at its main enterprises in the rebel-held east. The company is owned by Ukraine’s richest businessman, Rinat Akhmetov.

    Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the blockade was “destabilising the situation and hampering the process of settlement and de-escalation”.

    Ukraine and Western governments accuse Russia of sending reinforcements and heavy weapons to the rebels – something Moscow denies.

    • michael norton

      Rinat Akhmetov is the founder and President of System Capital Management (SCM), and is ranked among the wealthiest men in Ukraine. As of February 2015, he was listed as the 216th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of US 6.5 billion. There have been claims Akhmetov has been involved in organized crime.

      So twice as rich as The Scottish Donald.

    • Laguerre

      “So why is the European Union so very keen to get The Ukraine into the E.U.?”

      It isn’t, to give you the short answer. Only in the autocratic despotic image of the EU held in the foggier minds of Brexiters.

      • michael norton

        SCM Holdings
        Holding company
        System Capital Management or SCM is a major Ukrainian financial and industrial holding company with headquarters based in Donetsk in the east of the country. Wikipedia
        CEO: Oleg Popov (Jan 2006–)
        Headquarters: Donetsk, Ukraine
        Revenue: 23.47 billion USD (2012)
        Founded: 2000, Donetsk, Ukraine
        Total assets: 31 billion USD (2012)
        Subsidiaries: DTEK, United Coal Company, Astelit Mobile Communications

        So one company based in The Ukraine has an income of $24 billion/annum

        that’s one quite a good reason to lure The Ukraine into the E.U. net?

        • Martinned

          I think you need to get your story straight. Surely you wouldn’t want to tell me that Donetsk is in the Ukraine, rather than in the free people’s republic of Donetsk?

        • Republicofscotland

          The economic part of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement was signed on 27 June 2014 by the new President, Petro Poroshenko, who described this as Ukraine’s “first but most decisive step”
          towards EU membership.

          On January 1, 2016, Ukraine joined the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.

          • Laguerre

            The Ukrainians have as much chance of being admitted to the EU as Turkey, which is zero. It is the Yanks who want them both in the EU, and the US has just lost its major agent and spy in Brussels. It no longer has anyone at the top table in the EU.

      • michael norton

        Bulgaria has been admitted into the warm folds of the European Union, they have a GDP of $142 / annum

        so The Ukraine, could be worth having?
        If it wasn’t run by Nazis.

        • Laguerre

          It was Tony Blair who pushed for Eastern Europe to join in 2004. Britain now no longer has a voice, so there ‘s no-one to push for the US policy that Ukraine should join. The EU doesn’t want a financial white elephant, now does it?

      • Salford Lad

        Almost all the former SOVIET uNION satellites nation are now in the Eu. Membership of the Eu comes with the almost mandatory requirement for NATO membership. Montenegro is the latest addition.
        This enlargement of NATO is in contradiction of the Budapest Agreement , negotiated between Gorbachev and James Baker, during Poppy Bushes Presidency.
        The ring of NATO around Russia is now tightening, especially when they have Nuclear weapons situated in Romania,Italy,Germany and soon Poland..Dubya Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty unilaterally and also negated their ‘FIRST STRIKE;’Policy.
        The Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union has not existed since 1990, there is no real reason for NATO to exist, but is used by Washington as a cover for its regime change wars, and spreads the blame around.
        All the indications are that a Nuclear war is on the horizon. The Washington neo-cons are that crazy.

  • Dave

    So following Brexit an effective Labour opposition will now need to oppose immigration to avoid that exploitation from happening?

  • Republicofscotland

    Even the BoE are shitting themselves over a hard Brexit.

    “Charlotte Hogg appearing in front of MPs on the Treasury committee.”

    “The Bank of England’s incoming deputy governor, Charlotte Hogg, has said that Brexit poses the “most significant challenge” to monetary policymakers, and warned that UK consumer spending could fall much more sharply than the BoE currently expects.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/6ffc6d98-fdb1-11e6-96f8-3700c5664d30

    • michael norton

      RoS even Police Scotland are shitting themselves, they have lost £200 million and are about to sack 400 pigs to try and make ends meet.

      • michael norton

        Former S. N. P. minister says POLICE SCOTLAND Scotland is ‘in UTTER MELTDOWN’ amid ‘£200m black hole’
        SCOTLAND’S beleaguered police service was branded “an organisation in crisis” by a former SNP minister today amid warnings of a £200 million financial black hole. Four hundred to face the sack.

      • Republicofscotland

        400 police officers (not pigs) over 10 years Michael, and yes Police Scotland are cash strapped mainly because they’re the only force in Britain who pays VAT, some £70 million finds its way in to the Treasury’ coffers.

        Of course independence (a win win result )would put a end to that practice, by the British Treasury.

    • Bill Marsh

      This extract from Wikipedia shows where CH is coming from:

      “Hogg was born on 26 August 1970 in London, England.[1] Both her parents hold peerages in their own right: her father is the 3rd Viscount Hailsham, a former Member of Parliament and hereditary peer, and her mother is the Baroness Hogg, a life peer.[2] She was brought up on the family estate of Kettlethorpe Hall in Kettlethorpe, Lincolnshire.[3]

      She was educated at St Mary’s School, an all-girls independent school in Ascot, Berkshire.[1] She studied economics and history at Hertford College, Oxford and graduated from the University of Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.[1][4] From 1991 to 1992, having been selected as a Kennedy Scholar, she undertook further study at Harvard University.[1][3]”

  • David

    It seems that everyone who may disagree with Craig these days is branded a racist. Craig, because you are pretty obviously clueless about H+S in the work place, let me help you out.

    The H+S regulations are really easy to comply with, they are simple and basic. Its the insurance industry they has driven H+S improvements year on year. I speak from great personal experience. I can comply with the UKs H+S requirements very simply, but the insurance companies insist that you go well above and beyond what is required by law in order to get insurance for your business.

    When events are cancelled on H+S grounds it very rarely the actual H+S Executive that forces the cancellation, its the insurance requirements that far exceed the H+S requirements and so make the event impossible.

    Factory inspector in and out in 5 mins flat…. Insurance assessor is an all day affair and usually ends up with extra H+S being implemented, not because its a legal requirement, but because its an insurance requirement.

    Brexit will not lower wages, we have a national min wage for a start, that’s UK law not EU law. On top of that do you really not understand the supply and demand curve for labour? If the UK actually kicks out the 3 million or so immigrants there would over night be a massive labour shortage in the UK, to the tune of approx. 2 million jobs. That will drive wages UP as the supply and demand curve takes effect.

    Stick to talking about things you understand.

    Stick to talking about things you understand.

    • K Crosby

      Pay and conditions are dictated by the central government, not by a mythical market mechanism of supply and demand. Have you been asleep since 1970?

      • David

        What planet are you on ? The government dictates a MINIMUM WAGES, not a maximum one. If there are suddenly 3 million jobs with no one to fill them wages WILL increase significantly as companies battle for a scarce resource. Supply and demand applies to EVERYTHING.

        The government sets out a minimum level of conditions, to attract good staff companies already have to exceed that.

        Seems like its you that’s been asleep since 1970.

        • K Crosby

          The government dictates pay and conditions through permanent mass unemployment, repressive union laws, police state brutality, a fascist electoral system guaranteed to reproduce minority rule, corporate propaganda cartels, hereditary privilege, educational apartheid etc, blah….

    • J

      “Stick to talking about things you understand.

      Stick to talking about things you understand.”

      Interesting advice. Is that how you learn new things? After all, if he hadn’t said it, you wouldn’t have posted the very informative comment above.

    • Stu

      He understands supply and demand will drive wages in Poland up via ‘international competition’.

      But is in denial about the converse of that.

    • DavidH

      Agree with what you say about H+S. But Craig’s initial point is that he thinks the Tories have no intention of actually kicking out those 3 mil EU migrants, or even slowing the flow: “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”. They’ll just make sure the immigrants’ stay is at the whim of their employers, creating an even more exploitable workforce with even lower wages. Tories would need a brass neck to pull this off as they’ve just ridden a wave of anti-immigration to achieve Brexit, but I guess it’s not impossible. Farage might call them out, but maybe he’s fixed or won’t be around much longer anyway…

      • michael norton

        Heard Nigel Farage on the wireless, he is going to do his best to hold Theresa May tro account, she is doing O.K. but “people” might steer her of course.
        Hard and Fast is what the voters want, little delay.
        Stop all immigration, completely, at least for a time.
        Then WE can let in
        just those we want.
        Just like being a sovereign nation again.

        • Martinned

          From the looks of it Farage is too busy kissing Trump’s arse to hold anyone to acount. He isn’t even going after the European Commission anymore. (Though that doesn’t stop him collecting his MEP’s salary, of course.)

  • DomesticExtremist

    I do liek your blog and a lot of what you say, but on Brexit you seem to have tunnel vision, perhaps because for you it is inextricably linked to the holy grail of Scottish independence and is colouring your judgement.
    As a university educated career diplomat, you are probably unfamiliar with the life conditions and chances of the majority of English and Scottish workers.
    I would refer you to this essay that claims that the real racists are the liberal free-traders that use poorer EU and third world countries as meat stores whose unemployed can be freely imported in order to provide cheap labour in the rich west.
    Simply put, you cannot fix unemployment by importing the unemployed.

  • K Crosby

    Quite agree about what the Tories (Official) and their lieutenants in the PLP want from exit; Adam Tooze was eloquent about the flow model of labour created by Albert Speer, Himmler and Sauckel. Quite why any of this is called a change after the last 50 years of fascist shit-baggery by the British state I don’t know.

    Perhaps one day there will be a democratic electoral system so that all of us democrats will be able to vote.

  • michael norton

    Hungary says it is building a new fence at its southern border to keep out refugees and migrants.
    http://www.euronews.com/2017/02/27/hungary-plans-new-border-fence-to-stop-migrants
    A barbed wire barrier was erected in 2015 along its frontier with several Balkan neighbours as the country looked to stop people crossing into its territory. A Government spokesperson told euronews that this measure is needed as Europe might face a huge wave of refugees later this year.

    “It’s related to everything that is happening at the European borders, in that respect obviously it is related to the EU-Turkey agreement,” said Zoltan Kovacs.

    “It is related better to the fact that the estimated number of those who are still at the Western Balkans route is around 80 thousand, spring is coming. We see that around Europe, according to a German estimate, there are at least 6-6.5 million people waiting to enter the EU.”

    Batten down the hatches, the E.U. is under attack from migrants seeking low paid work.

    • J

      Migrants? Or refugees fleeing American/NATO/UK/EU war zones?

      Just come out and be honest MN you’re an unreconstructed racist arsehole who is too afraid to offend those you might possibly be able to lead down the garden path to actually come out of your particular closet and say it clearly.

      You don’t understand the world and to make sense of it you construct a narrative* of us and them regarding these ‘migrant’ others as a causative agent for some local ill for which your ideas are the solution. Nothing to be ashamed of. You’re an areshole. There are worse things in the world to be. The Tories do the same thing, not just with migrants, refugees and foreigners but single mothers, unemployed, benefit claimants and unmarried couples depending upon the tenor of the times. Very often, the jobless are jobless because those demonising them destroyed their jobs. Just as the refugees are so because the powers that be destroyed their countries. It’s a noble lineage of cynical opportunism that you’re mining so don’t be affronted by my calling you out. You really are a fully integrated member of society.

      *I’m fully aware it isn’t really your narrative and that you’re reiterating what others have said as if they are your words thoughts and insights. The problem is that there is a long heritage for what you are doing. If you really aren’t aware of that then you are indeed more dangerous than you appear.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile it’s not just the BoE who are shitting themselves, over a hard Brexit.

    “Nissan said it may “adjust” its business in the UK, depending on how Brexit turns out, potentially jeopardising 7,000 jobs at its Sunderland plant.”

    Every firm with a exit strategy (from Britain and Brexit) is thinking of fleeing this parochial wee island, and who could blame them. Would the last one out please turn the lights out, thank you.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-latest-news-nissan-uk-business-jobs-7000-employees-car-plant-sunderland-a7603721.html

    It looks like Theresa May taxpayer funded bung, to Nissan won’t cut it afterall.

    • michael norton

      I think you may find RoS that Nissan are to make the Lithium-ion batteries and electric cars in Sunderland.

      • Republicofscotland

        The British public are worried sick over Brexit, and who could blame them as the pound collapse yet again.

        “Surveys showed earlier on Tuesday that British consumer morale sunk lower in February as rising inflation following last year’s Brexit vote made householders warier about the outlook for their finances.”

        Meanwhile the BoE top dogs are so afraid of a hard Brexit, they may fall out.

        “Deputy Governor Charlotte Hogg said on Tuesday that her tolerance for above-target inflation would depend on events, and that she would be willing to stand up to Governor Mark Carney if she did not agree with him.”

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-sterling-open-idUKKBN167145?type=GCA-ForeignExchange

        The narrow minded parochial minds that have dragged us out of the EU, will leave Britain looking like a economic basket case.

    • michael norton

      If Nissan in Sunderland are now having second thoughts, this will have almost nothing to do with Brexit, hard or otherwise,
      they have known all the possible options for six months or so.
      It will be to do with Elon Musk and Gigafactory in Nevada and The Scottish Donald, make America great by imposing 1/3 tariffs
      for cars or parts made outside of America for import into America.
      https://cleantechnica.com/2017/02/27/nevada-tesla-hire-54-gigafactory-workers-first-estimated/
      Tesla are to bring out an under $35,000 dollar all American electric car, this year.

    • Loony

      …but how bad will things get by remaining in the EU?

      You could try to quantify matters, but I know that you wont.

      How many Greeks should be killed on the high alter of EU munificence?
      Is Spanish youth unemployment of around 50% – about right? To high? To low?
      Exactly how much money should be spent supporting Nazi’s in the Ukraine? How many hospitals should be closed, or by how much should benefits be cut in order to raise the money to send to Ukrainian Nazi’s?
      How many more refugees should be imported into Europe. As it is estimated that it costs 10 times more to look after refugees inside Europe than in neighboring safe countries then every refugee you want to import means that you ignore the plight of 10 others. So the question is how many refugees should be neglected and ignored in order for the EU to prove its virtue?

      Or could it be that Greeks, Spaniards and refugees are considered mere cannon fodder in the noble quest for Scottish independence. If supporting Nazi’s is a prerequisite of Scottish independence then so be it – it will not effect your moral purity..

      • michael norton

        That’s a bit strong Loony, RoS is only after a free Scotland, with the European Union, I am sure he does not want to give Scottish money to Ukraine Nazis or smash the Southern European countries into oblivion, they just want what they want, they want it very soon, no matter how much harm they do along the way.

        • Republicofscotland

          “I am sure he does not want to give Scottish money to Ukraine Nazis or smash the Southern European countries into oblivion,”

          __________

          Michael.

          Re your above commet, I don’t see you complain about Britain paying billions of pounds, to rent nukes from the Great Satan.

          Yet you go out your way to complain that Britain pays into the EU. As will Scotland on independence.

          Meanwhile (radio news)

          Russia and China veto the USA’s attempt to impose sanctions on Syria. It good to see that the Great Satan doesn’t always get its way.

      • Republicofscotland

        “How many Greeks should be killed on the high alter of EU munificence?”

        _______

        The Greeks have no one to blame for their woes except Greeks themselves. I do sympathise with their predicament, however they shouldn’t have even been admitted to the EU, there finances did not meet the criteria.

        It (Greece) already had huge debts because successive governments, spent way more than they collected in taxes. The scale of tax evasion was staggering – with tens of billions not being paid.

        Corruption and political favours were commonplace. While the Greek government’s accounts were as good as fakes. Balance sheets submitted to its European partners, often left out big spending projects.

        By joining the Euro, Greece was able to borrow money at lower interest rates. A lot of that cash ended up being used to pay higher salaries.

        This, in turn, helped push prices up in Greece and meant it was harder for Greek companies to make a profit. Wages and costs were higher which, meant it was less competitive than other European countries.

        So when the financial crisis hit, Greece was already in trouble.

        On the markets, banks and investors refused to lend Greece cash at normal rates, as they suspected the country wouldn’t pay them back.

        This forced Greece to go cap-in-hand to the EU, and IMF and ask for a bailout – twice. Ultimately, it was lent €240 billion Euros in long-term loans, at low interest rates. The private sector (international investors/businesses) wrote off nearly half the debt that Greece owed them.

        So you see Greece, is suffering at due to its own making.

        • Loony

          Good to know that Greeks are in a unique position of getting what they deserve. What makes Greece especially unique is the fact that all other suffering people around the world appear to be entirely innocent victims of Western imperialism.

          Sure there was corruption in Greece – but pretty minor stuff compared to the all pervading corruption that infects Germany. Notably Germans are not suffering as a consequence of their own corruption.

          I wonder why that could be – obviously nothing to do with the EU which acts to lionize German corruption and to punish Greek corruption without end.

        • c rober

          the only thing I can see omitted is the civil service ,with its full salary low pension age , decreased working hours , overtime structure , and two months holiday – outwith that of religious ones , and I think you already touched on it olympic level tax avoidance but not the full compliance to membership , ie protectionism.

          Its near identical to that of Portugal btw , the other problem in the EU – but with Italy to a lesser degree its problem once again is that of history , the banks themselves , ironic I know given that the meltdown in the EU , and the world , is on the backs of the banks…. doubly so in that it was one of them that went over Greeces books pre entry.

        • Burt (not bert)

          Bit unfair on the greeks. According to Yanis Varoufakis book ‘the weak shall suffer what they must?’, it seems pretty clear that the criteria were always inherently unfair in themselves and were part of the general fantasy land nature of the euro project itself. The euro could never work as supposedly intended because a lack of a surplus recycling mechanism (or something – read the book).

          It’s well known that the intention of many of the main people behind the whole plan was always to create a currency that would collapse due to lack of political integration – and then to come as a saviour with the ‘solution’ of political integration (a bit like the tory NHS policy) – this long term not-so-hidden goal of federal Europe, which might have seemed a great idea just after WW2, exemplifies the undemocratic ideology of many of the EU’s personnel – while I might have agreed with a federalised Europe if it was an open democratic goal (and wasn’t so obviously a corporate/neoliberal cartel), being manipulated by underhand billionaires and eurocrats puts me off for some reason.

  • Stu

    Craig is embarrassing himself here.

    “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.”

    This argument shows a complete lack of understanding of the history of the trade union movement without which there would be no such thing as progressive politics. The facts are that Eastern European immigration means that British workers have to compete against migrant workers who are happy to work long unsociable hours and live in cramped in accommodation often in the middle of nowhere. The result of this is that many jobs can be taken only by those who are willing to do nothing but work for months or even years then leave the country to benefit from the wages they have saved. These hospitality, production and agricultural jobs cannot be done by British people who want to raise a family, live in an acceptable standard of housing and be part of a community due to pay and conditions Eastern Europeans are willing to accept.

    The left has always opposed those who under cut other workers. Craig’s arguments are basically the arguments of the right wing Americans who promote the ironically named ‘right to work’ schemes. Did Craig argue for the rights of the Nottinghamshire miners to scab during the miners’ strike?

    • craig Post author

      Aaah, your argument depends entirely on an unproven assertion that trade unions are interested in progressive politics. It is for example the unions which prevent the Labour Party from opposing Trident – and have done for many decades. Indeed, anyone who has seriously studied the history of the Labour Party knows that, in general and over the long term, it is the unions that ensured its complicity with right wing economics.

      I support unionisation of the workforce. But I don’t support racist restrictions on those who can join the workforce and thus the unions.

        • craig Post author

          I have no idea Fred. Your obsession with the SNP is definitely unhealthy. I think you should consider seeking medical advice.

          • fred

            I have an idea and they did, in those exact words.

            So those would be restrictions on who can join the workforce and thus the unions based on someone’s nationality.

          • Stu

            I voted remain for but I would recommend you read the writings of Wolfgang Streek who is advocating a German Lexit.

      • Stu

        I didn’t say that the Unions support all progressive policies. I am saying progressive politics only exists at all due to the labour movement and trade unionism. Protecting their membership has always been the primary function of a trade union which necessarily excludes some but has proven to be of great benefit to society as whole. The Neoliberal, get on yer bike ethos you are espousing has been of benefit only to the super rich.

        Your entire argument is flawed. You say “the worker in say Poland – who would benefit both from opportunities in the UK and from international labour competition elevating wages there”. Surely if you realise that a labour shortage in Poland increases wages then you have to accept the converse?

        It is unfair on British unskilled workers to expect them to compete with young Eastern Europeans who are willing to sacrifice a few years working constantly with crap conditions. The Eastern European worker will do it for as long as they can stand it then return to rejoin their community and start a family with their savings. The British worker will be left with the same shit pay and conditions and a new batch of younger immigrants to compete with.

        “But I don’t support racist restrictions on those who can join the workforce and thus the unions.”

        Coming from a man who spent his career in the diplomatic service staffed exclusively by British citizens this is extremely ironic.

  • michael norton

    Sturgeon not happy, when is she ever?

    Nicola Sturgeon has accused the UK government of using Brexit to launch an attack on devolution.

    In a speech in Edinburgh, the first minister said that the Scottish Parliament faced a “grave threat” after “20 years of progress”.

    She also warned of a “powerful Westminster faction” which never accepted devolution and sees Brexit as an opportunity to “rein in” Holyrood.

    The UK government said Ms Sturgeon had completely misrepresented its position.

    Ministry of Truth

  • Arby

    Craig is right here. This is how neoliberal capitalism works. We know. It’s one of the things the people can expect (to not be blocked) if the Left fails to take advantage of the shock of a ‘yes to leaving’ vote. That was always the danger. And, in my view, the odds were always against the people prevailing here. The right is not only more prepared to take advantages of shocks, but it will create them and it will have policies already in place and their people in positions of power in order to implement those policies (which Naomi Klein so eloquently explains in “The Shock Doctrine”). So what will the people, and their champions do? ‘Pragmatically’ go along with tyranny?

  • Bob Apposite

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

    Writes the man who helped America “Trumpxit”.

    • Bob Apposite

      I wouldn’t believe anything Craig Murray wrote on any issue, frankly.
      Dude handed the Brexit forces a MAJOR victory by giving them America.

      • Bob Apposite

        First, he DOXed Hillary Clinton so she’d lose the election. TOTAL GAMERGATE MISOGYNY.
        Second, he put the Right Wing Military Police State back in power.

        You can’t possibly believe a word that comes out of his mouth on anything.

      • Bob Apposite

        First, he DOXed Hillary Clinton so she’d lose the election. TOTAL GAMERGATE MISOGYNY.
        Second, he put the Right Wing Military Police State back in power.

        You can’t possibly believe a word that comes out of his mouth on anything.

        • glenn_uk

          Do you have any idea what you’re saying? Just wondering.

          ( Btw – Just guessin’ here but I don’t think CM is a particularly hard-core gamer. Just sayin’ … )

        • Burt (not bert)

          Just because you’re against one thing doesn’t make you for another. Maybe a person would have thought that Donald trump didn’t need to be fought against be cause he was so ridiculous in himself (this is certainly what Hillary thought when she made efforts to make sure he was selected as her opponent). Hillary was the cause of her loss, and it seems the cause of it being trump who beat her – but it doesn’t matter who you voted for – the oligarchy always wins.

          To think that there is any major difference between the power structures that rule America because a minor spat between its factions seems a bit naïve – to me it seems it’s just a choice of whether they do Russia (clintonites) or China (Kissinger/trumpites) first.

      • lysias

        Craig was an official in the Foreign Office while Bill Clinton was president. I think he understands what the Clintons represent.

    • lysias

      You don’t like Trump, but what was the alternative? You speak as though Hillary would have been preferable.

  • Keith

    Not sure if you are being deliberately provocative here Craig: The “left wing” proponents of the protected national Labour market are actually just ill-disguised racists, as surly everyone “believes that the plutocrat paymasters of UKIP, the Tories and the corporate press, supported Brexit in order to raise wages, is certifiable”. But these are not the same things and Corbyn, for instance, knows that the EU is a neoliberal institution – so is he a racist demagogue you imply?

    As a remainer with reservations I find your deliberate black-white distinction counteractive and simplistic. And yes we are seeing the feral Tory policies intensified and vile English rhetoric displayed, which as an Englishman I despise but lets NOT divide the Left at all , please even if it plays out for issues of Scottish freedom which I support positively – do not use anyone in this instance.Stop making assumptions and think about what all of this means for us all

  • RobG

    Reading this thread has given me a headache (despite the many good points made).

    There is such confusion in politics at the moment.

    I’ll just make one point: after the Americans started bombing Syria in 2014 there was a refugee crisis of Biblical proportions, the worst in Europe since the Second World War (and by the way, America and its poodles are using depleted uranium munitions in Syria). I’m sure that many will remember those incredible tv images in 2015 which showed hoardes of people crossing fields and walking down highways in Europe. Merkel, Hollande, Cameron, not one of these European leaders stood up and criticised the Americans for causing such a catastrophe; in fact Merkel let millions of these refugees into Germany.

    Why do you think that European leaders remained silent about this still unfolding disaster?

  • Anon1

    More boll9cks from Craig, who has never had a real job in his life apart from allegedly shovelling coal when he was 14. It seems all Craig can write about these days is how racist everyone else is, even his own friends on the left.

    The decline of Craig as a political commenter can be traced to the exact moment he started pretending to be Scottish and moved up to Scotland, just before the referendum he was sure the Nats would win. It all went horribly wrong and Craig has been bitter ever since and increasingly deranged in his outlook as his maniacal desire for Scots independence clouds his judgment (or rather forces him to come out with complete nonsense) about almost everything.

    • Republicofscotland

      Says the racist xenophobe, who vigorously defends Israel and derides those who disagree with that stance.

      I think that kind of negates your credibility, on who’s deranged, don’t you think.

      • Anon1

        RoS

        I always ask you: give me the evidence of my alleged racism. You never can.

        You, on the other hand, are on the record as a H0locaust denier.

        • Republicofscotland

          I’m not the one claiming people are deranged, and maniacal, you however are.

          As for the racist remark, the emperor has no clothes is befitting for you. Everybody knows it but few care to mention it.

    • JOML

      “all Craig can write about these days…”
      I’m sure you mentioned this several times previously. I’d be repeating myself too if I suggested you did something else when Craig’s blog annoys you.

  • glenn_uk

    These people are presumably lefties, speaking on the vote in favour of Brexit a few days after it occurred:

    Communist party of France, nat. sec. Pierre Laurent:
    [ The event was ] “a new shock revealing the magnitude of popular rejection
    of the neoliberal EU.
    “The time has come to rebuild the EU, to build a union of peoples and of free
    nations, sovereign and associated, facing human progress and social justice.”

    Portuguese Communist Party central committee rep Joaoa Ferreira:
    …”an event of tremedous political magnitude for the people of the United
    Kingdom and also for the peoples of Europe.
    “It represents a far-reaching change in the process of capitalist integration in
    Europe and a new threshold of struggle.”

    South African Communist Party spokeman Alex Mashilo:
    “We are witnessing the foundations of European imperialism being rattled.
    “The EU has been found wanting because it serves the interests not of all the
    people but the imperialist bourgeoisie of Europe.”

    There are numerous more examples of the same.

  • RobG

    On the Scottish side of things, here’s the latest episode of Sputnik, hosted by George Galloway and opening with an interview with Robert McGregor…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaVU5JbYB9k

    I give the link because it’s so rare for Scottish issues to be discussed openly/honestly in the MSM, even on Russia Today. I’ll give my usual caveat, in that I have no ties to Scottish independence but wish those well north of the border who want to break free.

    George Galloway is a unionist. Galloway is also in favour of Brexit, as am I and a number of others on the left (as shown by this comment thread).

    • Republicofscotland

      Rob.

      I watched that cringeworthy onesided interview the other day. I like Galloway, for his stance on Iraq, but Galloway thinks that every nation on earth deserves independence, except Scotland – on that I have to disagree.

      As for McGregor, he comments for the Scotsman, a staunch unionist rag, that’s lost thousands of readers due to its anti-Scottish stance.

    • michael norton

      Rob G just watched that very ell informed Sputnik video.
      Scotland, then The Ukraine, how totally topical.
      George wants Inderef2 as he is sure the S. N. P. will FLOP,
      currency against, Economic against and the European Union Elites are shitting themselves about the imminent collapse of the Eurozone.

  • Velofello

    The work visa procedure described by Craig is the way the Middle East countries operate. Employers apply for a block quota of incoming workers and these workers are sponsored by said employer who takes custody of their passports on arrival, and so the employer has the power/authority to decide when/if his employees can leave on vacation or permanently. So yes, Brexit will drive down wages as UK- hopefully, rUK – tradesmen and women citizens have to compete with the low wage incoming block quota workers. I suppose it’s a sort of return to serfdom, for the immigrant block quota workers, and for the lower skilled UK workers, but that’s Brexit for you.

    Of course the Daily Mail, Express will regale you all through the coming post-Brexit years with stories of valiant Brits who work 20 hours a day to build a business, etc etc. But the UK wealthy are simply going to gain more wealth and control over the population. Young professionals will do OK, as they do in the Middle Eastern countries, the UK wealthy need them.

    Middle East, I’ve been there, however I had a business visa, free to come and go as I pleased, young professional you see.

    • Laguerre

      It is not the way “Middle Eastern” countries operate. It is the way Saudi and the Gulf states operate. There are lots of other countries which don’t work that way.

  • bevin

    It is important to understand that there are two major causes of the immigration of working people to the UK. The first is well understood- they come from places which have been torn apart by wars. They are refugees. To deny them sanctuary is wrong, to deny the victims of our own governments’ policies sanctuary is impossible.

    Most references here, however are to migrants, for the most part from eastern and southern Europe (from Ireland too) who seek work because neo-liberal governments, obedient to TU diktats, are, firstly keeping wages down (in the hope of attracting investment) thus making emigration attractive to skilled workers in particular. And, secondly, using draconian currency and monetary policies to control inflation by creating unemployment. The Baltic countries are particularly good examples of governments refusing to invest in infrastructure or industrial growth driving their young people abroad. A significant proportion of the Estonian work force works in Finland I believe.
    The old EU countries find the flood of cheap biddable, non union, labour is just the ticket for its capitalists, which is why they call critics ‘racists. The new EU countries delight in the export of independent, young, potentially angry workers who, once abroad can be counted on to make regular remittances to their homeland-invisible exports of the most profitable kind.
    The truth is that most of the Poles, Rumanians and others currently wallowing in the delights of bad jobs, low wages and shitty living conditions would much rather be back home. They would much rather that their own economies, instead of being chopped up, privatised and ‘oligarched’, were developed.
    It is a curiosity of the history of the EU that economic planning, which is where it began, has been given up leaving the invisible hand of the speculator and the financier to decide what is best.
    And that is the biggest reason why the EU is dying: it does not deliver for the great mass of people. It is great for banks and corporations, a paradise for bureaucrats and trough feeders, a great convenience for playboys and idlers but it is becoming a hell of insecurity, fear of the future and compulsory rents for the working people.

  • DavidH

    It’s not racist, or even “narrowly nationalist”, to say that British government policies should benefit British people first rather than Polish, or any other people. That’s just common sense. Charity is a wonderful thing, and in many ways helping to create a fairer, more prosperous world is to our benefit also. But most of the British government’s work in building roads, hospitals, creating business opportunities and supporting the unfortunate is, and should be, aimed at improving the condition of those that elected them, the British. There are still left wing, right wing, racist and non-racist arguments about how to achieve that, but it is not fundamentally racist or a betrayal of left wing principles to say that for the British government, spending resources and designing laws to improve the condition of the British worker should be a priority over improving the lot of the Polish. Or the Chinese, or anybody else…

    • michael norton

      The most likely scenario is a rogue officer tried to take a shot to take out Hollande, and he was shot by another officer, slightly deflecting the shootist’s aim.

      The French are trying to make out this was nothing.

  • Stu

    Lord Lloyd Webber has made an appearance in the House to attempt to deny protections for EU citizens resident in the UK.

    What a charmer he is.

  • Sid F

    Once again Craig shows the brilliant political insight that even the SNP wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

  • Old Mark

    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.

    Craig is indulging in Remainer paranoia at it worst in this lamentable post, and the assumptions on which the extract above relies are patently false.

    For example, in the nursing and social care sectors EU and non EU (eg Filipino) immigrants often work side by side, and the non EU workers get the same rates of pay, and are employed under the same conditions, as EU workers. After Brexit a care worker from an EU country admitted on a work visa, as opposed to the EU ‘free movement’ provisions, will be in the same boat as his/her Filipina or Indian co worker, and the minimum wage and other conditions would continue to apply. The main difference EU workers will experience post Brexit won’t relate to working conditions or wages, but on their rights, presently unrestricted, on bringing over their families to join them. Indeed, even under EU free movement provisions at present, EU workers in the seasonal agricultural sector usually aren’t accompanied by their families, so when visas are granted for EU workers in this sector (as there will be, in the many thousands) there will very likely be no material change in the circumstances of their employment at all.

  • Aussie F

    Broadly agree with Craig’s comments, but with some qualifications. Firstly, no one really benefits from ‘international labour competition,’ in fact outside of the idealised fantasies of ‘liberal’ economists it doesn’t exist. The global corporate system is not a ‘free market.’ It’s a highly structured, protectionist system designed by and for the corporate system. Conventional assumptions are intellectually flawed in this context.
    Secondly, the absence of a surplus recycling mechanism in the EU – and the constant imposition of neo-liberal policies – is destroying the economies of the ‘weaker’ accession nations and creating a pool of dispossed labour that is forced to move in search of work.
    This is not a desirable or progressive outcome.

  • michael norton

    Great news on good jobs for The Highlands
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-39131491
    The new owners of the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter yard plan to construct a “huge” automotive manufacturing plant at the site.

    Liberty British Aluminium took over the running of the Lochaber Smelter near Fort William last year.

    The new project would involve the creation of a steel rolling mill and facilities for making alloy wheels.

    The planned £450m investment would also include the provision of new housing and other services for workers.

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