Racism and Authoritarianism Reach Climax Together in the Brexit Bill 216

There is in practice a link between racism and authoritarianism. You don’t get many racist anarcho-syndicalists. You don’t get many anti-racist fascists. It doesn’t just work at the extremes – the “Alf Garnett” caricature of a devotion to the monarchy, strong central authority and the military, accompanying racism is a recognisable truth.

Yesterday, we got the joyous union of both tendencies, as Westminster passed the Brexit Bill which simultaneously promised to keep pesky foreigners out of Britain and remove centuries of equally pesky checks on executive power.

There is no motivation for Brexit other than racism. I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here. Those who consider themselves “left wing” like to frame this racism as a desire to protect British workers from wage competition – a peculiarly nationalistic concern for the working class of one nation only, with the chance for working class people from other places to better themselves completely ignored.

This is an extremely wealthy country. Yet many people are terribly poor. The extremely rich have through mass media promoted right wing populism diverted the blame away from the 1% who suck out all the wealth, and on to poor immigrants. The 1% are chuckling at the gullibility of much of the population they have kept in deprivation and propaganda-fed ignorance. Fortunately new media opens the possibility they may not chuckle long.

As I have repeatedly said, it is indisputable that immigration grows the economy and this effect is positive for wages, vastly out-weighing any short term effect from increased labour supply. If immigration damaged wages, the USA and Germany would have the lowest paid workforces in the world. The argument is plainly a nonsense. Not only does immigration in itself inject dynamism into an economy, EU immigration is linked to free flow of capital and goods from which the UK economy has vastly benefited.

If you do accept that immigration from Poland to the UK decreases wages in the UK because of increased labour supply, then you must in logic accept that it also increases wages in Poland due to decreased labour supply. It is a peculiar kind of socialism that objects to wage levels being raised in the country where they are lower. It is a “socialism” which values the working class in one country only. It is, to use the precisely correct term, national socialism. Which is why its going hand in hand with last night’s vote to remove all caps on executive power, is of a piece.

Popular racism is the only glue May has to hold together some kind of support after her dismal election performance. That is why she attempted to shore it up by the official “leak” of the Home Office draft document on how to implement a ridiculously hard-line anti-immigrant policy and strangle the economy. The government spends billions on security and today every printed or electronic copy of a classified government document bears secure and hidden signs that show its full provenance. They have extraordinary tools at their disposal to catch the “leaker”, but I guarantee you will never hear any more on this one.

Evidently pandering to the racist vote was more important to the Tories than success in the Brexit negotiations. Indeed, I concluded long ago that the most likely explanation of the Tories’ extraordinary approach to the Brexit negotiations is that they wish them to fail. Nothing I have seen since has caused me to reconsider. Having been clearly told “no cherry-picking” by the EU, the British government has replied it wishes to remain in science and education, trading standards, intelligence-sharing, defence and foreign policy mechanisms (to name but a few), and to retain its market access and open borders, while ending free movement of people and having its own exterior trade deals. This is the most unrealistic negotiating position it is possible to imagine. FCO diplomats are utterly baffled, and rigorously side-lined.

So having ramped up the racism, last night we had the authoritarianism.

Regulations under this section may make any provision that could be made by an Act of Parliament (including amending this Act).

That is one of the quite astonishing clauses that MPs last night voted through in surrendering the entire legislative power Parliament gained over 600 years, to the Executive. If the Act is held to limit the scope of that executive legislative power in any way, the government can simply make a provision to amend the Act to remove that limitation.

In decades to come, society will have recovered and historians will be scratching their heads over why decent people failed to stop this madness at this very obvious tipping point. To which the answer is, because they were bewitched by the attraction of simple xenophobia. They supported it as long as this “strong government” promised to reduce immigration. The axis of racism and authoritarianism once again attracted the weak-minded to be manipulated by the psychotic.


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216 thoughts on “Racism and Authoritarianism Reach Climax Together in the Brexit Bill

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  • 1234

    “If immigration damaged wages, the USA and Germany would have the lowest paid workforces in the world. The argument is plainly a nonsense.”

    An example of some US wages: “We now incarcerate more than 2.2 million people, with the largest prison population in the world, and the second highest incarceration rate per capita. Our prison populations remain racially skewed. With few exceptions, inmates are required to work if cleared by medical professionals at the prison. Punishments for refusing to do so include solitary confinement, loss of earned good time, and revocation of family visitation. For this forced labor, prisoners earn pennies per hour, if anything at all”.


    Minimum wage in US $7.25 or £5.47 per hour in our money. So that’s $290 or £218 for a forty hour week. $15080 or £11379 per year. The official poverty rate in the US is 14.5% or 45.3 million people. The average sales price of new homes in February 2017 is US$390,400 (£294,478) or 30 times a forty hour week yearly wage.

    America’s not exactly a good example.

    • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

      Actually, it is not.
      It puts a downward pressure on wages.
      Will come back with the data, studies, etc and so forth later on.
      Immigration has a net cost and a net positive, unfortunately, it has cost the UK billions.
      It is not an excuse to stop immigration yet better fiscal policy is needed.

  • Republicofscotland

    Strange how some Labour Westminster MP’s backed the Brexit bill knowing fine well, the damage (by power grab) it will do to the Labour government in Wales.

    Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon, have said they will not give parliamentary consent on the EU Withdrawal bill. A constitutional crisis is looming.

  • Geoffrey

    Hopefully,after Brexit the disgusting Brits and other northern Europeans that pollute the Iberian peninsular will be sent home as retaliation. Unfortunately, I think it is very unlikely as they vomit too much money,and employ too many people.

  • mrjohn

    There is an interesting graph in this article which suggests to me that the impact of EU citizens working in the UK is being overstated by both sides.


    Where we are told that without EU workers agriculture will collapse, the actual percentage of EU citizens working in agriculture is around 5.4% of the total workforce in that and related industries.

    Healthcare, 4.4%, doesn’t sound like hospitals will grind to a halt.

    The biggest percentage is “Households as employers : 17.9%.

    Coming from a modest background this one took a while to click, I guess officially it means nannies, maids, gardeners, etc basically servants for the well heeled. However I suspect this category hides a less respectable side to the UK’s economy, similar to the “entertainer” visa in Japan.

    Most of the numbers seem to be well within the churn of the workplace. This does not seem like a huge mountain to climb in two years. Understaffed immigration offices will be busy issuing & renewing permits.

    As a long term non resident & economic migrant myself, I don’t think Brexit was about immigration, I think it was about an out of touch establishment giving a disenfranchised electorate one chance to throw a spanner in the works, and they took it. The arguments on both sides were based on ideas of self interest. The EU is not about self interest, it is about mutual interest. The “Remain” position was lost at that point, so people opted for the spanner. I would have done the same had I had a vote.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      As a long term non resident & economic migrant myself, I don’t think Brexit was about immigration, I think it was about an out of touch establishment giving a disenfranchised electorate one chance to throw a spanner in the works, and they took it. The arguments on both sides were based on ideas of self interest. The EU is not about self interest, it is about mutual interest. The “Remain” position was lost at that point, so people opted for the spanner. I would have done the same had I had a vote.

      That’s certainly why I voted, and will continue to support, exit. Against my own clear self-interest, incidentally. Nations need borders.
      Much as I like Polish pork products, which are probably the best in the world.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Ba’al Zevul,

        “Much as I like Polish pork products, which are probably the best in the world.”

        I happen to know a very English pig farmer. In fact I met him on Saturday at a very traditional Live English musical event.

        He would certainly argue with that.

        He doesn’t stink. In fact he is very posh (well compared to the likes of me and Craig Murray(lower working class in my case.)

        He doesn’t supply the likes of Sainsburys…More the likes of Waitrose or was it Morrisons – now being flogged by Amazon.

        I did take some photos of very rare pigs last week at a Childrens Farm, which I suspect used to be a British POW camp.

        You have to do these things when you are a Grandad.


        • Ba'al Zevul

          Should it disappear, I will genuinely miss my local Polish shop for one thing if no other, its amazing variety of salami-type sausage. I’m not a huge fan of the British banger, and particularly not of the designer bangers the foodies like.
          Digression ends.

          • Tony_0pmoc

            Ba’al Zevul,

            I have never had any problem with The Polish. I grew up with a large number of “Polish” people in Oldham (using Craig Murray’s definition of him being Scottish). I also worked for several years with a very nice original “indigenous” Polish Olympic Gymnast in London. If I hadn’t have already been engaged to be married to a very English Lancashire girl, it is entirely possible that my children would be ethnically half Polish, rather than about 25% Scottish.

            I have to admit that English sausages are crap and make you fat. I suspect Scottish ones are no better, and certainly can’t compete with Lancashire Black Pudding.



      • SA

        The most delicious of processed pork meats are also a specialty of Italian cuisine. But all these should be consumed in moderate amounts as there are some indications that overindulgence may be bad for your health.

      • John

        You need to ask the Guardian about the details of the numbers, not me.
        You raise an interesting point, people quote figures but we often do not know how meaningful they are. We also tend to seize the numbers or examples which confirm our position, and it possible this bias begins during the actual data collection and parsing.

    • SA

      “Healthcare, 4.4%, doesn’t sound like hospitals will grind to a halt.”

      These figures mean nothing. The numbers should look at the distribution within the professions. If most of these are highly qualified consultants and others at the top of the profession then a collapse could indeed happen if we can’t recruit such staff. They take years to train and don’t grow on trees money trees or otherwise.

      Given that also in professions such as nursing there is also a current difficulty in cover and recruitment, 3-4 % sudden reduction could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  • Patrick McGuinness

    ” I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here. ”

    Please allow me to be the first unless other responders have beaten me to it. I voted leave, and this was entirely due to reasons which can be loosely described as ‘anti-globalisation’. If you wish to watch one of the interviews of Paul Craig Roberts videos on youtube, you can find a lot more detail. Here is one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUfc1_I-Bpk

    My own lineage is itself heavily East European, so I think I can fairly dismiss any idea that your generalisation applies to any degree in my case.

    I know there are others who voted for the same reasons that I did, as they are friends. However one thing we all discovered was that declaring a ‘leave’ vote publicly was far from expedient.

      • Stu

        That is an ignorant deflection.

        One of the main purposes of the First International as directed by Marx was to ensure that foreign workers couldn’t be imported as strike breakers.

  • Annmarie Palmer

    I am afraid. I was not born until the 1950s so did not experience the effects of right wing authoritarian regimes. But the echoes of that madness were present in my childhood. Facism in Europe was a recent political reality and World War II and its aftermath left its scars on my grandparents and parents generation.

    It seems we have forgotten too quickly how destructive it is for all societies, when we begin to scapegoat people who we perceive to be different because of nationality, colour, or creed.

    In this world we only do well when we recognise the commonality of the human condition. But good people are at risk of being silenced by the anger and hate around them. Then all the rights and freedoms we value will be lost as those who spread hate and division take over our political institutions and the power invested in them.

    Absoloute power corrupts absolutely. Good people need to resist the imposition of silence, speak out, and resist.

    • 1234

      I spent a lot of my time in the last few years trying to tell people about the far right and real nazi’s in the Ukraine and was told to shut up by lefties who hated Putin because of the rubbish they read in the Guardian and that was promoted on the BBC. Here’s some of how the EU supports them.


      I am called a racist for wanting to leave the EU by remainers who were happy to remain ignorant of what was happening in the Ukraine.

      • Martinned

        Yes, I can see that you would be outraged that the EU is doing what it can to help the democratically elected government of Ukraine resist invasion by foreign armies. Who wouldn’t be?

        • Loony

          It is a matter of undisputed public record that the legitimate government of Ukraine was overthrown in a non democratic coup that was orchestrated and funded by the US in association with its EU vassal.

          If Ukraine has been invaded then how come Russian armor is not in Kiev? If the Russians are so weak and militarily inept as to fail to successfully invade Ukraine then why is NATO wasting so much time, effort, and treasure in “defending” against the Russian threat?

          The more that people like you post arrant nonsense then the more that open minded people will come to see the EU for the true evil that it is. You do more to undermine the legitimacy of the EU than any reasoned tract could ever accomplish and for that I thank you.

        • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

          You have absolutely no understanding of the Ukraine situation Martinned.

          If Russia is supporting the separates of Eastern Ukraine, for one, is reasonable seeing that it is their people and ethnic identity. The Eastern conflict was set alight by the illegal coup d’etat in the Ukraine.

          Many Ukrainian Nationals also agree the regions of the Donbass should be recognised as a separate territory, That you would understand if you know the makeup of the Ukraine and how over the years more territories were annexed creating a conflict of culture and identity of the country. Some of it should also belong to Poland.

          So much of your writing is bluster; you mention Iran, then complain when examples are given against their sovereign rights. Then have the audacity to say it does not matter that external actors destabilised the Ukraine. It is relevant; it is also relevant that it is a civil war. It is called a civil war by all sides, and Russia has not accepted the region or separates demands as then it would be expected actually to commit. It may have a rat line into the area, although, it is speculation for than proven even if more than likely.

          The Ukraine has had an uneasy peace since the end of WWII. You would also know that The CIA programs spanned some four decades designed to destabilise the ethnic Russian regions. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups like the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction of the UHVR, the ZP-UHVR, a foreign-based virtual branch of the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence services. The early CIA operation to destabilise Ukraine, using Ukrainian exiled agents in the West who were infiltrated into Soviet Ukraine, was codenamed Project AERODYNAMIC. AERODYNAMIC continued into the 1980s as operation QRDYNAMIC.

          The Orange Revolution and the Maidan Revolutions both had to back from NGO’s and factions from the same elements that have been working away in the country for decades. However, sure, the Russian people of Eastern Ukraine that have been marginalised by the Ukranian government, including the Language taken away, documentation changed to Ukranian (not as widely understood as you might think) even street signs changed. The Ukranian Government went on what can be no better described as an ethnic cleansing of culture. You think these same people did not start a civil war after the Maidan Revolution.

          Historically people have incubated this conflict going back years

          John McCain was a big driving force for regime change against Yanukovych, but McCain’s 2008 campaign chief’s lobby firm, Davis Manafort, managed Yanukovych’s political campaigns and his lobbying efforts in the US. Anthony Podesta, the brother of President Obama’s senior advisor John Podesta, is another Yanukovych lobbyist; John Podesta was the chief of Obama’s 2008 transition team.

          The infamous telephone conversation

          An intercepted and leaked telephone conversation between US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, which took place during the third week of December 2013, was posted to YouTube on 4 February 2014. In it they discuss their preferred candidates for ministerial positions in a new Ukrainian government. Nuland reveals both her own and US contempt for the EU in her reply to Pyatt suggesting their preferences might not go down too well in EU circles; “F*ck the EU…” she replies. In the event, she got her way with her preferred candidate for prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (“Yats” as he was dubbed in the conversation) being appointed by the insurrectionists on 21 February 2014 and being immediately recognised by the US and a subservient EU.

          Pando: Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with the US


          There is no doubt that former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a violent coup d’etat. George Friedman, Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA,’ has even called Yanukovych’s overthrow the most blatant Coup in History’ Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA,’ Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’ Apparently, the current Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, also admitted that it was a coup. Ukraine’s Pres. Poroshenko Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was a Coup

          You think none of this created the civil war between ethnic Russian Eastern Ukraine and the very violent factions, of the Ukrainian Government and forces.

          Here is a handy map for you to understand the ethnic and regional makeup https://goo.gl/wrppZa of the Ukraine. Political split of regions https://goo.gl/wd8sQK

          It is a civil war –

          • Martinned

            If Russia is supporting the separates of Eastern Ukraine, for one, is reasonable seeing that it is their people and ethnic identity.

            Yeah, let me stop you right there.

            The claim that Russia has some kind of special right or responsibility towards ethnically Russian people/Russian speakers who are not Russian citizens nor inhabitants of Russia is contrary the most basic principles that underlie international relations, and have done since the Peace of Westphalia at least. Russia does not own these people, and Russia does not get to send its army in to help them even if these people asked to be helped. The ethnic composition of Ukraine is entirely irrelevant to the question whether Russia gets to invade another sovereign nation.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Nevermind the fact it is a big “if” as many independent journalists on the ground note the lack of Russian factions and is the separates. But your comment smacks of hypocrisy; if the US had not instigated and backed the illegal coupe none of this would have manifested. I am glad to see you support the killing of men, women and children from the Ukraine factions.

          • Kempe

            Go back a step.

            The Ukrainian government had agreed a multi-billion Euro deal with the EU. Yanukovych went against parliament and unilaterally tried to sign a deal with Russia he’d negotiated in secret with Putin. He’d clearly acted undemocratically, exceeded his authority and gone against the will of the elected parliament. Of course he had to go.


            In one of the most misquoted transcripts ever Nuland was venting her frustration at the EU dithering and being, as ever, totally useless in a crisis.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Not only do you miss the point, but you also misrepresent the factions. Why do you miss the point, because it is up to the Ukraine to sort their own politics without NGO and direct intervention by factions with interests from the US. He was on his way out anyway, but forcing the issue created the environment that led to more problems. The stereotypical playbook whenever the US and NGO’s interfere in other countries.

            Stepping back to 2004

            The blatant falsifications, combined with an extremely well-funded and coordinated protest movement, have brought us where we are today, gearing for another round. The protests have come under fire as an American-funded coup, particularly in the Russian media. And there’s some truth to it — the US has been bringing in Serbs and Georgians experienced in non-violent revolution to train Ukrainians for at least a year. One exit poll — the one finding most heavily in favor of Yushchenko — was funded by the US. The smoothness and professionalism of the protest, from the instant availability of giant blocks of Styrofoam to pitch the tents on to the network of food distribution and medical points, is probably a result of American logistical planning. It’s certainly hard to imagine Ukrainians having their act together that well. The whole orange theme and all those ready-made flags also smack of American marketing concepts, particularly Burson-Marstellar. ~ The Exiled – Jake Rudnitsky

            There is no good and bad side in Ukraine politics they all shift sides and that is part of the problem. The country has always been about two Ukraines, East and West.

            Everyone looking for a proxy side to support or oppose in the Ukraine political dynamic will be disappointed. Ukraine politics go by their own rules. Today’s neoliberal ultranationalist could be tomorrow’s Kremlin ally, and visa-versa. Just look at what happened to the Orange Revolution—nothing. To wit: http://exiledonline.com/ukraine-the-gogolean-bordello/

            a) One Orange Revolution leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, wound up turning against her partner Viktor Yushchenko and allying with Yanukovych to strip Yushchenko of presidential powers; later, Tymoshenko allied with the Kremlin against Yushchenko; now she’s free from jail and the presumptive leader of the anti-Yanukovych forces.

            b) The other Orange leader—the pro-EU, anti-Kremlin Viktor Yushchenko—wound up allying with pro-Kremlin Yanukovych to jail Yulia Tymoshenko.

            c) John McCain has been the big driving force for regime change against Yanukovych, but McCain’s 2008 campaign chief’s lobby firm, Davis Manafort, managed Yanukovych’s political campaigns and his lobbying efforts in the US.

            d) Anthony Podesta, brother of President Obama’s senior advisor John Podesta, is another Yanukovych lobbyist; John Podesta was the chief of Obama’s 2008 transition team.

            The Ukranian people just cannot get a break and now Poroshenko has delivered a country to even more corruption. Plus he has more accountability for the east than any other faction.

            In little over a year, living standards in Ukraine have fallen by half, the value of the currency has slumped by more than two-thirds, and inflation has skyrocketed to 43%. Yet, even as the economy has collapsed, the government has insisted on economic policies that can only be termed suicidal.

            By tearing up contracts with Russia in 2014, Ukraine’s defence and aviation industries lost 80% of their income. Once the pride of Kiev, airline manufacturer Antonov was liquidated and it assets transferred to another state-owned conglomerate, while rocket engine producer Yuzhmash is now working just one day a week.

            By severing banking ties with Moscow, Kiev has denied itself investment and a vital economic lifeline – the remittances sent back home by zarobitchane, Ukraine’s migrant workers. Up to 7 million Ukrainians have sought work abroad, sending back $9bn in 2014 – three times the total foreign direct investment Ukraine got last year.

            Reckless government borrowing has exacerbated the problem. The government was able to write off 20% of its Eurobond debt last October, allowing it to negotiate for the next IMF loan tranche which was expected in December but still not been received.

            But the draconian terms imposed for this small beer are often overlooked. Ukraine will be repaying this debt until 2041, with future generations giving western creditors 40% of the value of any GDP growth over 4%, should it ever reach that level. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/09/ukraine-needs-russia-nicolai-petro

            When will people cop on and understand that the US/NATO only makes things worse for countries they have no business meddling in.

        • SA

          Have you heard of Pravi Sektor. Have you heard of the snipers in maidan who killed police and demonstrators alike. Have you heard of nuland boasting of how she chose these democratically elected leaders of this democratic Ukraine?

          • SA

            As to the comment by Kempton, Yanukovych was negotatiating with the EU on the eve of a coup. But in your opinion if a head of government deviates from the will of the people, however that can be measured, should be removed by a coup, is a bit of a bizarre answer to restore democracy.

          • Kempe

            Yanukovych lost his nerve and fled to exile in Russia on 21st Feb 2014. The following day the Ukraine parliament voted overwhelmingly to remove him from office.

            I think if a British prime minister had gone against the decision of parliament and the people for their own gain you’d be in the front line of the resulting demonstration/riot.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Was Yanukovich terminated according to the Constitution, no
            Were all the people unhappy with the shift from EU funding to Russian, unequivocally, no.
            Is it fair that a country with historic ties to Rusia is allowed to make their own destiny and influential partner Russia, yes.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            More to the point how on earth does a Brexit debate end up about Ukraine. Is it some kind of new extrapolation of Godwin’s law.

  • shugsrug

    There is every chance that many people who voted for Brexit were motivated by racism. To move from that position to it being the only reason is I think going too far.
    It may be that some people who voted for Scottish independence did so motivated by racism, but I am sure others had alternative reasons, in no way based on race.
    That said, it has provoked some good arguments.
    Keep up the posts.

  • Liz

    In reply to Techno about supermarkets throwing out food : if the EU has forbidden it, how come in France we have a recent law that makes this illegal, out of date food does get donated to those who need it?

  • Uzbek in the UK

    “and historians will be scratching their heads over why decent people failed to stop this madness at this very obvious tipping point.”

    Probably just like historians still are scratching their heads on why Germans failed to stop the madness in 1930th?

    • K Crosby

      The Germans rejected the nazi partei at every free national election and even managed it in the half-bent March 1933 election. Lots of Germans fought them in the streets too. That’s a bit more creditable than in Britain, because Weimar Germany had a democratic electoral system.

  • james

    and what benefits accrue to the corporations with the flow of immigrants?? might that be a part of it? i suppose everyone is supposed to glory in the trickle down effect that reagan was known to have suggested as the result of the neo-liberalism he and maggy were fond of promoting.. why even have borders, when you can have corporations calling all the shots???

  • Loony

    In late July Greece issued 10 year bonds at a yield of 4.95%

    Today Austria has issued 100 year bonds at a yield believed to be around 1.56%

    Ask yourselves how this is likely to work out. How can Greece ever possibly recover with a cost of finance so far above that of its “partner” countries.

    How can anyone possibly make money by lending it to the Austrians for a longer period of time than Austria has existed as a country? Who will lose out here? Why step forward anyone that lives long enough to expect any kind of pension and who does not qualify for a gold plated, index linked EU guaranteed pension.

    Maybe the bond markets are racist.

  • luxetveritas

    you equate racism with nationalism
    they are not the same thing
    very facile, but not convincing

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I’m not sure how much of this blog you’ve read, but generally speaking you can take it that English nationalism -all of it – is racist, while Scottish nationalism -all of it -isn’t. It is racist for England to object to the EU. It is not racist for the Scots to object to England. Discussing the problems arising from poorly-controlled economic migration into England is racist. No Scot (especially in the SNP, even in private) ever discusses the white settler population of the Highlands. I hope that’s clear enough for you. Now read on and enjoy.

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        While i recognise your point, English racism and Scottish racism are not the same thing.
        English racism is directed more generally, and is a product of the colonial history and the class system, (a remnant of the feudal system).It is a complex mix of different discriminatory systems. The racism of a crusty ancient colonial or feudal detritus, is not the same as the racism of a working class Yorkshire resident resentful of the influx of Asian people.
        There is a connection to nationalism but ‘England’ nationalism is less culturally defined than say Irish or Scottish nationalism.This is largely due to the greater population and earlier adoption of modernity in England.The folk culture of England is rather contrived and more distant than in Scotland or Ireland.Language is important and the persistence of language differences has a connection to the qualities of different nationalisms. I always think it is a shame that the indigenous culture of England, which was once very rich and varied, was overwhelmed by the expansive nature of the economic activity(colonial ism) which placed greater emphasis on compliance to the needs of capitalist industry and suppressed cultural artefacts, customs and extended familial connections that were likely to be inconvenient to the profitability of mass production systems and the industrial technocracy . Technical society is frequently about supplanting a pre-existing system or way of doing things which has evolved over a long time and has much acquired much ‘cultural’ capital.Technical innovations tend to sweep this developed, attached culture away.
        Same thing happened in Scotland but perhaps to a lesser degree, due to remoteness or deliberate marginalisation by the mainstream ( mainly english power) so more of the cultural and tribal connections and national/local identity persisted.
        Scottish racism is to a smaller degree based on that compared to english racism, and also based on a ‘mythology’ (to a considerable extent) of past oppression conducted by the ‘English’.(actually the collapse of the clan system was to a large extent due to their own clansmen/tribal leaders deciding to live in London, become anglified where it was warmer and more fun but they needed to(dishonestly) liquidate their clan/tribal assets. There was indeed ethnic cleansing but In reality the ‘Scots’ were themselves deeply divided and a great deal of the resentments directed at ‘English’ could just as easily be directed at people of Scotland who were party to these actions.
        I sense that the roots of this lie in the persistence of family connections ( tribal connections), a distinct identity and different religious beliefs in Scotland.The sectarianism of Scotland is a manifestation of this religious division and has echoes in what i think of as a cultural war-(the current disputes between the Muslim( tribal ,religious affiliations , socially and sexually conservative and and ‘Christian'( i.e technocratic, liberal and libertarian and individualist ) worlds.

        Anyway we should avoid the word ‘racism’. It is prejudice and discrimination. The dislike of ‘ Eastern Europeans’ is certainly not racism since the idea of ‘race’ is very discredited and in reality we (the entire human race) show almost as much variance within groups as between groups(or only very trivially different).

        • Ba'al Zevul

          DGP – I salute you for your detailed and thoughtful response to my comment. Broadly speaking I can’t disagree with it. But one small point: Scottish nationalism, like any other, acts as a force to unify the internal divisions to which you refer. It can only do this by defining an ‘other’ external to the putative nation. Which, in Craig’s terms, not mine or yours, amounts to racism. And a neat elision of the parcel o’ rogues within, as you say.

      • fredi

        English nationalism -all of it – is racist, while Scottish nationalism -all of it -isn’t.

        Indeed Ba’al, Mr Murray somehow can feel justified with that position, a strange sort of left wing myopia that can allow the irony and outright hypocrisy of the stance to remain unseen come what may.

  • fred

    “There is no motivation for Brexit other than racism. I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here.”

    It is no secret I am an enthusiast for the EU. However as an ardent Scottish nationalist it has of course crossed my mind that it might be a plan to vote tactically for Brexit, to provoke a new independence referendum.


  • Stu

    One of the benefits of banning Bevin must have been knowing he would not be able to tear apart nonsense like this.

    “As I have repeatedly said, it is indisputable that immigration grows the economy and this effect is positive for wages, vastly out-weighing any short term effect from increased labour supply. If immigration damaged wages, the USA and Germany would have the lowest paid workforces in the world”

    This is completely incoherent. The USA is one of the most unequal countries in the world and there many exceptional factors that make it a useless example. The German workforce hasn’t increased at all since unification due to low birth rate so comparisons with the UK are completely invalid.

    At least we at last have an acknowledgement that increased labour supply has a downward effect on wages. Sadly however I don’t think many workers will be happy to accept lower wages for their labour today in return for a vague promise of higher wages in the future.

  • Murdo

    To be honest, I think the case FOR the E.U. is racist.

    The whole reason for the freedom of movement is to attract people from poorer E.U. countries as drudges on minimum-wage jobs.

    All my friends in London are from the E.U., simply because I have always lived in Europe and am closer to them (I am a linguist).

    They all say the E.U. and the euro has caused unemployment in their home countries. They do not want to be here. But they are facing over 50% unemployment in their home countries.

    They would rather every country be allowed to have its own currency and set its own economic policies.

    Celebrating diversity is a joke. My own relatives vote for left-wing parties, employ Latvian cleaners and mock them at dinner parties.

    These are people who come home knackered. They do not want to “celebrate diversity” or cook for their native Brit neighbours, whom they would never have known if their own economies were not a disaster. They want to just call people back home on their mobile phones for a chat about issues which they have known from childhood.

    The whole raison d’etre of the E.U. is just to create a mobile army of drudges.

    I would have voted REMAIN if the E.U. had come up with an “action plan” to kickstart the economies of the countries from where my friends are from, looking at such matters as abolishing the common currency.

    Brexit means they will just push off to Germany or Ireland. They say: what’s the difference? It is still a foreign country… what’s the difference… London, Berlin, Dublin…

    Please ask the poor and unhappy E.U. workers here on minimum wages about the work of the E.U. and the damage it is doing to soon to be a second generation of workers.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      “To be honest, I think the case FOR the E.U. is racist. The whole reason for the freedom of movement is to attract people from poorer E.U. countries as drudges on minimum-wage jobs.”

      I couldn’t agree more and will give you a personal example. Our Spanish friend, is highly intelligent. She used to run a very succesful business where she grew up, which was destroyed largely through EU policy. Her, village and local town, and family and friends have also been impoverished. We have met many of them. So she moved to England with her husband and child, and she did find employment, but only on minimum wage (or below).

      The EU has impoverished her, and her family and friends. I am sure she would much rather be back home in Spain (though my wife and I would seriously miss her), but she can’t move back to Spain. She has several part time jobs here in England. In Spain she would have nothing. No job, no money. She has told me how terrible things are in Spain, but of course she never blames The EU, because the EU has allowed her to move to England and find employment, yet The EU is the main cause of all her problems.

      The UK, cannot be a safety boat for all the impoverished people of Europe (and much of the rest of the world), caused by the EU’s and the UK/USA/NATO’s atrocious economic and military policies. It’s complete insanity. They won’t all fit.


  • Chometha

    My opposition to the EU is largely based on it’s foreign policy. Ukraine, sending billions to Erdogan, sending gunships into the med to prevent migrants to name a few examples.

    It is also ideological. In my world view we should resist power, and given a chance to free ourselves of one governing body, it’s probably worth taking. Of course that leaves us at the whim of the Tories but sorting that problem comes later.

    Now it is clear there are economic ramifications to leaving, and a host of other problems. So yes leaving me well be a bad idea, but my on the fence support for it has absolutely nothing to do with racism. Foolish maybe, ideological certainly, but not xenophobic.

    Were it up to me we’d have less border controls than we do as an EU member. Immigration is not a concern of mine.

    Of course I’m an exception, and you haven’t had a conversation with me, I just take slight issue with being implicitly labelled due to my distaste for the EU.

  • Ishmael

    It’s the financial crash (same as in Germany), politicians jumping on broad to scapegoat and milk the situation.

    I watch them laughing a lot. Happy to set their own wages in a “market system” system, Surly they know if choice was anything to do with it 99% would get nothing. Naa, it’s forced socialism for them (& their rich friends, who need for nothing) . “free market” for us.

    This is the choice “we” (they, because I certainly wouldn’t) make is the wast, No central planning, No attempt at economic justice. Periodical and repeated crisis. Insulating the very people who caused it. …Them even coming out & even acting like savours, as they deepen it, N.F.

    It’s not rocket science.

    • Ishmael

      The problem I also see is that these nationalisms in Scotland and Catalonia, isolated, cannot fix this.

      I still wonder if something like Diem25 is our best hope.

  • JOML

    Seems to me that the arguments on here are largely irrelevant, as the UK’s ruling elite will shaft us all anyway, whether we are in the EU or not – and whether we are a U.K. citizen or not.

  • Ishmael

    “unprecedented levels of immigration into UK”

    No there hasn’t.

    “which is a racist attack, genocide,”

    It’s not. Race doesn’t exist. And this is an absurd racist reactionary statement to make.

  • Andrew

    I voted remain, but two of the most interesting economists working in Britain today argued strongly for Brexit, without invoking xenophobia or racism.

    Richard Werner:


    Steve Keen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09zqs-mN4VA (6-minute video)

    Both are non-Brits making major contributions to our understanding of modern capitalism and why it’s failing to address society’s needs.

    • Laguerre

      Two non-Brits without a vote are not necessarily going to be affected by the issues, and their commentary is not necessarily going to be relevant. As non-Brits, for example, they would play down the racism element. I bet Werner, as a German, is now looking for another job.

      • Andrew

        German-born Richard Werner is a highly-regarded professor at the University of Southampton, among other things (for example, he’s helping to start a non-profit community bank in Hampshire which he hopes will lead to many other local banks around the UK).

        Australian-born Steve Keen is one of the world’s leading non-orthodox economists. Currently working at the University of Kingston, he’s in the process of crowd-funding himself and his groundbreaking dynamic model of how the economy works (which involves an entirely fresh approach to money and banking).

        Both these men have wide international experience (Werner is an expert on the Japanese economy) and could work anywhere. We’re enormously fortunate that they’re currently living and working in Britain.

  • shugsrug

    I understand that the norms and values between people in England and Scotland may differ, and many better qualified than me have described why that is so, (Alison Craig) but that does not define the entire country, or its people. Not all Scots are perfect and not all English are evil. That said I am very comfortable with the ethos and ethics of Mr Murray, and although I disagree with him on this, he is a bit of a beacon in our world, and I follow him, and you, and this blog, extensively. I will read on and enjoy, and contribute further if needed to fight the libel action.

  • Sharp Ears

    Stop Press

    Bell Pottinger has gone into liquidation as no buyers were found. This follows their scandalous activity in South Africa.

    • Laguerre

      I’d forgotten it was them who were employed by the Americans to prepare fake ISIS videos. That was worse than what happened in SA.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    These articles by/about Roger Waters (ex Pink Floyd) who I largely support is very interesting, yet he, like some others, exhibit a degree of hypocrisy on the issue of Boycotts with regards to Musicians, and where they should or should not play.

    “Roger Waters: Congress Shouldn’t Silence Human Rights Advocates”


    “Roger Waters Criticizes ‘Whining’ Thom Yorke Over Radiohead’s Israel Gig”


    My personal view is that musicians should be free to play, wherever they have an audience, even if they do not approve of the government of that country. The reason for this is that music is generally a very uniting force and cuts through political and religious divides. It brings people together who have completely different views, yet music can contain strong political messages, that can be powerful and ultimately effect both popular thought and bring about positive change.

    Roger Waters obviously does not approve of the Government of Israel and pleaded with Radiohead not to play there.

    Yet Roger Waters is doing a massive tour of the USA. Does this mean that he approves of the Government of the USA, because I don’t approve of either Governments. As regards to which Government is the most evil, in terms of its massive destructive effects on innocent people, then the USA Government beats the Israeli Government by a considerable margin.

    Logically, Roger Waters based on his own views should be boycotting the USA (and probably the UK as well), though I don’t think that is a particularly good idea.

    I do know a UK band, who cancelled their entire US tour cos the US immigration authorities would not admit their drummer because “He looked like a Terrorist”. They had headlined in Quebec the previous day in front of 80,000 people.Their guitarist told me when they got back to the UK and I thought that was brilliant.

    What would Roger Waters do in that situation – hire an American drummer???

    In Roger Water’s defence, highlighting these issues, brings a lot of very positive publicity for a cause that most of us thoroughly support.


  • wall of controversy

    Today you write: “There is no motivation for Brexit other than racism. I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here.”

    This is bollocks, pure and unadulterated! Or at least it would be bollocks if you had actually “had a conversation… here on this blog” but instead you have consistently ignored such comments, especially ones addressed from the left. For instance, I posted about three comments on the subject and you failed to respond on every occasion. None are racist. Now please allow me to cut and paste the last one. For there is indeed racism in it, though not my own: only references to the institutional racism of the EU and its financial partners. (everything below is reproduced verbatim)


    You write: “Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism. Internationalism is not possible without international institutions.”

    Although earlier you confessed: “It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution.”

    So which is it: ‘international’ and ‘supra-national’? We know the answer, of course. ‘International’ involves collaboration between sovereign nations, whereas ‘supra-national’ heralds the amalgamation of nations under a single government, central bank, legal framework, constitution, army, etc:

    “The Treaty on European Union, Euro-federalism and EU Constitution will guarantee further decline as a result of which Britain will become an offshore area of a supranational state. The aim of European Union to be consolidated through the EU Constitution is to have its own military forces and be ruled in secret by unelected governors of an unaccountable European Central Bank, an appointed Commission and committees such as the European Council. These bodies consist of a majority of representatives of member states not answerable to our Government, Parliament or electorate and would be taking decisions which may not be in the interests of Britain.”

    From http://www.caef.org.uk/aims.html

    Internationalism is indeed leftist. Supra-nationalism aka ‘globalisation’ is not. Perhaps this very significant difference helps to account for why, as you also concede, “At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal”. Although not for the reason you then supply, “because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments”. To return to an earlier question I posed: so is this the reason “the Troika” (two thirds EU institutions) is financially ruining the PIIGS and enforcing the privatisation of their state assets?

    • giyane

      ” Internationalism is indeed leftist. Supra-nationalism aka ‘globalisation’ is not ”

      Than you, beautifully put. If you are correct, logically Brexit was an instinctive shift by the UK electorate to the Left, as later evidenced in the general election. Hence the need for Tories to proclaim that Brexit will release us on EU restrictions on international trade. Look we are lefter than the left. No, because we will then gravitate from the orbit of the moon, the EU , to the orbit of the sun, US hegemony. If neither we are just drifting in space while our commodities get bought up cheap by international investors.

      My vision of the UK’s future is that this country will eventually reject the terror model of the Judaeo-Christian Crusaders, which operates under a slogan of freedom but which is intent on enslaving the people, and eventually adopt the beautiful invitation of the Islamic model to worship and thank the Creator, living in harmony with the rest of the world and Nature. The fact that both the EU and the US are fully engaged in jack-hammering that message of peace has made us forget what it would feel like to be governed in a way that is for the benefit of all.

  • What's going on?

    “Indeed, I concluded long ago that the most likely explanation of the Tories’ extraordinary approach to the Brexit negotiations is that they wish them to fail.”

    Exactly my thoughts, but why? And who exactly wants them to fail, the whole party? May? Davis? I think May and Davis have been set up and are due to become the scapegoats when Brexit becomes the Tories’ Iraq war. It seems to me that there are people behind the scenes who are setting everything up to fail so that we join a reformed EU after a UK post brexit crash, either as a full member or an associate member. The political events in the UK of the last eighteen months have had a surreal touch about them that means I don’t 100% believe that this is anything other than a show to convince the people that leaving the EU is a mistake.

    If this were happening for real then we would have chosen to join the EFTA and remain signatories to the EEA agreement.

    • giyane

      I completely agree with you and Craig about the great Tory Brexit deception. Our ordinary minds are not devious enough to understand. All I will say is that Craig flagged up David Cameron’s association with the Ukranian Nazis long before he became Prime Minister. I think what Craig is saying is that the Henry VIII power grab was or might have been the motive for the Brexit referendum, and now it’s in the bank they can resume business as usual. Thanks DUP. Expect to get unified with Ireland when the shoe is on the other foot. We long since ceased to care.

      • What's going on?

        Thanks, I will have to look up Cameron and Ukraine, perhaps search the blog.

        That’s an interesting point about the power grab, I hope that isn’t what this has been about. The EU needs treaty change to deal with the crash of 2007/08 and I wonder if this is the way that Cameron has devised to get it past his party, his parliament and his country. I fully expect him to come back as leader and sort the mess out (probably in summer 2019).

        Another benefit of this pantomime is the collapse of UKIP which could be coming any day now. In any case I think there are so many plants in UKIP they could open a garden centre.

        (Of course, I could be wrong.)

  • fwl

    There were plenty who were opposed to the loss of sovereignty back at the time of Factortame and no one was then worrying about EaSt European migration.

    • fwl

      One has only to read Yanis Varufakis’ account of negotiating with the EU to realise that there are strong non-racist reasons for being very weary of the EU. Its not remotely democratic and essentially exists to benefit Germany. Very often idealism and hostility to isms of others blinds everyone to real politics.

      There is an interesting look at Saudi in the current London Review of Books. It brings you back down to basics. Who benefits? Who is trying what on. The isms reflect local norms but they are the reason why groups fight, amalgamate or pay homage (openly or covertly) or split. Now ask me whether Brexit is good on this basic level and I don’t know. I only know something has to give somewhere. Things are broken and seeking to rebuild proactively not retrogressively is possibly a sendible step. Sometimes Craig I find your statements too polemical and the opposite of diplomatic. Why not try a little Montaigne?

      • Laguerre

        Varufakis is hardly disinterested. You have to take what he says with a ton of salt, although he is a bright guy. With regard to the EU, TINA.

        That article on Saudi is part conspiracy theory, and part poor comprehension. E.g. “there are thousands of [the royal family], descending from the 22 wives Ibn Saud had while technically observing the Sharia requirement of four wives – max – at any one time.” Firstly the Shari’a does not *require* four wives; it authorises them. Secondly Ibn Saud did not have 22 wives in his life. He had 378, evidently four at a time. That was why he built a kilometre square city for them in Riyadh, known as al-Murabba’, of which only his palace survives (and that of his son Saud). They were maintained after divorce.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Varufakis has extensive experience of dealing with the EU, however. And no-one in this debate is disinterested.

          • Laguerre

            “Varufakis has extensive experience of dealing with the EU”

            Who would deny the obvious? However, whether he had a correct vision of what happened is the point in question. He was undercut by his own government, and that doesn’t get mentioned by him. It’s somewhat partial, what he says.

  • giyane

    ” It is a “socialism” which values the working class in one country only. ”

    Boris Johnson thinks that terrorism is just the ticket for Syria. All UK politics demonstrates this lack of intellectual thought. Don’t give them ideas. They might start staging gladiatorial sword battles between jihadists and ordinary UK citizens in vast arenas to satisfy the Gothic, racist longings of the readers of the Daily Mail. I actually saw a square bearded, multiply-tattooed British young man in a Kurdish airport bound for Islamic State. But its no fun any more now that Putin has bombed them to smithereens in Iraq and Syria.

    We have plenty of home-grown nutcases in power in the UK. We don’t need help from the nut-cases in the EU or anywhere else for that matter. All we need is for the ability to make those in power taste the effect of their policies on others, if their imaginations are unable to convey them there. One day in the real world would probably be a sufficient cure.

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