Peoples Vote in Danger of Becoming War Criminal Rehabilitation 290


Regular readers know I have largely steered clear of discussing Brexit for the three years its possibility then prospect has dominated the UK political agenda. I used to be enthusiastically pro-EU, as part of my general outlook of supporting international law and organisations. I was however shocked, deeply, by the enthusiastic support of all three institutional strands – council, commission and parliament – for the appalling Francoist paramilitary violence in Catalonia, and decided that the EU is no longer an institution I can support.

The increasingly illiberal developments of the EU’s Third Pillar – including the abuse of arrest warrant procedure against Julian Assange and the internationalising of “Prevent” style Islamophobia – had already increasingly been worrying me. My reservations about the EU are therefore different to those of many. I particularly bemoan the loss of Freedom of Movement which I believe to have been one of the greatest achievements of civilisation in my lifetime. I remain incensed at the success of the elite in conning the deprived that their poverty is caused by immigrants, whereas it is caused by massive inequality of wealth.

So I am conflicted on Brexit, but on balance would prefer to leave but stay part of the single market, thus retaining freedom of movement. My personal preferences aside, there is plainly a huge majority against leaving the EU in Scotland, so for Scotland to leave the EU at all at present would be wrong. It is my profound hope that the SNP will find the courage shortly to move on towards Independence.

Having a nuanced view on Brexit is not in the least fashionable at the moment, when the media are whipping up a climate of extreme division. It is very plain that Tony Blair and the Blairites see Brexit, and the growing stock of the People’s Vote campaign, as a rehabilitation opportunity for discredited war criminals – war criminals who have to date avoided punishment. That the Blairites succeed in smuggling themselves back into political power via the People’s Vote campaign is the biggest danger in the entire process.

Tony Blair yesterday made a speech on the People’s Vote platform at the Royal Academy, widely reported. Who exactly is running the People’s Vote and why are they giving a platform to Tony Blair? Three days ago it was Margaret Beckett representing the People’s Vote, and on Newsnight last week Peter Mandelson. It is like plunging into a recurring nightmare. Today we have a completely deranged – even by Nick Cohen’s standards – attack on Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian/Observer, on this issue. And on Marr we had the deeply odious Chuka Umunna.

The major reason that Remain lost the referendum campaign in England and Wales is that the Remain campaign was fronted by the most detested and discredited politicians in the UK: Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Mandelson, Osborne, and Kinnock and Straw jr. There is nothing these people could propose which would not be rejected out of hand by huge numbers, just at the sight of them.

The question arises, who are “the People’s Vote” and who agreed that Tony Blair speaks for them? My strong belief is that a large majority of the 700,000 who marched through London would regard Blair as a war criminal and be horrified. Plainly, the People’s Vote does not in any sense belong to the People as a campaign but is being controlled by the New Labour war criminal elite, who see it as a chance to redeem their loss of political power.

My disinterested advice to Remain supporters, if they wish to win a second referendum, is for “the People” to wrest control of “the People’s Vote” from the self-appointed war criminal friendly clique currently running it, to ditch the war criminals and to lead with Caroline Lucas. If the People’s Vote is really – as it seems to be – the Blair Bandwagon, it will crash into the buffers of entirely well-merited public distrust.

England and Wales voted for Brexit 53.3% to 46.7%. I do wish Sturgeon would accept – as every genuine believer in Scottish Independence should accept – that the vote in England and Wales is no business of us here in Scotland, and leave the English and Welsh to it. Sturgeon should be working for nothing else but Scottish Independence, which is the way to honour Scotland’s clear vote to Remain.


290 thoughts on “Peoples Vote in Danger of Becoming War Criminal Rehabilitation

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    • Garth Carthy

      Seconded.
      I’m glad Craig supports the idea of Caroline Lucas leading the second referendum campaign. She is a rare breed of politician – honest, and sane!
      Warmonger Blair should butt out. He could well be counter-productive to the cause. If the UN and International Law was fairly applied, Blair would have had to appear at the Hague before now. It really gets in my craw how the mainstream ‘media’ or propaganda outlet encourages Blair and similar abusers of political power to continue to spout their views.
      As it happens, I agree with Blair on this issue, but I just wish he’d shut his bloody gob!

      • Dungroanin

        Of course it is evident that the neocon/lib world order marshalled the delivery of the brexit vote using all their dark arts.

        Blair/Cameron and co are necon/lib world order. They are known to be poison to any cause they represent to the electorate. Ergo their muscling in on the cancel brexit campaign.

        The pincer movement on the Labour leadership is obvious.

        The electorate will not be fooled again.

        NuLabInc rump will vote with May or force a hard Brexit and lay the blame on JC for ‘forcing’ them to for the sake of ‘national interest’.

        Any option to avoid a general election that would deliver a load of Lab mps that would upset their whole neocon/lib gravy train.

        Btw looks like Cadwalladr has got into terrible contortions trying to tie brexit to Putin. She is having to delete her tweets.

      • Sharp Ears

        Seconded.

        How I loathe him – a person I do not know and have never met, nor likely to meet.

        I have always said that the place for him is a cell on a cold island where a tape of Muslim children screaming as their dressings are changed is playing 24/7.

  • Jack Hawkins

    Craig, the EU does not have the power to interfere in internal political Constitutional matters, the EU could not stop the Blair War in Iraq as an example, judging an example of Ireland back in 1919, we saw that the UK imposed a vicious war on them when they unilaterally declared independence. If Scotland was to declare itself independent without the say so in London, what would you think the reaction would be?

  • Gerry Bell

    My sentiments exactly Craig – after the treatment of Catalonia – the EU has become a dubious exercise in democracy and freedom. As for that war criminal Bliar – ANYTHING he is involved in is instantly tainted – and that goes for the ‘People’s Vote’ (stupid name).

  • Mist001

    I agree completely about Sturgeon and Scottish Independence. I really cannot understand why she and the SNP are putting all their energy into stopping Brexit because if Scotland becomes independent, it means breaking away from the UK and thus, no part of the EU. Brexit actually works in the independence movements favour because it’s one less argument to defend come the time of a hopefully second referendum, since Scotland will already have no part to play in the EU. As it stands, if the SNP and others are successful in stopping Brexit, then the SNP are going to have to justify why they’re acting against the wishes of the majority of people in Scotland by taking Scotland out of the EU. It just doesn’t make any sense and seriously, the only reason I can come up with for the current SNP fixation with stopping Brexit is that they see Scotland future as remaining a part of the UK. I defy anyone to come up with any other plausible reason.

    As for the EU, I voted Brexit because it seems to me that what the EU is becoming is another Soviet Union. A socialist doctrine, a single currency, an EU army, and Brussel being the new Politburo. For me, all the signs are there and that’s not something that I think any person should really desire.

    • Jan

      It’s interesting that Corbyn views the EU as a neo-liberal threat. You see it as a socialist doctrine. There must be something the EU is doing right when extremists on both sides hate it.

      • Baalbek

        Did you just call Corbyn an extremist? Corbyn is about as extreme as a pre-2000 continental social democrat and the likes of the Guardian and its ilk falling all over themselves in a rush to paint the mild Mr. C as a radical leftist shows just how far to the right the spectrum has shifted since the turn of the century.

        As for the EU…it is thoroughly neoliberal in its approach to governance and economic development. The evidence speaks for itself. It never was a progressive organization with the interests of the middle and working class EU citizen at heart. It attempts to hide its nefarious goals from the people it rules over, but one need only look at how it handled the 2008 market crash, how it continues to bleed Greece dry (it is telling that the pillaging of that country by the troika was never considered newsworthy by the establishment controlled media) and the obvious contempt for democracy it displays at every turn.

        Only a fool or a disinformation agent could call the EU socialist and keep a straight face while doing so. The EU forced its continental member states to dismantle their social democracy and replace it with a version of Anglo-American hire and fire culture and to privatize essential services while underfunding health care and social services and handing the money to the richest of the rich. That’s not socialism, it’s incremental Thatcherism.

        • Makropulos

          Quite right – and all of which makes the odious Nick Cohen’s Guardian article even more preposterous as he piles on the scare mongering anti-left rhetoric. Eight times he says “far left” – although he does give himself a little break with “radical left” at one point. This tactic seems to accelerate towards the end. And I note that there is no space for below the line comments.

        • Piotr Berman

          I would be curious concerning a citation of Corbyn claiming what Jan insinuates. Corbyn is on record of opposing some particular EU policies that are neo-liberal, and regardless of ideology, one can appreciate that these policies were not “particularly productive” and contributed to the woes that EU experiences and which are not related to Brexit.

          On trade, the founding reason of EU was the ability of protecting the member nations while unleashing competition and end economies of scale available in a continent-wide economy. But that reason was largely abandoned in the quest for ever more unrestricted trade. Employment in more labor-intensive sectors would be better maintained with some modicum of trade restrictions, and as a result, the southern EU countries were forced to rely on services and construction that proved to be heavily cyclical, and then, surprise, huge problems. Second, the restrictions on government aid to industry verged on draconian as if it was always the best thing to do — it is not. Third, EU succumbed to the worst neo-liberal trait, imperial coordination. It absorbed countries that could not be “harmonized”, at least not all of them at once, again, promoting economic havoc. It surrendered to US in following sanction policies that were against actual and proclaimed European interests, sanctions on Iran being exhibit one. Like with trade, “labor mobility” would be more wise in a restricted variant.

          On all those counts, Her Majesty Goverment was very much supportive, being one of the drivers of the neo-liberal bent. So any misgivings should be directed where they belong, this is roughly what Corbyn says.

    • Andyoldlabour

      @Mist001,
      Whilst I agree with most of your post, I would consider the EU to be a “NeoLiberal” organisation, particularly where Macron and Merkel are concerned. My idea of Socialism would be the Labour government after WW2 which introduced the NHS.

    • Patrick Hertel

      ” the EU is becoming is another Soviet Union. A socialist doctrine”.
      Firstly neoconservatism is NOT “socialism”.
      Secondly, and more importantly, socialism is NOT communism. I wish people would at the very least understand that.

    • Steviemac

      I think this is correct. The SNP should SUPPORT May’s deal and in return gain the concession of a guaranteed Independence referendum for Scotland due to the material change in circumstance. This would honour the democratic will of England and Wales and allow Scotland to vote to follow her own path. In the aftermath of Brexit any application for EU membership by an Independent Scotland would be a shoe-in in Brussels.
      Under the current scenario the UK Government will not grant another Scottish referendum any time soon as it wants an end to constitutional upheaval after years of uncertainty.

    • alwi

      I don’t know why you keep banging on about the ‘SNP taking us out of the EU’ – utter nonsense. If we gain independence and are obliged to re-apply for EU membership (which I very much doubt) it would be nothing more than a paper execise at most. Desist please.

  • Conor of Darkest Sussex

    The now-defunct first “pillar” of the EU relates to economic and social/environmental policies, the second and third pillars relate to foreign and security and policies and criminal judicial cooperation. The “pillars” model came out of Maastricht in ’93, but the concept disappeared with the Lisbon treaty of 2009, and greater unification.
    While this may all be very interesting to students of EU law, for the vast majority in the UK, continued membership of the EU should and does primarily concern economic policies. Although it is right and proper to criticise those policies or obiter dicta of the EU mentioned in Craig’s article, such as Catalonia and Assange, and certainly infinitely more effective to do so from within, one should not lose sight of the fact that in 2019, the EU is still overwhelmingly “all about trade” as it was in 1973.
    I agree there is rightly much concern about the “direction of travel” towards an increasingly political or even military federalism, but again these issues are for now best addressed from a position of strength within, as we currently enjoy. Quite possibly in the future we should reassess this position, and if this “rampant federalism” has not been quelled, then we ()and no doubt others might sensibly consider leaving the club.
    In my opinion, that time is not now. It was always a lie that the referendum was a one in a lifetime thing.
    I am surprised that Craig vacillates between leave and remain as he claims. To change one’s mind on the basis of Assange and attitudes towards Catalonian independence seems at best silly, and at worst disingenously naive.
    For the sake of our economy, and our international reputation, we should revoke Article 50 and get on with business as usual. Let the nuances take their proper place on the back seat- for now.

    • Christopher Dale Rogers

      @Connor of Darkest Sussex,

      Just to recap as far as Brussels is concerned, the two most significant revisions of the Treaty of Rome have been the Single European Act, which the UK Electorate was not consulted about, and the ‘Ever Closer Union’ Treaty of Lisbon, that again the electorate of the UK were not consulted about – the French actually were consulted about the Treaty of Lisbon, which at the time of consultation was actually referred too as the EU Constitution, which they rejected, so, if only New Labour (Blair/Brown/Straw) had honoured their commitment to an actual Referendum if further significant changes after SEA/Maastrict were made which impact the UK greatly – I don’t remember that Referendum, so we were lied too as usual.

      Indeed, we’d not be in this mess had we had a Referendum on Lisbon, which I’m confident would have been rejected by our electorate, instead we had a Referendum imposed to solve an internal crisis within the Tory Party and nip UKIP in the bud – it did not work out to plan as anyone living outside of the M25 was acutely aware of, namely, people were sick of austerity wherever it emanated from, be it Westminster or Brussels – I mean, even working class Joe’s can read and were aware of the economic downturn in the EU and the Commissions/ECBs answer too it, namely austerity and massive unemployment – this is not a bug, its systemic I’m afraid.

      And as for the Three Pillars being abandoned and the EU being solely concerned about trade, great, that really does help the average Joe across Europe allegedly, until we look at the economic reality, namely plunging real salaries and growing inequality since 1991, which funnily enough is when the Soviet Union ceased to exit – how strange?

      • Conor of Darkest Sussex

        Thanks for your replies, Christopher Dale Rogers and Ralph.
        CDR (you look like a cossor, btw): your enthusiasm for referenda, along the French lines you cite (but indeed of any other nation’s stripe) is thankfully out of step with British parliamentary tradition and taste, until recently. I agree there could have been a “nipping in the bud” of UKIP per a “favourable” outcome of a hypothetical plebiscite on the intricacies of the treaty of Lisbon in 2009. I think however the voter turn-out then would have been so negligible as to have negated any true democratic validity of that result. We basically don’t do referenda in the UK, and in my opinion quite correctly so.
        I agree with your M25 comments, and austerity attribution, CDR. I actually think we could easily enjoy a pint or two of London Pride together, and we would agree on much more besides.
        Sorry about the arcane niceties of the three pillars, but as I think you know they are now part of EU history. I alluded to the pillars only in response to Craig Murray’s specious mention of them in his OP.
        I agree the EU is utter pants on many levels, and always was; but for the time being it is the only decent pants we have. We need more time to work out a sensible, globally coherent and beneficial exit strategy from the club. To argue against that sentiment at this critical time, on any level, seems to me to be verging on the bizarre.
        To Ralph, you need to take a loner view. I’m not really called Conor, surprisingly enough perhaps. A clue to my real identity: COD (cash on delivery), so Conor Of Darkest Sussex might imply (in reverse)….

    • Ralph

      Conor, still getting it wrong after all this time, the eu is NOT ‘still overwhelmingly “all about trade”’; as I stated elsewhere, it’s about ‘ever closer union’, which covers more than just ‘trade’, it covers EVERYTHING. But I think you got the first part of your name right…

  • Conor of Darkest Sessex

    The now-defunct first “pillar” of the EU relates to economic and social/environmental policies, the second and third pillars relate to foreign and security and policies and criminal judicial cooperation. The “pillars” model came out of Maastricht in ’93, but the concept disappeared with the Lisbon treaty of 2009, and greater unification.
    While this may all be very interesting to students of EU law, for the vast majority in the UK, continued membership of the EU should and does primarily concern economic policies. Although it is right and proper to criticise those policies or obiter dicta of the EU mentioned in Craig’s article, such as Catalonia and Assange, and certainly infinitely more effective to do so from within, one should not lose sight of the fact that in 2019, the EU is still overwhelmingly “all about trade” as it was in 1973.
    I agree there is rightly much concern about the “direction of travel” towards an increasingly political or even military federalism, but again these issues are for now best addressed from a position of strength within, as we currently enjoy. Quite possibly in the future we should reassess this position, and if this “rampant federalism” has not been quelled, then we (and no doubt others) might sensibly consider leaving the club.
    In my opinion, that time is not now. It was always a lie that the referendum was a one in a lifetime thing.
    I am surprised that Craig vacillates between leave and remain as he claims. To change one’s mind on the basis of Assange and attitudes towards Catalonian independence seems at best silly, and at worst disingenously naive. In any case, as a full member of the union, it is clearly true that the UK is in a better position to argue these things. It seems that Craig has a history of throwing out the “baby with the bathwater”, and that’s his style, It isn’t a good argument for leaving, however, and possibly quite the opposite!
    For the sake of our economy, and our international reputation, we should revoke Article 50 and get on with business as usual. Let the nuances take their proper place on the back seat- for now.

    • djm

      It was always a lie that the referendum was a one in a lifetime thing

      So what you’re saying is, the £9million leaflet was incorrect ?

      • Conor of Darkest Sussex

        If you mean this pdf of the Vote Remain leaflet, then that’ll be a qualified yes.
        If you read it closely, it says “once in a generation”. It doesn’t mention which species, or how long a generation might be. It is a splendid example of an own goal. Plainly it would have been more accurate, if less catchy, to say “now’s not the time to leave, but we can always change our minds”.
        Paradoxically, it should have been only “once in a lifetime/generation/for-ever-and-ever-amen”, as we did vote leave (& assuming we actually go through with it).
        We’ll not be getting back in, that’s for sure.

    • nevermind

      Welcome Conor, quite possibly the position of an unelected upper echelon in the EU should have been tackled yonks ago, to leave such a reform for 40 years and let rampant federalism ruin one’s tea now, sort of throwing a possible reasessment into some future realm, maybe, is just not good enough.

      The EU needs reforming, but not in a selfserving manner? We need options proposed before next years Eu election and they need to be in the voters sphere, not be kept in some backroom. People have to vote for drastic changes and our EU commissioner should ideally go back as a fully elected rep., meaning that there should be a contested fair and proportional election.
      There is much more that needs reforming but running away is not a brave or clever thing to do.
      what will future trading partners make of our belligerant chaotic ineptness, our cut throat options re our past commitments?

      For the sake of the EU, peace in Europe and future trade and travel agreements, i wholly agree with your last sentence.

      • Ralph

        The ONLY ‘reforming’ the eu does is ‘ever closer union’ – yes, it IS that transparent.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just contradictory gobbledygook. Your complaints are totally with England who will make sure that Scots don’t ever vote that way by the use of undersea weapons if necessary, and Spain’s control over Catalonia similarly..

  • Thomas_Stockmann

    This headline is deeply misleading. Many people like myself who would prefer to remain are dismayed at the prospect of Tony Blair trying to act as spokesperson, and the People’s Vote campaign has certainly not tried to rehabilitate him. That is just a gratuitous smear. Secondly,the assertion that the Spanish government – even the previous one – is or was Francoist is another gratuitous smear. The majority of Spaniards of all political persuasions want no return to the past. Finally, it is grossly disingenuous to suggest that issuing an EU arrest warrant for Julian Assange justifies leaving the EU. If indeed Julian Assange has been set up, then it is through the Swedish, British and American legal systems just as much as the EU and given the high stakes the powers that be would always pull every lever at their command to stop him. The lack of engagement of the so-called left with the EU is just pitiful. It is an arena for the exercise of political power, just as Westminster is an arena attended by the SNP and the US Congress is attended by representatives from the states. It is neither good nor bad in itself. People tend to denounce the higher level of government when its political stripes differ from their own, but any sane leftist perspective will notice that (1) separatist movements are often based in wealthier regions which are unwilling to contribute to the development of poorer regions (2) the EU is a particular target for Trump and large US corporations because only a body of the size of the EU is capable of standing up to multinational corporations. So, please don’t tell me all the ways in which it is not perfect; it’s the best chance we have. Work to make it better.

    • craig Post author

      Thomas,

      Respectable arguments, but I can’t square your opening sentences with the continual sight of Tony Blair undeniably speaking on People’s Vote platforms with the People’s Vote logo all over the wall behind him. Clearly you and those like you are not in charge, and those who are in charge very plainly are promoting Blair. That is undeniable fact.

      • Thomas_Stockmann

        Fair enough, thanks for replying. I share your contempt for Blair and would be more than happy to see him prosecuted. However, you know how political propaganda works and to portray the People’s Vote campaign as a conscious rehabilitation project seems to me to be going beyond merely criticising it for an error, and in its tone sounds hostile to the campaign. Incidentally, given the evidence put to the inquiries and the chicanery of Straw, Hoon and Blair I would be surprised if the entire cabinet of the time could fairly be convicted of a crime (as opposed to being condemned in the court of public opinion). As for Nick Cohen, even a stopped clock etc. and Jeremy Corbyn’s behaviour has been disingenuous.

      • Ralph

        We’ve already HAD the ‘peoples’ vote’; what is masquerading under the present misnamed one is quite simply the ‘bliar vote’.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I saw the Nick Cohen article and arrived at a similar conclusion to Craig. he parallels disaster capitalism with Leninis ‘disaster socialism’ and decides that corbyn and o’donnell are planning someting similar. Craig saying that is deranged rather ‘de-emphasises’/understates the Cohen position.I notice that Cohen/Guardian no longer permit responses, probably with good reason because his arguments can be readily unpicked by a well informed 14 yo.
    Craig has moved from a firm remainer to ‘leave’.I too have made that shift although I went aling with the Yannis Varoufakis view that its better to be inside the EU and have some possibility of changing the EU.Outside the EU there is no chance although it would be a bitter struggle to bring about meaningful change.I is worth casting an eye over the situation in Italy Italy is an entirely different/much larger entity to bully and reduce to penury like the situation in Greece.If the ‘gilets jaunes’ cannot be pacified or bought off there could be some serious trouble. And if Brexit continues to be troublesome look out for more civil strife.
    I rater think that a new referendum that was one or two points either way could be disastrous, with a mobilisation of a very right wing/fascist group determined to see any kind of Brexit.It is courting disaster.
    Can we call this ‘disaster Blairism’?
    I certainly remember being tempted to vote ‘keep out of eu’ in the seventies referendum although there was a lot of money riding on property prices rising on entry to the EU (and propaganda to match). Well to do, well informed speculators made a killing then.
    The other issue that is the most pressing is finding ways to mitigate global/warming.Thisis undoubtedly the most serious economic factor we have to face but there is virtually no serious interest(plenty from the mainstream parties( plenty of tokenism and greenwashing) but nothing from the likes of Cohen or Blair.

  • Merandor

    Craig i always enjoy reading your site. On some matters I disagree strongly such as land seizures without compensation however you are always entertaining and engaging. On this topic I feel your outrage. Anything backed by Blair will fail. He needs to be brought to account for the death and destruction he illegally imposed on other nations.

  • TJ

    “the abuse of arrest warrant procedure against Julian Assange”

    I am afraid you are incorrect here. The European Arrest Warrant is being used exactly as designed, any one at any time can be subject to one concocted by a politician or appointee and then can be cast into prison in a country without habeas corpus and where they can rot for the rest of their lives without a charge being brought. Sir Winston Churchill put it well when he said –

    “The power of the Executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government, whether Nazi or Communist.”

    • Tom Welsh

      True, TJ. This is one of several reasons why I voted to Leave. For a long time I hoped that British traditions of personal freedom and human rights would somehow percolate throughout the EU and improve it.

      Gradually I began to see that exactly the opposite was happening.

      Symbolic of my objections is one simple fact. In Germany or Austria in the 1930s, you could be imprisoned or worse for speaking well of the Jews or ill of the Nazis. Today, the position has simply reversed: you can be imprisoned or worse for speaking well of the Nazis or ill of the Jews.

      This clearly demonstrates that the people who run Germany, Austria and also France – as well as other countries – have not even begun to grasp the principles of human freedom. To them, freedom of speech means freedom to say anything that doesn’t upset influential people.

  • Loony

    There was no Francoist para military violence in Catalonia. There was merely the enforcement of law and the defense of the Spanish constitution. However you and your ilk are in the process of getting your way as there are now fascists in Spain with Vox obtaining 11% of the vote and 12 seats in the Andalusian parliament.

    Well done – you must be so proud of your small role in reintroducing fascism into Spain. No longer will your snide and ignorant remarks be met with the genuflection of people desperate to demonstrate that they are not fascist. Now Vox will view such comments as a source of pride and leverage them to attain more public support.

    Now you have real fascists to contend with. Let us see if your experiences of dealing with imagined fascists are at all helpful in dealing with actual flesh and blood fascists.

    • giyane

      Loony

      This thing you are typing on is not a piano. It doesn’t make emotional chords. Accusing Craig of creating Fascists is the stuff of the piano-player in the silent movies. If government behaves in an openly Fascist way it follows that people with fascist sentiments will feel safe to come out of hiding. Since Mrs May decided to openly read Brexit as people not wanting foreigners 2 years ago, open racism has been the norm in Britain, I’m sorry to say.

      I agree with Craig when he says: ” So I am conflicted on Brexit, but on balance would prefer to leave but stay part of the single market, thus retaining freedom of movement “. This is what the PM should have said the day after the referendum, followed by 2 years of discussion about why the racists don’t like foreigners but do want to trade with them for free.

      Unfortunately Craig understands politicians from bitter experience with them at first quarters. Craig is so right in pointing out that the reason why May didn’t ask people why they hated foreigners but wanted to trade with them for free, because it would have led to a discussion about Tory inequality. May is cornered by the vested interest groups in her own party, the party whose whole purpose is to make the rich more excessively richer and the poor more grindingly poor. Queue mantras about economies being good for all and other pig-swill.

      As for those above who think you can change the EU from within, the EU has now demonstrated graphically why it will never change because of one individual’s influence, because it is playing the good old village game of ‘ my family is more important than you ‘ a game which we in England have forgotten how to play. We just think if somebody’s got a bigger car, they have a bigger bank loan. We are historically so internationalist that we regard this type of dick-swinging as contemptible. Our embracing of different views is derided by the EU as a sign of nebulousness. Their macho presence in solidarity of 27 strikes us Brits as , well, foreign in a kind of pig ignorance kind of way.

      All one can say is thank God we are not like them and their pathetic , small-minded, village mentality. We are better off finding friends who are like us. Does Noroway plus allow us to trade with new partners while keeping the single market and free movement. If yes, please can the Labour Party just do it. We have never allowed the national fronts and UKIPs dictate the future of our country before.

      Shakespeare’s Sir Thomas More and a link to Sir Ian McKellen’s rendition of the anti-racist soliloquy by Thomas More in the play.

      “Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
      Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
      Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
      Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
      Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
      And that you sit as kings in your desires,
      Authority quite silent by your brawl,
      And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
      What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
      How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
      How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
      Not one of you should live an aged man, …”

      http://theshakespeareblog.com/2015/09/shakespeare-sir-thomas-more-and-the-immigrants/

      • Blunderbuss

        @giyane 15:15

        “Since Mrs May decided to openly read Brexit as people not wanting foreigners 2 years ago, open racism has been the norm in Britain, I’m sorry to say”.

        Too true. I voted for Brexit but not because I’m a racist. I just don’t want Britain to be part of a United States of Europe.

        I’d be happy with a Norway deal. Even Peter Hitchens, who is pretty right-wing, is advocating a Norway deal:

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6197645/PETER-HITCHENS-Norway-escape-PM-begging-Brussels.html

        • Deb O'Nair

          The “Norway” deal would mean the UK becoming part of the EFTA, which Norway has already said it will oppose. I am baffled when I hear talk of this option with complete disregard to the clear and unequivocal statement made recently by the Norwegian government. It seems like the UK is at the fingers-in-ears and straw-clutching stage

    • alwi

      Apt handle. What kind of constitution says the state is inviolate? Get real. Remember when it was written and under what constraints.

  • Michael Droy

    Lots good here.
    ” most detested and discredited politicians in the UK: Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Mandelson, Osborne, and Kinnock and Straw jr”
    hasn’t it sunk in yet that this is effectively the establishment party – no wonder that people found so much common cause in rejecting them. UK democracy has always been no more than the right to kick out the current lot from time to time. The Blair Cameron nexus (backed overwhelmingly by the media) is currently irremovable. Hence the up yours delors Brexit vote aimed at Brussels and Westminster alike.
    David Goodhart – the Road to Somewhere explains all.
    And of course the EU represents the epitome of Establishment politics.

    Glad to seem mention of inequality and not growth or GDP. In 30 years real GDP is up 100%, median incomes up 10%. No wonder most voters (as opposed to any of the elite) feel no concerns about economic effects of Brexit. Indeed a 10% cut in GDP on an historic basis would mean a big loss for the big earners and a 1% loss for the ordinary. Schadenfreude is promised!

  • Caratacus

    Forgive me Craig, but I am blessed if I can understand why Nationalist Scots – whom I admire – would fight so fiercely to be free of their English overlords and would then fall willingly into the yoke of EU control. By all means fight for independence – but let it be true independence from any master; your own government, your own laws, and – most importantly – your own currency. The euro will suck your country dry if the Scots make the mistake of agreeing to its imposition.

    • Tom Welsh

      I too find that puzzling, Caratacus. I have had it explained to me several times in this blog that while rule from London entails ignorminious servitude and exploitation, membership of the EU is more like a lovely club of nice friendly people who talk things over but never force one another to do anything.

  • Teejay

    “My disinterested advice to Remain supporters ,,,,,,,,,,”

    Three cheers for the correct use of disinterested.

    The problem with Free Movement is that it works if the flows are roughly balanced. For this reason it doesn’t work well for the UK. English is by far the most popular second language in Europe. Most people who wish to work abroad in the EU will chose to work somewhere where they can speak the language. Effectively, the UK will have continuous positive net migration from the EU until the problems caused by overpopulation become so dire that people will no longer wish to work there. The EU don’t really care about this because it is an issue for one member country only.

    • Thomas_Stockmann

      Heaven forfend that any British person should learn another European language. You seem to live in a nightmare world in which you can’t open your front door for the mass of humanity pressing up against it. How come you don’t want a Chinese-style one child policy for British citizens if you’re going full Thomas Malthus? Your supposed laws are just pseudo-scientific opinions masking prejudice.

      • Loony

        Learning a language takes time and effort – it is unlikely that vacuous virtue signalers will be willing to devote the necessary time and effort merely to demonstrate their own moral purity.

        There are about 360 million people who speak English as their first language with possibly a further 1 billion people who speak English as a second language. By contrast only 15 million people in the world speak Bulgarian. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that a greater economic advantage can be obtained by speaking English as opposed to Bulgarian.

        94% of Dutch people can speak English – so if you were say Italian why would you learn Dutch as opposed to English?

        Siemens is a German company – and around the world they employ over 370,000 people. The internal working language of Siemens is English – so if you want to work for Siemens then you need to speak English. Maybe you can speak Romanian, Polish, Swedish and French – well done but you will not get a job with Siemens if you cannot speak English.

        • Thomas_Stockmann

          (1) You know too little about me to justify your childish insults.
          (2) What has anything you have written got to do with British people not learning other European languages? Are you saying that because many Spanish people learn English, we shouldn’t learn Spanish?
          (3) You refer to worldwide figures in a debate about EU Freedom of Movement. Do you expect them all to come here?
          (4) Your own evidence makes nonsense of the original post. The original poster argued that because we speak English in the UK that it will lead to inevitable overpopulation through migration (no doubt there will be another famine in the Republic of Ireland any day soon). What you are talking about is “English as a Lingua Franca” and as you point out, it can be used anywhere. Consequently, you can work in many other European countries in English and there is no inevitability about the UK sinking into the sea under the weight of immigrants.
          (5) English is not the only widely-spoken language, and employment is not the only motivation for learning a language.
          (6) Your accurate choice of name shows that you do indeed have a good command of the English language.

          • Republicofscotland

            Nice one Thomas.

            “is “English as a Lingua Franca”

            I’m pretty sure I heard Junker or Barnier say that French would be the common language in the EU, post Brexit. An idle threat or not, I can’t say for certain.

    • Tom Welsh

      There is so much to know nowadays that I have noticed people who are great experts in one subject talking nonsense about other topics – or at least revealing ignorance of important facts and figures.

      The maximum permanently sustainable population of the British Isles is about 14 million – between a quarter and a fifth of the present population.

      Moreover, even today Britain falls far, far short of being able to feed itself. Clever progressives tend to shrug this off – in their world only clodhopping peasants get their hands dirty with pigs, soil and muck. Unfortunately even the cleverest and most progressive will die of starvation after at most six months without food.

      No one in their right mind, and properly informed, could even dream of increasing the British population by one single person more than absolutely necessary. Measures for stopping the increase, and gradually introducing a slow humane decrease are absolutely vital.

      • Dungroanin

        Bit malthusian for this time of the C21st no?
        Got any facts and scientific studies to cite? Any??
        You probably consider China to be as over populated no doubt.

        • Tom Welsh

          @Dungroanin

          I was wrong about the 14 million – maybe I was thinking of England alone. The estimated sustainable carrying capacity of the UK is 20.6 million people – excluding the need for non-renewable resources like fuels and other minerals. The current population is over 60 million.

          http://www.isecoeco.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Overshoot-Index-2014-v2.pdf

          United Kingdom
          Ecological footprint (ha) as global percentage 4.5
          Biocapacity (ha) as global percentage 1.5
          Self sufficiency % 33.3
          Dependency % 66.7
          Actual population (millions) 61.9
          Sustainable population (millions) 20.6
          Overshoot population (millions) 41.3

          “The Overshoot Index assesses the extent to which a country can support itself from its own renewable resources, by measuring current per capita consumption against per capita biocapacity. The ecological footprint measures the area of biologically productive land and water required to produce the renewable resources/ecological services for, and absorb the waste of, a given population at a given average level of resource consumption. Biocapacity is the biologically productive capacity of an area – cropland, grazing land, forest, fresh water etc. It does not include non-renewable resources like fossil fuels and other minerals. The true balance between consumption and demand for resources will appear even more unfavourable when the progressive reduction towards zero use of non-renewables is factored into the numbers. A satisfactory way to do this has yet to be devised. It also assumes that 100% of biocapacity is allocated to humans, since there is no agreed figure for the necessary share needed to conserve biodiversity. Ecological footprint and biocapacity are measured in global hectares (hectares with world average biological productivity) per person. Increased productivity would reduce dependency; while increased population or consumption per head would increase it.

          “The percentage of an area’s footprint supported from its renewable resources is its self-sufficient percentage; the remaining
          percentage is its dependent percentage. Similarly, the percentage of an area’s population supported from its renewable resources is its sustainable population at current consumption levels with current technology; the remaining percentage is its overshoot population. A dependency of greater than zero means that a country, region or the world is relying on other countries or non-renewable, unsustainable resources for its current consumption. Countries in overshoot increase their dependency, and the others approach overshoot, as either their population or their per capita consumption grows; and faster if both grow.

          “All source data is from the 2012 Data Tables, based on 2009 figures, produced by the Global Footprint Network (GFN). Countries with populations of under one million have been omitted. GFN’s data are largely from UN sources; their methodology is still admittedly imprecise, but is subject to continuous refinement. Apparent discrepencies in the calculations
          are due to rounding. For full details of the calculations, go to http://www.footprintnetwork.org“.

        • Tom Welsh

          @Dungroanin

          As you can see from the table, China’s sustainability is slightly better than the UK’s. But not much. On the other hand, the Chinese government has shown definite signs of being aware of the problem, as witness the drastic but effective “One Child” policy without which China would have suffered severe famines by now.

          “Malthusian” is a compliment to anyone with respect for science. The Revd. Malthus may have been wrong about specifics, but he was absolutely right about general trends. In particular, of course, he was able to understand that an exponential increase will always outgrow any linear increase given time.

      • Dungroanin

        Your opening paragraph was spot on about pseudo experts – then you went on to make exactly that error.

        I asked for your proof and you give me
        ‘The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) was founded in 1989, based heavily on the work of Herman Daly’

        Daly learned from:
        “Georgescu-Roegen’s mistakes were caused by his insufficient understanding of the physical science of thermodynamics. It is bad physics and equally bad economics to devise a new physical law (the fourth one) in order to make up for one’s own insufficient understanding of a physical theory in the first place. Such a device may be bordering on pseudoscience.”
        Wikipedia

        So there is no actual rigourous science to consider in your Malthusian nonsense.

        According to that theory we all starved to death decades ago! The shelves are currently bare and we are eating humans now!

        Go look up Professor Hans Rosling – spend a few hours on some of his lectures, then tell me you still believe the same.

  • Conor of Darkest Sussex

    If you mean this pdf of the Vote Remain leaflet, then that’ll be a qualified yes.
    If you read it closely, it says “once in a generation”. It doesn’t mention of which species, or how long a generation might be. Reminds me of a Turkish carpet salesman saying his fine rug (read: crappy little kilim) will last “for generations”. Possibly true, if I were a fruitfly. Very seriously, however, it is a splendid example of an own goal. Plainly it would have been more accurate, if less catchy, to say “now’s not the time to leave, but we can always change our minds”.
    Paradoxically, it should have been only “once in a lifetime/generation/for-ever-and-ever-amen”, as we did vote leave (& assuming we actually go through with it).
    We’ll not be getting back in, that’s for sure.

  • Teejay

    This website is confusing. I thought I was posting a comment on the article “Peoples Vote in Danger of Becoming War Criminal Rehabilitation” but it went on another article. I am trying again.

    My disinterested advice to Remain supporters ,,,,,,,,,,”

    Three cheers for the correct use of disinterested.

    The problem with Free Movement is that it works if the flows are roughly balanced. For this reason it doesn’t work well for the UK. English is by far the most popular second language in Europe. Most people who wish to work abroad in the EU will chose to work somewhere where they can speak the language. Effectively, the UK will have continuous positive net migration from the EU until the problems caused by overpopulation become so dire that people will no longer wish to work there. The EU don’t really care about this because it is an issue for one member country only.

  • Hmmm

    So so true. If Bliar promised free blow jobs from the most gorgeous models capable of sucking golf balls through hosepipes I’d still vote against it!

  • Dom

    Spot on, Craig. Also worth mentioning that the other highest-profile proselytizers for a “People’s” vote are architects of the 2010-15 austerity regime responsible for Leave vote (Osborne, Cable, Clegg et al).

    Their alliance with the war criminals guarantees any second referendum would produce the same result.

  • Jim Sinclare

    There is no mention of Blair at the Royal Academy on the Peoples-Vote.uk website. This is the only organization I’m aware of, they’ve held many large events, always avoiding toxic politicians. Does anyone have a link to Blair’s speech?

      • Jim Sinclare

        Yes, there’s a CNN reference pointing to Blair’s website (institute.global) which says it’s a People’s Vote event, but no link to peoples-vote.uk and no reference on that site. So I’m not sure it’s a People’s Vote event.

        • craig Post author

          It was carried on both BBC and Sky as a People’s Vote event and widely reported. Here is the Guardian:

          Speaking at a People’s Vote event at the Royal Academy this morning, Tony Blair said there would soon be a majority in parliament for a second referendum. “What has been revealed by the whole negotiation process is that all the Brexit options have significant drawbacks compared with staying in the EU,” he said. “This pursuit of incompatible ends through inept means has led us to the present impasse.”

          I saw it on TV and he was stood in front of a wall covered n People’s Vote logos.

        • Jim Sinclare

          Yes, People’s Vote confirmed it was their event, but didn’t answer the complaint that it was counter-productive. They do seem out-of-touch, and I hope they won’t be leading the forthcoming Remain campaign if we get a vote.

  • George Campbell

    Nicola Sturgeon is playing a tactical hand aimed at No-voting remainers. By being perceived as the light of reason fighting a lost cause, she can garner support for independence from those people by reason of it being the only option to stay European.

  • LeeJ

    If we get do get Brexit, I feel confident that any demonstration similar to the Yellow Shirts will be met by our new independent govt with the same enthusiasm as seen in Catalonia. That is not an EU symptom but one of power fighting to retain power. Ever thus.

  • David Smith

    People’s vote-blunderers have handed May a gaping get-out
    by SKWAWKBOX

    The centrist MPs obsessing about a further referendum arrogantly call their plan a “people’s vote” – apparently, no people voted in the first Brexit referendum.

    But rather than empowering the people – or even the section that voted remain in 2016 – they have managed to hand Theresa May an escape hatch from the consequences of her own incompetence.

    The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) lays out, among other things, the way in which any new referendum would be structured or called – and it puts all the cards in Theresa May’s grasping hand, because she and her party would decide the wording.

    PPERA makes it perfectly clear that any referendum requires an Act of Parliament to bring it – and that the government specifies the wording of the question:

    The government has to give the wording to the Electoral Commission – but the only power the Commission has is to decide whether the question is ‘intelligible’.

    As long as the question is intelligible, it passes.

    The Blairites and others pushing for a new referendum, for whatever agenda, have handed May a way out of the cleft stick her own incompetence and the Tories’ untrustworthiness have put her in:

    a new referendum buys her time as it takes minimum 3 months to hold
    she controls wording of question
    she would control timing
    she can exclude other options
    she can legally spend millions of pounds of public money selling her deal to voters

    And as May controls the question, if she calls a new referendum it will offer voters the choice between the terms of her dismal deal – or leaving with no deal at all. ‘Remain’ will certainly not feature.

    SKWAWKBOX comment:

    • Dungroanin

      Yup – anything that avoids a general election that would allow a genuine reaffirment of the post war social democratic covenant – that would save and restore public services.

    • Ken Kenn

      Bang on David.

      The main role of the ‘Establishment’ is to keep the establishment ( circa 1979) of Neoliberal economics on the road.

      Blair and his predecessors and many PMs since all agree that the Neoliberal economic route is the way to go.

      The EU leaders think the same.

      This is why austerity stalks the continent and the rest of the western world as the politicians represent the beneficiaries of trickle up and when things go wrong the continuation of that trickling.

      This is what the politicians are paid for as are some ( nearly all ) journalists.

      Since 1979 a lot of these people have become accustomed to the lifestyle this position has given them and they will not give that position up easily.

      Corbyn and the Labour Party are a threat to this lifestyle as his aim is not only to stop austerity – but reverse it.

      For a reverse to happen someone else has to pay for austerity and that is the well off and rich as well as corporations.

      They all really don’t like that at all.

      May and many others have let the cat out of the bag.

      Basically they would rather have a No Deal fallout and all its disasterous consequences than a Labour government led by Corbyn.

      Simple as that for me and undermine’s their ‘ National interest rhetoric.

      The prevention of a Corby led government is the glue that holds all these people together.

      Including Blair and his acolytes.

  • Bill Purves

    The EU can agree with Catalonia but the treaty does not allow it to interfere, however, the other countries could unanimously agree to expel Spain.

  • Ian

    Sturgeon is just doing her job, which is to defend the interests of Scotland as she sees it. Brexit is going to be hugely damaging for the UK and Scotland in the immediate future. She has a duty to oppose that and mitigate it if she can. Advocating shirking that responsibility is as lazy and as irresponible as the labour supporters who think their best strategy is to do nothing and wait for the next GE to get elected (newsflash: they won’t).
    As long as Scotland is part of the UK she has a duty to fight for Scotland’s interests. None of the that precludes fighting at the same time for independence.
    Quite agree about Caroline Lucas – funnily enough Sturgeon is similarly admired in England for what is seen as her cogent and rational analysis of brexit and its consequences – something the current Labour leadership seems unable to do. Focussing on Blair is just a waste of time, although it plays to the gallery. He isn’t that influential or relevant, but dissing him is still seen as some great bit of moral grandstanding. There are far more important and pressing questions to be addressed than getting heated about a former PM.

  • Douglas

    The EU is a wonderful project. It has supported peace, cooperation and friendship in Europe.
    That is precisely why powerful interests have devoted so much effort to corrupting the EU and diverting it from a healthy path. These interests thrive on conflict and mistrust. They hate the good things that have come from the EU. A simple example (I’m a medic) is the European Working Time directive, I believe this measure saved many lives over the years. I remember the hugely dangerous situation beforehand -and the resistance from those more concerned about profit than safety. There are many other examples of EU ‘interference’.

    I am not sure whether or not the EU can be recovered from the clutches of the selfish and venal but I do know that the U.K. is too far gone. I am sure that the EU has a better chance without the rU.K. -and possibly an even better chance with a kick arse positive Independent Scotland.

    Regarding the war criminals, I completely agree. They are not welcome. I do wonder why they are involved. One might even think failure is the objective… I’m gonna need a lot more tinfoil for my hat.

    • bj

      The EU is a wonderful project. It has supported peace, cooperation and friendship in Europe.

      Europe is almost 50% Russia.
      The EU is a small subset of Europe.
      Your statement will be considered misleading at best and baloney at worst by many Europeans.

      • Douglas

        The EU is geographically a small subset but is a significant population and economy.
        You don’t need to be the whole of Europe to be a positive influence.

        Any system that helps channel energy into discussion and politics is better than weapons.
        I also think a more positive attitude towards Russia would be a healthy thing.
        Without the EU, Western politics would be even more dominated by the USA than it already is. The USA needs an enemy to justify the arms spending; the collapse of the Soviet Union caused dismay within the military-industrial complex. Saddam, Gadaffi, ISIS and North Korea are poor substitute villains for the full Soviet Union. Russia is being groomed for the public enemy no 1 spot and has good reason to feel anxious.

    • Tom Welsh

      Douglas, if the UK has a democratic political system, why can the people not insist on having reasonable working time limits imposed by the London government?

      It’s odd, isn’t it, that the undemocratic EU could impose such a measure but the supposedly democratic UK can’t?

      If it turns out that the UK does not have a democratic political system after all, why don’t we change the system so that it is democratic?

      • Douglas

        The U.K. political system is more corrupt and undemocratic than the EU system.
        There are problems with both but I regard the U.K. as a lost cause.
        Regarding the EU, it’s worth a go and we will need to see.

        • Tom Welsh

          @Douglas:

          “The U.K. political system is more corrupt and undemocratic than the EU system”.

          If that is so, why are we better off having both – one layered on top of the other?

  • Republicofscotland

    “Sturgeon should be working for nothing else but Scottish Independence, which is the way to honour Scotland’s clear vote to Remain.”

    Yes I do agree with that, SNP MP’s should now distance themselves from the Brexit farce, and the so called people’s votes, which people I’m not entirely sure about. Fronted by the war criminal Blair, in the hope of regaining favour with the British public.

    As you say Sturgeon should be focusing 100% into fashioning an escape route from this now farcical onesided union. I believe we have the votes now to leave, May however will never sanction a Section 30 order, hold it and be damned, or UDI, or what?

    Terry Reintke MEP the Greens European Free Alliance, has even hinted that if Scotland becomes a independent nation before Brexit is concluded, that ot might even be possible for Scotland to remain in the EU. So pushing for a indy vote now might have benefits within the EU, that we can’t see clearly yet.
    Apparently there’s a lot of goodwill within the EU for Scotland.

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