Reply To: New World Shifting to the Indo-Pacific new nuclear powered submarines

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Michael, thanks for the clarification.

“I doubt either Nick Clegg or David Cameron had any real intentions of allowing a Referendum on Brexit”

The EU referendum was Cameron’s publicity stunt, which he assumed would finally silence the “rabid Conservatives” you mentioned. It backfired, but only just. Far too many people thought that ‘Remain’ was a foregone conclusion; many of these were so sure that they didn’t even bother to vote.

I can tell it was a publicity stunt because there was no plan. You can’t just pull out of a massive trading bloc without a plan. ‘Remain’ obviously didn’t need a plan. ‘Leave’ was entirely undefined.

“The U.K. had more or less been de-industrialised. I am not sure I know why…”

I see two major reasons. Thatcher started the de-industrialisation to destroy the power of the trades unions. Globalisation continued the process, because manufacturing for multinationals is far cheaper in countries with less regulation, lower wages and poorer working conditions.

Freedom of movement played its part but that could have been addressed, both as ET mentioned, and by convergence between the value of the Pound and the Euro. The fact that it wasn’t is because employers always want to pay lower wages, and since the ascendency of neoliberalism, government consistently sides with employers over employees.

One thing that was very wrong with the UK’s place in the EU was that the UK opted out of many EU worker protections such as the Working Time Directive. The EU is neoliberal, but Westminster is even more so; that is one reason I voted ‘Remain’. Another is that membership of the EU imparted some protection to the UK against the US and its neoliberal corporatism. A third is that there was never any plan for ‘Leave’, such that ‘Leave’ held massive potential for disaster. That disaster could arrive very soon, with no UK gas storage and the termination of EU treaty obligations to supply gas and electricity; in fact it has already started.

I had other reasons to vote ‘Remain’ too. I had spent a little time in the mainland EU, and had seen that most things are done rather better over there. I had travelled across the open borders, seen the cultural integration, experienced the relaxed attitude. I have two friends in German/English families, and I used to have a French/US girlfriend. Jamie’s festival had a lot of volunteers from the EU due to a cross-cultural initiative organisation.

I have grave criticisms of the EU as well; what the EU bank did to democracy in Greece, and EU support for the Spanish government’s violence against the Catalan referendum voters.

Such a complex set of issues to have to make a yes/no/abstain choice about. But ganging up with the US and forcing Australia to join a confrontation against China is a worse outcome than I ever expected.