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Samizdata quote of the day

But why should those of us who want to leave the EU feel any obligation to accept the particular vision of the UK’s future offered by Gove or anyone else? Why the insistence that we couldn’t vote to leave the EU without a clearly worked out plan about what happens next? The referendum question boils down to the question of control: who decides what the UK should do in relation to the economy, immigration, trade rules or anything else? Those things should be decided in Westminster, not Brussels.

Rob Lyons

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • If we vote “Leave” as I hope we do, then it will take 2-years to agree the terms of the “Divorce”, but if we are unable to do so the “Divorce” becomes automatic.

    It will be the EU which will be struggling, because once we are free, the flow of funds to the “EU” will cease. I expect them to argue strongly for alimony and for the new leader of the Conservatives (for Dave Cameron will absolutely be toast) to tell them to politely “get fucked”.

    Unless the remaining revenue generating countries of the EU lean-in to cover the gaping hole in finances then the EU itself will fall soon afterwards.

  • gongcult

    My thought is that the UK or any nation currently being involved in the European Union or NATO should consider the benefits or hazards for its national sovereignty as a member. If you could still benefit from membership, cool! If you’re going to be usurped, then maybe not ok.We need a strong Euro-American alliance to protect the West’s interests, but not at the point of f-king over the member nations!

  • Paul Marks

    The E.U. and NATO are very different – the United Kingdom still retains a veto over all NATO operations, not true with the E.U. (whose directives and so on have the force of law without consent).

    Yes we would be free to decide our own fate if we left the E.U. – but I think Mr Gove (and Mr Johnson) are right to present an open minded Free Trade future.

    We are not Donald Bleeping Trump – and our enemies will try and paint us as him (“Donald Trump supports Bretix”) if we do not give a positive vision of life outside the E.U.

    Saying “well Westminster will decide these things” is no good to a population that (for good reason) despises Westminster almost as much as it despises the E.U. – it is also horribly VAGUE.

    Like the Whites in the Russian Civil War – “everything will be decided by a Constituent Assembly”.

    No good – you have to say where you stand, what sort of future you are offering.

    In short Mr Gove (who has gone way up in my estimation) is correct to present a positive programme.

    And “we will not tell you what will happen – it will be for Westminster to decide these things” is no good.

    That is a pig in a poke – people will not vote for “we are not going to tell you what will happen – Westminster will decide and could decide to do anything”.

    Say what you intend to happen – present a positive Free Trade and open minded vision of the future out from the additional layer of government that is the E.U.

    Or Cameron and Osborne will win.

  • gongcult

    So then do you think it would be advantageous for the UK for the to remain in NATO while leaving the EU? This could be the best of a bad situation which otherwise could leave you screwed …. and certainly Cameron and Osborne will trash you in terms of policy and guidance. ..

  • This whole way of talking – that you need a ‘clearly worked out plan’ – comes from people so absurd they have not noticed how rarely any government’s plan works as expected and how routinely the EU’s plans work out exactly the opposite of what was claimed. The EU had a plan to introduce the euro and thus do great things for the economies of all its members. How’s that working out?

    Those who plan to vote ‘Leave’ include those sensible enough to know that plans had better be flexible and not too much the ego trips of their authors because the future will contain surprises, including the surprise (great to many politicians) of discovering one is not so clever and farsighted as one thought.

  • PeterT

    Indeed, Niall. However, it may help win the referendeum to be seen to have a ‘map’. More importantly, major Leave campaigners do not come across as having a good idea of how negotiations could pan out; what the various issues are and so forth. They should be expected to have a narrative of ‘if x then y, if z then w’.

  • So then do you think it would be advantageous for the UK for the to remain in NATO while leaving the EU?

    Not leaving the EU would be madness, but leaving NATO would be also be madness.

  • John B

    F A Hayek pointed put that nobody can have enough useful knowledge to determine best economic outcome and plan and control it. He called the notion that there can be such a plan, ‘the fatal conceit’.

    There can be no meaningful plan for post-Brexit just as there can be no meaningful plan for Remain… curiously those demanding a post-Brexit plan do not demand to see a plan for post-staying.

    Don’t we have enough evidence of the futility of ‘plans’ not least from the days of the USSR, but the perpetual boom and bust caused by each Government’s ‘plan’ and the fatal conceit of those like Gordon Brown whose ‘plan’ had supposedly put an end to boom and boost?

    There is however one post-Brexit ‘plan’ – unilateral free trade.

  • Mr Pants

    To pick up on John B’s point about Hayek and the fatal conciet…

    The referendum may well be decided by immigration. There seem to be two threads to the anti-immigration position as expressed by the man on the Clapham omnibus. Firstly, that there is precious little integration between the newcomers and the wider British society. Perhaps more interesting is the second commonly trotted out answer; that there is too much pressure on our public services.

    These are universally either government provided services (maternity wards / school places) or privately provided services which are subject to colossal levels of state interference (the housing market / public transport).

    We know that the government had a better idea of who was coming into this country (based on National Insurance numbers) than they were prepared to admit and they knew the ages and genders of those arriving. From that information alone it would have been possible to estimate the birth rate and plan accordingly. They didn’t and we can all see the consequences of that all around us.

    By contrast, privately provided goods and services have, despite not being privy to the same detailed information, managed to match supply to demand much better.

    So a shortage of maternity beds and midwives hasn’t corresponded to a shortage of nappies and baby formula. A shortage of housing hasn’t corresponded to a shortage of food and so on.

    Even with incomplete data the free market has met our needs better than a planned economy ever could.

    If only we Brits could grasp this simple point we might actually get somewhere.

  • Jacob

    “…population that (for good reason) despises Westminster almost as much as it despises the E.U. ”

    Very good reasons.
    I’m far away and maybe ignorant, but it seems to me Westminster’s policies aren’t any better that Brussels’ so what difference would a Brexit make? It is a distinction without a difference.
    Sure, emotionally, people prefer home-made mistakes to those imposed from Brussels, but objectively there is no difference.

  • I’m far away and maybe ignorant, but it seems to me Westminster’s policies aren’t any better that Brussels’ so what difference would a Brexit make? It is a distinction without a difference.

    No, the differences are enormous, but it is not about ‘policies’ but rather fundamental structure. The fact the vermin in Westminster are just as capable of contriving policies every bit as ghastly as their counterparts in Brussels is simply not the point. Westminster is amenable to upheaval and push-back from within Britain in ways Brussels simply isn’t. THAT is the issue and it is massive, material and objective.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Westminster is better than Brussels for the simple reason that, despite its faults and limitations, the prospect of a government that would swing towards libertarian ideals is at least possible, whereas in Brussels it would never happen, due to the massive amount of statist and leftist infiltration.

    The entire raison d’être of the EU is to control people, and to garner ever increasing control over ever more people, this is evident in its policies and doctrine, it is not the direction I see a libertarian movement ever thriving.

  • NickM

    I disagree. Quite simply I don’t care if I’m being shafted from Westminster or from Brussels. I am being shafted. If you are being embuggerated in a back alley do you care what nationality the embuggerator is? No. The simple fact a huge raft of illiberal nonsense has been enacted by Westminster (sometimes via the EU) is the issue. The EU is the symptom, not the cause.

    My wife is anti-Brexit and was leafleting today. Some bloke got aggressive towards her and said, amongst other things, every EU migrant is a cost of GBP2000 pa. That is probs true in a sense but then so is every natural born Brit. That is the problem. That is why we run a budget deficit. That is why the whole idea of immigration as a cost is credible. The issue is a society where humans are not a benefit but a cost.

  • Jacob

    Besides, I never knew that EU had such enormous powers. It seems they are mostly about empty talk, and all members do as they please anyway.

    Sure, the EU is an enormous superstructure of bureaucracy, waste and corruption. Getting rid of it would be nice, even if you are left with your national bloated layer of useless functionaries and waste. It is also probable that England would save money by cutting it’s contribution to Brussels.

  • RAB

    The difference Nick, is that if you are being shafted by Westminster, you can get rid of them via Tony Benn’s five principles. With Brussels you are a feudal serf once again, with no say whatsoever. If we vote to stay in, watch how fast they move to a full blown United States of Europe, and be prepared for a name change of dear old Blighty to Airstrip 1.

  • Mr Ed

    I disagree. Quite simply I don’t care if I’m being shafted from Westminster or from Brussels.

    The choice is:

    A: Be shafted from Westminster and Brussels.

    B: Be shafted from Westminster.

    There is not yet a ‘C: Neither of the above‘, but B is a step towards C, or rather less of ‘being shafted‘.

    If you cannot see that, what hope is there for you?

  • Alisa

    I strongly suggest that anyone wrestling with such questions watch the Brexit movie linked in a recent post here – it does a very good job of answering them.

  • PeterT

    I am quite simply amazed that anybody who professes to be a libertarian would not by wholeheartedly enthusiastic about the prospect of removing one major level of government at one fell swoop.

  • Julie near Chicago

    A rather general point, not only about Brexit:

    It seems to me that as a matter of practical politics, not to mention the way we run our own personal lives, if there is a proposal to do away with the old dispensation entirely, there had better be some plausible idea of how to proceed afterward … at least a rough plan.

    Tell people that you’re going to abolish taxes, or Social Security, or the D. of Ed. and Federal funding of schools, or the FDA (“but they see that our foods are safe!”), with no mention of what comes next on your agenda, and see how far you get.

    Along the same lines: There is a common objection to Armed Revolution as the Agenda of young hooligans and worse of all ages that there is no mention of What Happens Next. So the Revolution boils down to nihilism and the urge to destroy for its own sake.

    The movie is helpful in that regard because it at least points to the fact that things were different, and better, once — when all those Regulations weren’t in place.

    . . .

    The movie also points out the mountains of £ extracted from the wallets of the Britisher. Not only in the form of direct taxes (payments to the EU for the privilege of being fleeced and, it seems, dissed), but also in the form of unnecessarily high prices of food and other luxuries.

    Even if one equates the Bruxellian yoke with that of Westminster in the political sphere (which as a Brexit cheerleader I do not), the money thing matters hugely.

    . . .

    All of this is already pointed out by others above, of course.

  • Alisa

    food and other luxuries


  • Julie near Chicago


  • Roue le Jour

    There was a clearly worked out plan when we joined, it was just that we weren’t allowed to know what it was.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh! You mean Nancy Pelosi was the Chief Advisor to that one.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    This is why I like the Swiss system- the Canton officials would be people you knew, or could soon reach. Local government is the most responsive level, or it could be, if it couldn’t pass the buck and claim they were overruled by ‘higher’ powers.

  • staghounds

    When your paramour starts hitting you, you leave now and plan later.