Democratic Brexit – or not

Bill Mitchell and Thomas Fazi have written what seems to me a rather odd article where they run through the history of the changes in the EU ending with its conversion to neoliberalsm. They finish:

To conclude, any belief that the EU can be ‘democratised’ and reformed in a progressive direction is a pious illusion. Not only would this require an impossible alignment of left movements/governments to emerge simultaneously at the international level. On a more fundamental level, a system that was created with the specific aim of constraining democracy cannot be democratised. It can only be rejected.

We are back to the permanence of politics. In a continent that started two world wars, such immovable objects and irresistable forces are unlikely to last forever. And by running away from the problem you are even less likley to solve it. Since we live next door to this apparent incoherence we’ll be unlikely to miss out on many of their ill effects.

Brexiteers seem to think we can, though I imagine that Bill Mitchell must believe in economic gravity (deftly and humorously explained here using the metaphor of Brighton beach) which can be summarised as double the distance and halve the trade. Even financial services cannot defy this given.

I understand the distaste of the authors for the EU. Indeed I and others often share in that, but in order to change something you must engage with it. Additionally, when disengaging (as we are trying to) serves only to make lives more difficult and the UK much poorer, we must take stock before we leave the largest trading block in the world – larger even than China. This is especially so when the UK is one of the big three economies of the EU which has, necessarily, some influence.

Even so, should we leave,  the Swindon Advertiser is convinced that Honda will leave the UK. It may be an obsessively local story but if you were Honda why would you stay?

Yet, we must not forget that the new German finance minister will not be the same one as when Adults were in the Room, indeed he will be a social democrat, so there will be some change in outlook, and with President Macron there is the possibilty of an eventual change in the workings of the European Central Bank. Chancellor Merkel, it seems to me, has been much weakened by her last election results. Some change is  on the horizon.

Regardless of this, the Our Future, Our Choice movement points out that the people who will actually have to live with the consequences of Brexit will be our youth, who voted overwhelmingly to stay.

The under 55 population of the UK voted to Remain in the EU. Brexit is a long-term project which will take decades to complete and won’t even start until 2021. On the basis of those facts alone it needs to be stopped. The alternative would be knowingly creating a situation where by the time we actually leave, based on natural realities, we would be a Remain country.

So, merely based on the certainty of death, I think the ayes have it.

And the headstone has already been prepared.



  1. Sean Danaher -

    I admire Bill Mitchell a lot, he is excellent on Modern Monetary Theory but I have never agreed with him about the EU
    Yanis was a strong supporter ofMacron and as you say things could change in Germany with the Social Democrats gaining Finance

    It was announced yesterday that Germany had overtaken China in having the largest
    trade surplus globally.

    I’m quite hopeful for the EU but not sadly the UK. I have very low expectations that Johnson’s speech will be more than empty rhetoric. Appropriate for the Oxford Union perhaps- maybe I am being over cynical?

  2. Ivan Horrocks -

    Peter, going back to my blog or a week or so ago, and picking up on a point you make, I have no doubt – no doubt – that Nissan, along with Toyota and Honda, will leave the UK. It won’t happen suddenly, of course. Typically we’re looking at five year developmental ‘windows’ for relocating this kind of production. But the run down will start much sooner – and as a commentor on my blog with what seemed like some insider knowledge suggested, this is likely already happening.

    1. Peter May -

      I noticed that too. What an own goal!

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