21 June 2020 — True Publica
This week marks four years of political acrimony in the guise of Brexit – the most divisive and toxic ideology to hit Britain since the Second World War. Having reached nothing more than a negotiated stalemate with the EU, the likelihood is that Britain will inextricably tie itself to a form of Atlantasism that will do irreversible harm to the British way of life. This is the ultimate desire of American born Boris Johnson and the shadowy and largely undisclosed free-market fundamentalists that support him. And as each day counts down and the dawn of 2021 approaches many will wonder how Britain ended up sacrificing itself to a dying financial doctrine and become a de facto playground for wealthy foreign asset strippers.
TruePublica Editor: At Heathrow airport last December, I was struck by an event I was not expecting when hiring a car. I’d been a customer at the same car hire office several times a year for the last nine years. This time was different. The queue was clearly made up of strangers but they had one noticeable thing in common – they were almost exclusively American. It was apparent that they were unconnected. What was clear was they were excited to be in Britain, not as tourists, but for business. It was a moment when predicted fears became a reality. Britain is about to be invaded by vulture funds, hedge-funds, opportunists and gangsters in suits. They are here to acquire and asset strip. Britain’s weakened currency gives investors holding US Dollars unprecedented investment scope – effectively a 20 per cent discount. The market expectation is that Sterling will fall even further as we enter 2021 – ravaged by a pandemic, facing economic disaster and additionally burdened by Brexit. The hyenas can smell the blood of numerous injured and limping businesses. This is disaster capitalism in its finest hour.
One after the other, the promises made by the Tory Brexiteers have been exposed as lies. Free-market access to the single market was just one of them, no-one particular industry will lose out, no border in Northern Ireland. From immigrants taking ‘our’ jobs to the ‘easiest trade deal in human history’ and promises that the Union will be stronger – it was just one lie, piled upon another lie, piled upon yet more lies.
So difficult was the ‘easiest trade deal in human history’ that four years later, negotiations with the EU for a trade deal has reached nothing more than a manufactured stalemate.
Foreign state actors and American billionaires threw undisclosed sums of money into the Brexit campaign via front charities, think tanks, shady companies and offshore entities – and used the media to drag this ideology over the line. The end-game to their investment was a hard Brexit. The scandals followed – Vote Leave, Leave EU, Cambridge Analytica, SCL Elections, Facebook and so on, were all investigated for electoral law-breaking. Dozens of investigations by the Electoral Commission unearthed more. Dark Money coursed through the veins of Britain’s democracy. Hedge funds made millions shorting the GBP, knowing the referendum result before the general public. It appears now that every week more crimes and scandals over Brexit and this Tory party are being uncovered – just ask Boris Johnson about the Russia Report and see what response you get.
The lies tell you something, don’t they? There was no solid evidence-based argument for leaving the EU as Britain already had so much in its control. And we already live in a world of international treaties and agreements, the EU was just one of them – you’re either in one camp or another. And as the pandemic has just clearly demonstrated – if we had been in the EU, many more reliable tools were available to fight it. But without it, Britain’s performance on the world stage was shameful – all of it driven by either corruption or a mistaken world view that somehow Britain is exceptional.
The reality of Brexit is that Britain’s economy will be badly affected for many years – certainly longer than a decade and this much is now accepted. Much of the growth that Britain has enjoyed over the last 40 years has been inward investment, which has, for the first time, ground to a halt with the economy heading into recession even before the start of 2020 and Covid pandemic. Both inward investment and productivity had crashed. The former was the worst in a decade, the latter the worst for 200 years – both as a direct result of Brexit.
“far from giving the NHS £350m a week – Brexit has cost Britain’s economy £600million a week from June 2016 to December 2019”
Since well before the pandemic, the Bank of England’s own economic forecasts of the effects of a hard Brexit were dire. A grim contraction to the economy to match that of the 2008 financial crisis is the most likely outcome it warned. For one unreported and significant example, we witnessed the global value of IPO’s double in 2016 but Britain’s involvement suddenly cratered – the first tangible fall in decades. The FT reports that in 2016, just under $7bn was raised in IPOs in London compared with $17.2bn in 2015.
The website ‘BrexitLies‘ – has posted hundreds of mainstream newspaper reports of the damage that Brexit will bring – from the ravaging effects upon our NHS to business investment, from deregulation to working conditions. Veteran journalist Peter Oborne’s website lists the scale of the Brexit lies of Boris Johnson and his cronies. The Brexit Syndicate website tells a story of how Britain was conned and the e-book; Brexit – a Corporate Coup D’Etat exposes the detail of who did what, how they profited and what comes next. The evidence of this self-inflicted failure of the politicians massively outstrips any positive news.
Whilst the macroeconomic implications of Brexit on the UK are significant, the political impact could be even more profound and long-lasting. One notable side-effect is that another referendum on Scottish independence will be demanded and if given – Scotland will become independent. But Westminster will resist and the frustrated people of Scotland will likely respond more forcefully. The implications of this don’t bear thinking about. And when these hateful, divisive campaigns get underway, Northern Ireland will join in as checks on the border cause yet more outrage.
In the meantime, it should be noted that far from giving the NHS £350m a week – Brexit has cost Britain’s economy £600million a week from June 2016 to December 2019.
Goldman Sachs, one of the worlds most aggressive financial predators is now targeting retail banking in Britain. It has racked up 33 massive fines totalling thirteen thousand million dollars since 2000 for their top offences (see tracker), which include ripping off investors, mortgage fraud, illegal market manipulation and a very long list of banking violations and abuses. These criminals, some of the most egregious lawbreakers in the Western world have been welcomed in Britain with open arms. The international money-laundering machine dubbed the ‘laundromat‘ that is the square mile is to be expanded.
Corporate crime is built into the system (and the balance sheets) of American business activity – and their criminal records are truly breathtaking. One tiny example is that Walmart was caught forcing employees to work off the clock; cheating them out of overtime pay or face losing their jobs. It’s the way America does business – profit at any cost.
The government will hail the arrival of new trade deals. Collectively, they won’t amount to anything like the current arrangement with the EU. After four years, the trade deals that have been signed, in readiness for 2021 amount to just 13 per cent of Britain’s 2019 trade with the EU. To sign more up, Britain needs to tear up the regulatory book on food standards, public services and all manner of public protections. This lets in the worst standards of American products, practices and ethics. And their business ethics as mentioned are shocking.
For instance, the USA has not enacted any new regulations over the make-up industry for eight decades. The consequence is that around 1,300 ingredients in make-up products sold in the US are banned in the EU. Everything from asbestos to carcinogenic chemicals to dangerous bacteria lurking in skins cleansers. Phthalates are ubiquitous in American beauty products as are Parabens, Dioxane, Triclosan and hundreds of others are known carcinogens – all of which will suddenly arrive in British shops.
Leaving aside chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected meat – food poisoning is expected to dramatically increase as lower standards and benchmarks are introduced. Due to poor supply chain management and lowered standards, America suffers somewhere between 10 and 14 times more food poisoning incidents per million population than the UK. Common ingredients in American food products include Potassium bromate and azodicarbonamide, BHA and BHT, Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO’s) and so on – all of which, are harmful to human health. GMO’s and gene-editing laws are being changed right now in Britain and it won’t be long before labelling laws are as well.
Those in any doubt about the impact of labelling should consider the fact that companies selling GM foods in the US have spent the best part of $100 million in recent years to oppose laws that would compel them to tell their customers exactly what’s in their products.
Worse still, a cross-Whitehall study of the costs and benefits of Brexit estimated that a US free trade agreement would increase UK GDP by only 0.2 per cent after 15 years, a tiny fraction of the costs of Brexit during that time.brexit
Festival of deregulation
George Monbiot wrote just last week – “Even parliamentary consent is unnecessary. The trade bill, which has now reached the committee stage in the House of Commons, makes no provision for parliamentary scrutiny of any deal. Parliament has no legal right under this bill to debate or vote on a trade deal, or even to know what it contains. The bill also grants the government Henry VIII powers to change the law on trade agreements without parliamentary approval. The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are granted no formal role in negotiating or approving trade treaties. In other words, nothing is being left to chance. This is not democracy. This is an elective dictatorship.”
By 2030, Britain will have arrived at its race to bottom just as America did two decades ago. Immersed in a public health crisis that this deregulation festival will bring to us, we’ll all look back and wonder what the hell we were thinking of. The traditional agricultural industry of Britain will have been decimated and replaced by big US agribusiness and chemical giants. Digital privacy will be non-existent, inequality will have got worse, life-expectancy receded further as the NHS is turned into a profit-seeking insurance backed scheme of misery and everything from education to policing will be subject to the free market.
Corporate tribunals will be introduced and make their mark every time the political will of the people attempts some protective measures through parliament as Britain is sued for billions for the “loss of future anticipated corporate profits.”
Dominic Cummings, who will do immeasurable damage to the inner workings of domestic governance and international diplomacy will realise his dream – an American styled NATO control room that incessantly captures real-time data surveillance on what the public is doing and thinking and ensuring a compliant media does his bidding.
This is Britain’s last gasp as its empire finally withers and is absorbed by another. Neoliberal profit-seeking fanatics and foreign state actors longing to see Britain stripped of its wealth and power funded this heist aided by self-serving politicians expecting a huge personal payoff – amazingly, they got away with it.