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Reblogged:How the U.K. Could Make This Victory Meaningful

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Here’s an argument I’m waiting to hear: “Since the U.K. acted in a xenophobic and racist manner by removing itself from the European Union, the U.N. and the European Union should step in and force them to be part of it.”

After all, governments throughout the world force citizens to do all kinds of things, like participate in social insurance and welfare distribution schemes; turn in their guns; bake wedding cakes for gay couples even if they personally object; pay huge taxes; obey contradictory and incomprehensible IRS edicts and security/banking laws, not to mention antitrust laws.

If governments have a right to compel citizens to do all these things, then doesn’t the E.U.  have a right to impose its will on Great Britain, whether a majority of British citizens like it, or not?

I’m not saying that I think so. But I am suggesting that if leftists and progressives in Europe and America were consistent, they would argue this. Because everything associated with leftism and progressivism is based on force. It’s basically Communism. They won’t call it that, but that’s what it is. Communism refers to forced giving and forced participation. The same applies to “democratic socialism,” because the majority (often 50.5 percent) gets to impose its will on everyone else, via compulsion. If the British government has a moral and political right to force its citizens to participate in the National Health Service, or to pay taxes for the purposes of supporting a massive welfare state at home, then shouldn’t the E.U. government have the same right to force all citizens of the continent to pay the way of everybody else? It would be consistent.

National sovereignty is important only when your country is a free country, and other nations trying to impose their will on you are not. The United States against, say, Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan was a good thing. Great Britain agianst the E.U. is a good thing — if and only if Great Britain reasserts itself as a free country, including an economically free country. There are no fully, truly free countries on earth today. But some are more free than others. If the British continue to allow their own government to treat them as slaves to London and Parliament, instead of treating them as slaves to moralistic, socialistic twits in Brussels or Berlin, they will have done themselves very few favors.

The same goes for America. Let’s say Donald Trump wins in November. Will Americans use this as an opportunity not just to enforce immigration laws, but to actually expand and restore freedom, liberty, private property and individual rights? In the end, those things are what really matter. Without actual freedom, there is no such thing as a free country. And freedom includes economic freedom, which means the right to not participate in things like Social Security, Medicare, and wealth redistriubution if one does not wish to do so.

I’m all for nationalism — if the nation in question is a champion of individual rights, as the United States originally was.

How ironic that Great Britain, the nation against whom the American colonists rebelled when creating the greatest government and society in human history, now stands at a historic turning point of its own.

Unfortunately, if the British don’t use this opportunity to expand the rights of the individual over and above the power of the gigantic state, turning their economy into a roaring engine of progress, then all of this will have been for nothing.

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The post How the U.K. Could Make This Victory Meaningful appeared first on Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. | Living Resources Center.

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I’m not saying that I think so. But I am suggesting that if leftists and progressives in Europe and America were consistent, they would argue this. Because everything associated with leftism and progressivism is based on force.

But, but, but...The EU isn't leftist. The ruling majority in the European Parliament is made up of Liberals and social/economic conservatives. Not Liberals in the US sense, in the European sense. Middle-right. The head of the EU executive is a member of the EPP, a center-right party. The principal force behind recent EU policies, Germany, is lead by a center-right party.

Just as Britain was run by a center-right party...until now. Now, populist nationalists will likely take over for just long enough to take the fall over the economic damage they caused (and which they lied about to the British public, to get this result). No doubt, once the predictions by 95 percent of British economists come true, the only viable opposition (Labour, which happens to be dominated by the far left lately), will win the next elections in a landslide...at that point, I see two possible outcomes:

1. Labour will call for another referendum (on the grounds that the "Leave" campaign defrauded the British people by downplaying the economic damage), and Britain stays in the EU.

2. They don't stay in the EU, but re-create the same exact bureaucracy the EU has (allowing them to quickly negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU and US).

Either way, they will probably limit the damage caused by the nationalists. However, unlike the EU, Labour IS dominated by the far left. So they'll raise taxes, start spending irresponsibly, and sink Britain even more.

Meanwhile, German conservatives have been quietly moving towards limiting the Brussels bureaucracy. And they made it very clear that a British exit would be taken as a sign that Brussels should be scaled back. So, I wouldn't be surprised if, 5-6 years from now, Germany and Northern Europe turn out to be far more liberal (again, in the European sense, of economic freedom) than Britain. Britain currently ranks fourth among EU member countries (behind Austria, Estonia and Ireland) on the Heritage Economic Freedom Index. In total, the EU has 11 member states in the top 25. I expect Britain to be behind all 10 by the end of the decade.
 

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It’s basically Communism.

 

Again: the EU has 11 MEMBER STATES AMONG THE TOP 25 MOST FREE NATIONS ON EARTH. Including the biggest one (Germany). You have to really, really not know what you're talking about, to call that "basically Communism".

I usually like Dr. Hurd's blog, but, on this subject, he's abjectly uninformed. There is no way someone who knows ANYTHING about Europe would call it "basically Communism".

Leaving this COMPARATIVELY FREE AND CAPITALIST, definitely in no way communist union will be a huge blow for Britain. Possibly a death-blow, judging by the reaction in the "provinces". Scotland is almost certainly leaving (or, rather, staying in the EU), and Northern Ireland might too.

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Thanks for your post Nicky.  I need to a little more investigation into the issue.

Edit:  My own position on the issue has been governed by the issue of representation by individual (English) voters vs. appointed bureaucrats which are unaccountable to voters.  What is your opinion regarding this issue?

Edited by New Buddha
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Great quote in the Guardian today, about what Boris Johnson should've said in his press conference, amidst the rest of the backtracking: “If we are victorious in one more battle … we shall be utterly ruined.” (Plutarch).

He's screwed, by the way...because he's the one who now has to take over the government. And that's a job that comes with certain, and almost immediate, political ruin for whoever gets it.

 

55 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Thanks for your post Nicky.  I need to a little more investigation into the issue.

Edit:  My own position on the issue has been governed by the issue of representation by individual (English) voters vs. appointed bureaucrats which are unaccountable to voters.  What is your opinion regarding this issue?

I've expanded on this in another thread (ran down all the details...although your best bet for the same information would be wikipedia, which is far better organized and easier to read than my post), but the jist of it is that the European government is selected pretty much the same way the British government is: lawmakers are elected directly, while the members of the executive are appointed  and confirmed by lawmakers.

So that argument holds no water. The EU is a democracy.

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Though I don't expect Britain to do significantly better outside the EU, I do hope they do.

The Brexit movement is nationalistic and has had a huge focus on immigration, much like Trump in the U.S. Also, like Trump's supporters, many Brexit supporters don't quite understand the issues of freedom and capitalism. Still, I hold out hope because many of the leaders of Brexit -- particularly the ones inside the establishment -- are not clueless like Trump. So, as far as Britain goes, it seems that the wing of the Conservative party that will take temporary control of government will be a bit more xenophobic but also a bit more for economic freedom. Perhaps wishful thinking, but -- given the result -- I'm hanging my hat on that straw.

I hope Scotland does not leave Britain, for their sake, but if they do they will help make the new England (maybe Northern Ireland will go too) tilt further to the Conservative party. 

The other potential positive of Brexit would be if EU elites introspect about what they have done wrong (just as U.S. elites got us to where we are). But, I have zero hope for that: firstly, they'd have to walk back a lot of theory, and second...they've done what they've done largely as a reflection of the wills of the dumb voters who vote them into power.

It's not clear how this will play out in poorer EU countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain. If this motivates a chunk of them to leave, that would be good news. It would be far more chaotic in the short run: firstly, because it will probably come with explicit (but much needed) debt-defaults; second, because they'd have to unwind a single currency into multiple currencies. But, it would break the true bottleneck of Europe.

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13 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Still, I hold out hope because many of the leaders of Brexit -- particularly the ones inside the establishment -- are not clueless like Trump.

I don't think it matters what they are. What matters is what they did: they deliberately mislead the British public into voting for a supposedly painless Brexit. Their lie will be (has been, actually) exposed, and they will lose power. Soon. They will never get the chance to do anything meaningful.

And when they lose power, Britain will inevitably swing to the Left. That's what always happens when one side screw up: the other side takes over.

What I don't understand is, what was Cameron thinking, calling a referendum in the first place? Can you imagine the US President calling a referendum on how he should do his job? If you've been elected to run your country, run it. Don't start asking voters what it is that you're supposed to do.

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I was a leave voter. I don't regret my vote, my decision wasn't based on misinformation (of which there was certainly a lot of during the campaign). The economic impact of the outcome was not a surprise to me - I wrote to friends and colleagues about it on 6th June.

Longer term, being free of the EU is the best decision the UK could have made economically.

The City will be the hardest hit, as well as some big businesses. As an Objectivist I am pro capitalism, pro free trade. However, the "too big to fail" banks and other businesses are what Rand called the worst of all economic phenomena - private businesses with government help. If Brexit means these entities struggle or if it bursts the global pyramid scheme then I will watch and have the courage to shrug. We've had enough of working 7 days a week to support failing economies, failing businesses and corrupt, unaccountable politicians.

We need to diversify as a nation and allow genuine entrepreneurs - who don't need bailouts and subsidies - to prosper in hopefully what will be a better trading and regulatory environment.. We need to go back to the UK that wanted to do business, and real business. We will still welcome people of value from anywhere in the world to join us.

It also means having real leaders is of huge value now - we will need an early General Election. I would like to see the new British constitution take shape.

There is a lot of work to be done now, but for those in the UK who love their life, for those who love freedom and being productive with their time, this is a great opportunity and something to be hugely excited about.

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38 minutes ago, Jon Southall said:

... this is a great opportunity and something to be hugely excited about.

Giving oneself a new start is an opportunity, but do you think Britain sans EU will really opt for a system that is significantly oriented toward free-economy? Will there be significant rolling back of regulations. You cite big banks being helped by government: will there be significant changes in the extent to which this continues in a more independent Britain? 

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9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

I was a leave voter. I don't regret my vote, my decision wasn't based on misinformation (of which there was certainly a lot of during the campaign). The economic impact of the outcome was not a surprise to me - I wrote to friends and colleagues about it on 6th June.

Longer term, being free of the EU is the best decision the UK could have made economically.

Ok, so YOU knew that there would be economic pain. Most people didn't, they were told there wouldn't be any. So they made this decision based on a lie. Is that still good? What is the value of deceiving someone into doing what you want?

9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

If Brexit means these entities struggle or if it bursts the global pyramid scheme then I will watch and have the courage to shrug.

It doesn't mean that. There is zero danger of a global collapse because of Brexit. The only pyramid scheme that is in danger of collapsing is the British welfare state. If Britain fails to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU, a significant chunk of its economy would be wiped out. That would cause a government default...that is the reason why Britain's credit rating changed after the vote: because if Britain leaves the European Economic Area, the British government will no longer be able to afford to pay its obligations.

The rest of the world, especially continental Europe, will be hurt too, but nowhere near enough to cause a default. 

9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

We've had enough of working 7 days a week to support failing economies, failing businesses and corrupt, unaccountable politicians.

9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

We need to diversify as a nation and allow genuine entrepreneurs - who don't need bailouts and subsidies - to prosper in hopefully what will be a better trading and regulatory environment. We need to go back to the UK that wanted to do business, and real business. We will still welcome people of value from anywhere in the world to join us.

That is NOT what the "LEAVE" camp claimed as their goal, during the campaign. They claimed that they wish to remain in the European Economic Area (or negotiate an equivalent agreement). The preconditions of a country being accepted into the European Economic Area (or being given access to that market) are threefold:

1. you HAVE TO PAY FOR THE EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT.

2. your regulatory environment needs to be congruent with the EU's regulatory environment.

3. you must allow EU citizens access to the job market, and all government services in your country. That's why EU citizens are free to move to Norway or Switzerland, get jobs, sign up for social services (like healthcare and welfare), even though Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU.

So, is negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU no longer Boris Johnson's goal? Because if that's true, the British population ought to be told, and they should be given the opportunity to change their minds. THAT is not the plan they agreed to. The plan was to leave the EU and negotiate a new trade agreement. And the conditions of such a trade agreement were made clear by European officials, before the vote.

9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

There is a lot of work to be done now, but for those in the UK who love their life, for those who love freedom and being productive with their time, this is a great opportunity and something to be hugely excited about.

"great opportunity" is an empty catchphrase, unless you specify a goal. A great opportunity to do what, specifically? As far as I can tell, no new opportunities have opened up, because of this vote.

Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their livelihoods right away, no matter what happens, just as a consequence of companies scaling back in preparation for disaster, and millions more will lose their livelihoods if Britain fails to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU by 2018. That is the only change in the "opportunity" landscape, as far as I can tell: a bunch of people getting the opportunity to be unemployed. I haven't spotted any NEW opportunities, and no one mentioned anything specific either.

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Fun fact about the "Leave" campaign: they falsely claimed that the UK would save £350 million a week, by leaving the EU, and they promised to spend that money on the NHS. In a recent poll, 47% of Leave supporters said they believed that, and only 39% knew it was false.

Now, Boris Johnson has a choice to make: 1. reneg on his promise, angering the 47% of his supporters who were counting on all that new entitlement spending, or 2. pay off his promise by borrowing the money.

Gee, I wonder which he'll go with. It's a great opportunity for more socialism, is what this is.

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Forbes: Brexit Isn't About Leaving Today's European Union: It's About Not Joining Tomorrow's

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One of the things which people never really did manage to get across in the recent referendum campaign was that the whole idea of Brexit isn’t about leaving today’s European Union. It’s much more about not joining tomorrow’s: not taking part in that journey to ever closer European union. On which subject we’re only a couple of days recovered from our celebratory hangovers and we find that the poor benighted continentals are being presented with further plans for further integration... 

 

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2 hours ago, AlexL said:

Forbes: Brexit Isn't About Leaving Today's European Union: It's About Not Joining Tomorrow's

No, Britain left TODAY'S EU, not an imaginary future EU.

If the concern was some imaginary future evil the EU might turn into, they could've waited and left only once that prediction came true. There was no rush. And please don't tell me that later it would've been harder to leave: Britain has by far the most powerful military in the EU. No one could challenge Britain's power to set its own course, even if they wanted to (which they clearly don't, anyway).

P.S. "escape to the future" arguments (which this is an example of) can be used to justify anything.

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5 hours ago, AlexL said:

Forbes: Brexit Isn't About Leaving Today's European Union: It's About Not Joining Tomorrow's

Would you explain this more? Based on the quote, it looks like it's a movement of paranoia. As though somehow a governmental union is by nature "oppressive". If there are LITERALLY laws that the UK is bound to that violate rights, that'd be different. But there are no such laws. And on top of that, most of it seems to be justified on spending more money on programs like NHS. Perhaps you didn't vote to leave for that reason, but it seems most people voted to leave exactly for spending more on UK social programs.

The future UK is looking to be radically worse than whatever the future EU could become.

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Forbes: Brexit Isn't About Leaving Today's European Union: It's About Not Joining Tomorrow's  is the headline of a article written by Tim Worstall for Forbes.

 

The Libertarian crowd is painting this as a victory over the NWO crowd. While it was a rejection of the intellectual elite, it was not for embracing a better intellectual position.

Yaron Brooks did this show shortly after the referendum results.

Radical Capitalist Episode 52: Brexit: What's On the Horizon?

 
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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The future UK is looking to be radically worse than whatever the future EU could become.

I doubt the UK will change radically. How? In what direction? They aren't going to become significantly more statist or free-market. And if they are going to spend more on the NHS etc., it will be money they'd have spent on Europe (subsidizing street signs in Greece or some such). 

 

 

 

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Radically, perhaps not. Worse, yes. But at the least they'd focus more on more social programs in the UK. Subsidizing street signs? Seriously, that sounds like an absurd thing you probably made up. Yes, money spent on Europe - doesn't mean it is wasted money, or that the EU is spending money on frivolous things. I know of nothing -harmful- the EU has done, besides working to develop standards of immigration. They'd end up more statist for sure, exactly because Brexit isn't in the name of free-markets, wasn't proposed for a free market, and provides more political currency to supporters of populist ideas.  

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Ha! Street signs aren't exactly frivolous...the EU funds many of them, but they're usually with roads attached ;)

Anyhow, that concrete was the hyperbole, the key concrete was "Greece". I used Greece as a stand-in for poorer EU countries. My point was not that the EU spending in the poor countries is a waste (relative to typical government spending). Rather, my point is that -- on net -- British payments subsidize spending outside Britain. It is unlikely that the Brits will raise their own taxes significantly. They'll most likely keep them at a similar level and spend the money in Britain. Don't expect it all to go to an NHS hospital a week, but whatever the number is will be spent/frittered inside Britain rather than in poorer EU countries. I don't see how this will hurt Britain.

I cannot see any reason why Britain will become more statist in general. Consider the scenario where the more right-leaning Conservatives take the lead. Compared to the EU, they may become more statist on immigration, but why would they become more statist on, say, environmental regulations. [Folk like Farage and Boris are not Trump-like pragmatists; they genuinely lean to the right of their party (even if an Objectivist would see statism in their economic policy.) ] Or, do you agree with Nicky's predicition that they will bumble, and Labor will take over within a few years?

The EU has a major problem in tying the better economies of the North to the slower-moving economies of the South. This has resulted in untenable debt owed by the South to the North which requires liquidation. This can mean a decade or two of stagnation (Japan has been there, done that, continues to do that). But, there's definitely a risk of things blowing up: good in the long run, but causing pain for a couple of years. The Brits were a bit removed from that mess because they did not use the Euro; but, the point is this: the prognosis for the EU isn't good, so Britain will have to try hard to do significantly worse. 

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6 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

I doubt the UK will change radically. How? In what direction? They aren't going to become significantly more statist or free-market. And if they are going to spend more on the NHS etc., it will be money they'd have spent on Europe (subsidizing street signs in Greece or some such). 

Three key retorts and an ironic factoid to this. Hopefully, the details in my post will convince you that the EU government is in fact not a huge bureaucratic burden on the backs of European economies, but a relatively small, relatively efficient and mostly necessary entity that saves a lot of money for Europe, by reducing populist country level spending (chiefly through a common agricultural policy that has achieved its goal of limiting agricultural subsidies), and eliminating duplicate spending on research (thanks to projects like CERN and the European space program), on border control, diplomacy, etc. (hopefully, eventually, defense spending as well, now that Britain, the chief obstacle in the way of an EU military, is out).

So here goes, this is going to be a long one:

1. The EU's budget is less than 1% of the bloc's GDP. The UK's TOTAL contributions to the EU amount to less than 1% of its GDP. The UK's NET contributions to the EU (money they don't get back, either in the form of a "rebate" or agricultural subsidies) amount to less than 0.3% of its GDP.

In comparison, the British government's budget amounts to 45% of its GDP.

2. Brexit is not likely to result in the UK stopping its contributions to the EU's budget. They could, of course, but only if they do not seek access to the European single market. If they wish to continue to have access to that market, then they will be asked to contribute to the trade zone's government. Naturally. The contributions will be less than the current contributions, but that is only because the rebate and the agricultural subsidies are probably going to end.

End, in a manner of speaking: the British government will no doubt elect to subsidize its farmers directly from now on...but the subsidies will be fixed, as part of the new agreement with the EU: the purpose of the common EU agricultural policy is NOT to subsidize farmers, it's actually a scheme to LIMIT and REDUCE those subsidies. The only way member countries agreed to end direct agricultural subsidies was if the EU took over those payments...this allowed a global limit, and eventual reductions in the subsidies, without member states' politicians being blamed for the cuts. As a result, instead of member state's politicians buying rural votes and giving their farmers a competitive advantage over other EU farmers in a never ending cycle of bigger and bigger subsidies, the EU is able to cap subsidies, and, in theory at least, target disaster areas (like rural Britain, back during the foot and mouth disease epidemic, or the avian flu epidemic).

Agricultural subsidies/rural aid make up 47% of EU spending, by the way. I'm not just picking out a tiny area that happens to further my agenda: agriculture IS the main focus of EU spending. The rest of the budget is divided into tiny chunks that go to administration (6%), border control, foreign aid, research and innovation...like the space project and the Large Hadron Collider (if you want to have some fun, google the LHC, and click British tabloid media links....you will see a great example of the intellectual level the British anti-EU media operate on), etc.

So, long story short, nothing is really going to change: that (relatively small amount of) money will continue to go to exactly the same places it used to, it will just get a different name.

3. The vast majority of economists, and all British financial institutions, agree that the costs of Brexit, in terms of British government revenue, are greater than the UK's contributions to the EU's budget. So, the new NHS spending that was promised, and the contributions the EU will demand as a condition of Britain retaining access to the single market, will have to be paid for by NEW taxes or borrowing.

In fact, new taxes will be necessary simply to maintain the current debt level (which stands above 90% of British GDP, and is important to keep it there in light of Britain's credit rating woes), and current government spending.

Finally, the fun fact I teased at the start of the post: the EU budget is paid for by each member, as a fixed percentage point of its GNI on the year (currently, it's fixed at around 0.6-0.7%). But, when Britain joined the EU, it negotiated the aforementioned rebate for itself (this is money some EU countries, like Germany, give to other countries, like Britain, each year). The reason: Britain was the fourth poorest country in the EU bloc, at the time.

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sNerd,

I don't see how it'd be more of a bad choice to support poorer EU countries than to spend it on things like NHS. On balance, it seems to be smarter spending money on a more cohesive/stable European government than narrow social spending only in Britain. The bigger question is if supporting say, Greece, really does harm Britain worse than spending the same amount on the NHS.

I don't know enough about EU economic stuff to make a knockout argument from it. My reasoning is based on what the majority of leavers seemed to vote for.

More statist because clearly most British people who voted to leave were expecting more statist stuff. They found out that won't happen. So they'll probably then aim to vote in more statist policymakers. Leaving the EU would make the already existing demand for statists to be greater than before. Broken promises make people mad.

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7 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

I doubt the UK will change radically. How? In what direction? They aren't going to become significantly more statist or free-market.

I think the most easily measurable change is in indebtedness level. Currently, UK public debt stands at 90%. I think that will go up significantly. How much would you say it would have to go up by, in let's say the next seven years (that's two elections cycles: I give the conservative majority two years, before they're forced to call early general elections, and Labour takes over), for the adverb "radically" to be able to be applied?

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It is highly unlikey the labour party will be in power any time soon. Also whoever leads the Tory party, it is more likely to be someone who was in favour of Leave. Torys tend to be less statist than other parties. They are more in favour of privatisation.

The Tory party is likely to want to keep trade with the EU, and even if no deal is done within two years we will default to WTO rules, which would mean no contribution would be necessary, and no freedom of movement clause enforced. Any tarriffs would benefit the UK as we are a net importer of EU goods. There is a great opportunity to negotiate favourable trading deals with countries outside of the EU.

By leaving the EU the UK benefits from greater democratic freedom. Whether it is used wisely depends very much on the electorate and who they elect. They are starting to make better choices.

The banking sector is being supported at the moment, because of fears that not doing so would lead to economic collapse. Will this stop in the short term? No. Does this kind of policy resonate with good economics based on real fundamental value - no. You can avoid reality, but you can't avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. It will catch up with us at some point, and when it does, a reasonable citizenry will want change & reform.

Most leavers voted for the following reasons:

1. Concerns over immigration (though this was not a real issue for me). Impacts on job opportunities, housing, culture. 

2. The perception that the EU was overfunded by the UK and not delivering value. The desire to get this money back.

3. The creeping political union when what people wanted is an economic union. Less democratic freedom in the UK as a result.

4. Sub par, unelected, unaccountable technocrats. Many of whom are appointed for reasons of domestic politics.

5. The passing of ever more unwelcomed directives, regulations and laws. Many of which have harmed industries such as fishing and energy.

6. The perception across almost all of England & Wales (apart from London) that over the past 40+ years life has got worse as a member of the EU. This is despite supposed workers protection and such like. They can see it isn't working and want more control over their lives.

What will happen next is up for grabs. That is the great opportunity. Leave voters didn't like what they were seeing happen around them, and they've voted for the freedom to change it. 

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9 hours ago, Jon Southall said:

By leaving the EU the UK benefits from greater democratic freedom. Whether it is used wisely depends very much on the electorate and who they elect. They are starting to make better choices.

Most of these are public perception as opposed to real facts.

1: "Impacts" yes, but trade protectionism is generally bad, historically speaking. As though hard times means the EU makes it worse... I don't know of evidence that any problems are -caused- by the EU.

2: Perception, yes. What's the evidence?

3: Political union looks desirable to me. Why is it so scary? Big doesn't mean bad.

4: Eh, makes sense, this might be a good point. But it doesn't really sound bad to me.

5: Which laws?

6: See 2. A lot of people are bad at reasoning about economic causality too.

Also, what is this "democratic freedom"? Sounds like populism to me. The "will of the people".

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