EU chickens coming home to roost.


Some would define love of your country by first defining your enemies. And once you’ve done that you dig yourself in to defend yourself against them. For too long the European Union has been that enemy. There is plenty to dislike about the EU. No one truly loves everything about it. No one is blind to its weaknesses.

For some the idea of a European super state is too much. That’s not what they voted for in the 1975 referendum. They voted for free trade within the Common Market as it was called. Free trade. Free movement of goods and services. That was all right. It was the other freedom that was objectionable. The free movement of people. These remain voters in 1975 who switched sides in 2016 didn’t vote for foreigners to come to UK in the millions. Even though many knew others who exercised exactly that same freedom to move to Spain and Cyprus, to name but two countries.

Free movement of goods and services without free movement of people within a capitalist system results in the wealth of poor countries being sucked out by the wealthier ones. What did they expect the unemployed of southern Europe, eastern Europe, the unemployed from anywhere to do for that matter? They did what any of us would do. Move to where the work is, where the money is.

Britain, being one of the wealthier countries within the EU was one magnet for people seeking a means of survival. And some of the Brexit voters hate that. How dare they come over here to pick our fruit and vegetables, serve us in restaurants, make our hotel beds.

I’m aware that many voted to leave the EU because they felt their government had ignored them for too long. That’s the government in London. When travelling in Europe through France, Germany and Italy I am aware that they are still making things and selling them. They still have a car industry that they own. A steel industry their government protects. Why didn’t the UK government do the same? The government from Thatcher through to Cameron was quite happy to see British assets stripped bare and British workers unemployed. When BMW took over Rover a British government minister said ‘it doesn’t matter who owns the factories, it only matters where the factories are’. A few years later BMW cut and run, keeping the Mini, selling off Land Rover and leaving the rest on the dole. Could you imagine the German, French or Italian governments doing that? Allowing Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault to disappear as businesses?

The great deception is perpetuated by the right wing, that the European Union was to blame for these events. When it was British politicians standing by and allowing this to happen.

When the Euro referendum occurred some who were telling us to leave the EU said it didn’t mean that we would have to leave the single market. We could leave the EU, stop free movement of people but keep free movement of goods and services. The events of this week have exposed more than ever that this is a lie.

Northern Ireland can either be part of the UK and outside the single market. Or it can have free trade with Ireland but not the rest of the UK.

Boris Johnson said 3 months before the referendum;

‘I think we can strike a deal as the Canadians have done based on trade and getting rid of tariffs. It’s a very, very bright future I see’

The Canadian deal does not involve free movement of services, an important part of the British economy now that successive governments have shat on the working classes. Who no longer make things in the quantities they used to.

This is what Michael Gove said;

‘After we vote to leave we will remain in the (free trade) zone’

Nigel Farage said the UK wasn’t just a European nation (oh yes it is, I’ve got a map to prove it).

‘We’re not (just a part of Europe), we’ve got the Commonwealth, we’ve got America’.

‘We’ve got America? ‘ It’s led by someone who’s slogan is ‘America First’.

And what about Turkey? Nigel Farage said

‘We are going to go into political union with a country that has got borders with Iraq, Iran and Syria, a country that is poorer than anybody else in the European Union and give free movement to 75 million people. And join up with a government that is increasingly Islamist and authoritarian.’

That last sentence is important. It is the reason Turkey will fail to meet the standards demanded by the European Union. And it will never join the EU until it does. Why mention Turkey at all if it has slim chance of joining EU?

If it stinks of racism, that’s because it was exactly that.

Yesterday Teresa May was about to announce that UK was going to move forward in Brexit negotiations. And then she got a phone call from Arlene in Belfast. Her chickens have home to roost. And it’s the rest of us that pay the price.




  1. Nice, solid post, thanks.
    As regards the disarray in the Tory party, Fintan O’Toole asked on the New York Review’s blog the other day (, “Does any British government have the authority to make a deal on Brexit?” He answered himself, “There is a vacuum of authority, one that has been filled, most improbably, by the DUP, a party that received just 292,000 votes, or less than 1 percent of the total cast, in the UK’s general election in June. Before the Europeans can even think about a final deal with the British, they need to know whom exactly they are supposed to be dealing with. They can be forgiven for not understanding that it is the DUP.”
    No kidding.
    Question from an American: We can see the toxicity on the Tory right, the Goves and Johnsons and Rees-Moggs and, farther out there still, Mr. Farage.
    Money has undermined our country’s politics. Is it at the root of yours, too? Specifically, is all the “have our cake and eat it” nonsense because the Brexiteers are as dependent as our politicians are on political contributions from (I don’t know, but would assume) the likes of Paul Dacre and others on the right less prominent to us over here?


    • Money has something to do with the EU debate, they funded both sides of the debate and corporate interests didn’t agree with only one side in the referendum. I think another factor is that state funding was available to both camps. I think the real issue is that the Brexit vote occurred because living standards have been affected by years of austerity since 2010 and some blamed EU citizens living in the UK for this. Rather than the government which pursued this policy. Also the weakness of trade unions has weakened the solidarity of the working class. Taking back control is all well and good but if you’re just transferring it from one elite to another it makes no difference to people’s feeling of being in charge of their own destiny.


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