The no-deal rationale
A narrative emerges: “The EU anti tax avoidance laws will come into action soon, therefore the UK billionaires want to get the UK out of the EU asap with no extension to ART50”. Panama papers shoud give one a clue about how much it would suck for segments of the UK to suddenly have off-shore accounts taxed.
This seems plausible in general terms – much more plausible than “The instigators of Brexit have suddenly gone insane and don’t understand how bad Brexit will be for the economy”. I rather think that they know exactly what Brexit will do for the UK economy and also what it will do for their personal finances, which won’t be bad at all. And no one likes going to jail either. The common folks can keep going to scr*w themselves, they certainly cannot expect the likes of Reese Mogg or the former banker Farrage to help them out.
My only niggle is that the new directive came into force January 2019, not “soon”. I suppose the UK can ignore it for a bit, if they leave in two months, but finds it harder to ignore it, if they stay for say half a year and certainly not, if they have a withdrawal agreement keeping them in the EU for two years. Thus it would make sense for the leading Brexiteers, to push for a no-deal. Forget about FTAs and sovereignty. That is all just fodder for the masses.
Of course they cannot do it directly, for the leave voters seem to be simple-minded and naive, but not completely insane. Therefore, in order to save their finances and possibly freedom, the LeaverLeaders (LLs) need to invent stuff like “managed no-deal”, which is an oxymoron, rejected in many ways by the EU and receives scepticism from voters.
When that does not fly, they need to come up with WTO promises, which are not based on reality. Let’s not rehash, but briefly – the UK will need to re-apply for a membership of WTO, every member has a right to veto, Argentina will want Falklands, Spain will want Gibraltar, the US will want deregulation, which wil zero the chances of a FTA with Europe.
And then there is the withdrawal agreement… EU says they don’t want the UK in the customs union, without four freedoms being observed. But they point out that the GFA (the Good Friday Agreement) is a part of the constitution of the UK (google it, you’ll see). Therefore, breaking it would mean the UK government would act against its own constitution and that might be problematic and trigger an instant constitutional crisis. If the UK observes the GFA then there must not be a hard border in Ireland. That would mean either single market, or a hard border between Ireland and Britain. The LLs say no, while we don’t care about NI, we want to impose conditions that EU would reject, in order to avoid the new tax directives (i.e. we want the whole UK in the customs union!).
The EU bends over in order to save the British constitution and agrees to the proposed conditons (whole UK in customs union if all else fails. And they all know there is no FTA coming in two years. Mostly because the UK would probably only start working on it one year and eight months into the period). The LLs figure that they should ask for more impossible stuff until the EU says no, in order to avoid the new tax directive. They pretend that the conditions they imposed are all of a sudden not good enough. They impose new, even more unpalatable conditions. If the EU says yes, they will ask for even more stuff (the latest votes in the parliament demonstrate that nicely – where the LLs reserved the right to vote against the withdrawal agreement even if the EU accepts the new proposal). If the EU says no, the LLs will blame the EU for the population being screw*d, and neatly keep their money untaxed.
It is imperative for the LLs to get out as soon as possible. Not because they cared about the UK, but because they care about their comfort. From that perspective, nothing they are doing is irrational. They don’t care about the economy, they don’t care about the people, they don’t care about Irish Troubles or the GFA, and they don’t care how (un)prepared the UK is for the crash. They are sorted only if this happens quick enough. And if they are not rich yet, the people whom they saved, will be generous. And the remainers telling the LLs about all of this is as effective as the union representative of gazelle population asking the hippos to understand that gazelles have feelings too, and to adjust their diet accordingly.
And that’s the niggle. In a mad rush to explain how bad it is going to be, the remainers keep (a) pushing the wrong levers (telling LLs that is is going to be a catastrophe is instantly translated in their heads into: it is going to be a catastrophe for you and the fools who helped us, not for us), and (b) overstate things. As in this case – the LLs want to avoid this crap, yes, but not because it is going to start working in April (it started in January). And that gives LLs leverage – “You don’t know what you are talking about, you are scaremongering, you ascribe us the basest motives, while you are uninformed, etc etc”.
It is somewhat unfortunate that folks are duped by Labour too. Saying: “It is your mess, you deal with it!” Is a bit like standing on a boat that is on fire and saying, “But I did not start the fire. The others did!”. Dude, (a) you will all burn. And while you might derive some comfort from the idea that it was not you who did start it, this will not save you. (b) You might not have started it, but you endorsed it every step of the way. You dicked about without any conviction when they were asking for counter-arguments about setting the ship on fire. You urged the people to get the matches as soon as possible (i.e. voted for ART50). You allowed yourself to be exposed as a closet petty racist that you are when you agreed to blame immigrants for all your failures (oh sure, you had people vote against the racist immigrant law, but only at the last second, insuring that the law would pass. About one in four of your MP’s did not show up for the vote, dude!). You, through your ignorance, are enabling tax dodgers, for they will profit from this and your constituents will burn. At the same time you believe that you are helping the middle and the working class.
I know they are calling you a closet socialist, but dude, I hope you don’t believe that about yourself. If Marx was alive right now, he would be spitting in your face. Foucault said that the structures of power remain the same, only people who populate them, change. Do you know when that became apparent to me? When your canvasers came to my door and did not seem to be bothered at all about me not being able to vote in GE or the referendum (despite being a tax resident and living in the Country for the past ten years). F*ck me, right? But I could still be useful in the local elections to you, so why not vote labour, the canvasers asked me? I told them that I am not interested in voting for deluded nazis any more and they were a bit upset and told me, that they need to cater to the votes of leavers too, so if I could just ignore their stance on Brexit, that would be really helpful to them. You see, things might suck for you, but why not vote for the lesser of two evils, was the message they were trying to convey. We won’t stand up for you at all, but we are still better than those evil tories, right? That is not socialism, dude. That is not even left wing, dude, believing that it is now your turn at the wheel, because your are slightly less worse in some ways not pertaining to me, than the current driver. Take your caviar left entitlement and shove it.
So here we are. The LLs are taking good care of nr. 1 and don’t care about the rest. The leavers believe they are getting something out of it, and the remainers hope that people who are already perfectly rational will suddenly become rational. The remainer tories (not all), are going along, because they either believe the lies, or think it will all work out for them too somehow. Labour is quietly enabling a no-deal and hoping to be able to shift the blame for it on LLs which won’t happen, because there will be plenty of blame to go around and none of it will stick to LLs.h