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Newspeak – for emotional populists

Some people seem to get extremely upset when faced with some rather pedestrian ideas. And no wonder, because they are speaking a different language, literally!

Here is how I understand some of the expressions being used (after referencing the dictionary), compared with how emotional populists actually interpret their meaning…
(Entries are in alphabetical order)

“Authoritarian”
What I understand:
Wanting to centralise power and control in government.
What emotional populists understand:
Anyone who dares to take a strong position/statement on controversial issues.

“Capitalism”
What I understand:
“Advocating free trade and private ownership of the means of production (capital); so that they who work hard and takes risks will be the one to reap the rewards.
Opposite of Socialism.”
What emotional populists understand:
Greedy rich people who want to get rid of rules that protect society, so that they do not have to contribute to society.

“Centrism/Centrists”
What I understand:
Being unconcerned with the ideologies pertaining to the political left or right, and only concerned with producing results. Pragmatism.
What emotional populists understand:
A compromise between the goals of Conservatives and the Labour party.

“Communism”
What I understand:
Imposed equality of outcome. State ownership of all capital. Socialism taken to its logical conclusion.
What emotional populists understand:
Evil dictators. Or idealistic good lefties corrupted by power.

“Conservatives”
What I understand:
People who want to retain tradition, either out of habit/comfort, or out of caution of the danger of changing society too quickly, or even out of recognition the strengths and benefits of inherited wisdom.
What emotional populists understand:
Backward bigots/greedy Tories/Republican gun freaks.

“Cost”
What I understand:
“The downsides of carrying out a decision, whether in monetary payment, in expended effort, in amount of time taken, or in lost opportunity.
The opposite of benefit.”
What emotional populists understand:
How much money do we have to pay? Life isn’t all about money, you know.

“Crony capitalism”
What I understand:
The antithesis of free market capitalism, aka Kleptocracy: The abuse of government influence to gain wealth, such as state-sponsored monopolies. The bigger the government, the greater the abuse and wealth gained – a particular vulnerability of socialism.
What emotional populists understand:
The inevitable consequence of capitalism.

“Democratic / Democratised Socialism”
What I understand:
Exactly the same as socialism – because the state control does not become benign and efficient just because it was democratically supported.
What emotional populists understand:
The idea that socialism can be rendered benign by virtue of its popular support.

“Discrimination”
What I understand:
Distinguishing between different things.
What emotional populists understand:
Hate against those who are different.

“Diversity”
What I understand:
Being different, or having different backgrounds.
What emotional populists understand:
Anyone that is not white, heterosexual, or male

“Emigrant”
What I understand:
Someone who has migrated out of the country. An “outward migrant”.
What emotional populists understand:
Is that a misspelling of “immigrant”?

“Equality”
What I understand:
Giving everyone equal rights, and equal treatment.
What emotional populists understand:
Ensuring everyone has the same outcome in life.

“Establishment”
What I understand:
People or organisations who have gained widespread recognition and long-term endurance – such as multinational corporations, labour unions, or entrenched political parties.
What emotional populists understand:
Anyone with substantial wealth. Usually conspiring to oppress the poor.

“European Union”
What I understand:
An ambitious project of political power play, seeking to consolidate control of European nation states into a massive global superpower (that rivals the USA, Russia, and China), to achieve through politics what the instigators of WW2 failed to achieve through military might.
What emotional populists understand:
Trading with Europeans, travelling in Europe, and European countries. Anti-war.

“Ex-pat”
What I understand:
Someone who lives outside the country they were born in. Short for ‘Ex-patriate’, meaning “outside the land of the father”.
What emotional populists understand:
Rich white people from the west who move to poorer countries, who benefit from the glamour of being a foreigner and increased spending power due to advantageous exchange rate.

“Exchange rate”
What I understand:
How much a currency is valued compared to a different currency. A figure that is caused by the interaction of supply and demand, with no direct meaning in absolute terms.
What emotional populists understand:
A measure of personal wealth relative to foreign wealth; ipso facto – the direct representation of a nation’s wealth.

“Extremism/Extremists”
What I understand:
The taking of an ideological principle to its extreme conclusion without moderation. E.g. totalitarian communists, anarchists, or religious fundamentalists.
What emotional populists understand:
Extremely bad people with a penchant for aggressive behaviour. Usually right-wingers. Fascism manifested in violence.

“Far left”
What I understand:
Totalitarian communists.
What emotional populists understand:
Idealists.

“Far right”
What I understand:
Libertarian capitalists.
What emotional populists understand:
Totalitarians/Nazis/Fascists. The epitome of evil.

“Fascists”
What I understand:
Authoritarian nationalists.
What emotional populists understand:
Anyone who disagrees with a liberal.

“Free speech”
What I understand:
The right to say anything you want, no matter how controversial, for the sake of facilitating public debate, challenging social mores, and protecting individual freedoms.
What emotional populists understand:
The right to slander people based on limited understanding of their views, to say only socially acceptable things, and the legal obligation to stop people saying or writing things that hurt your feelings.

“Free trade”
What I understand:
“Trade that arises naturally when buyers and sellers make decisions free from government intervention, as opposed to trade that is distorted by policies such as subsidies (eg green energy), purchasing mandates (eg motor insurance), protectionist import bans/tariffs/quotas (eg common external tariff), unbalanced taxation (eg sugar tax).
Not opposed to appropriate trading standards and regulation.”
What emotional populists understand:
“Trade that completely disregards quality or safety standards.
Evil Capitalism at work.”

“GDP”
What I understand:
Gross Domestic Product – essentially how much monetary value is being added by a country’s economic activity, whether by business, consumers, or government. An indicator of economic activity, which correlates with a nation’s economic health.
What emotional populists understand:
The cumulative wealth of a nation.

“Going on strike”
What I understand:
Industrial action of last resort, the last course when conventional negotiation fails, designed to hit the profits of the employer by killing productivity.
What emotional populists understand:
Political action designed to raise awareness to the plight of the ‘working class’, by hurting the middle class public who rely on public transport to earn a living, and whose jobs are not protected by trade unions.

“Health tourism”
What I understand:
The deliberate travel to a country to make use of, and pay for, the superior health service available in that country.
What emotional populists understand:
The deliberate travel to a country to abuse its state-funded health provision.

“I disagree”
What I understand:
I don’t think that’s entirely correct.
What emotional populists understand:
You oppose everything I stand for. Maybe you even hate my very being.

“Immigrant”
What I understand:
Someone who has migrated into the country. Literally an “inward migrant”.
What emotional populists understand:
Someone who is poor and undoubtedly skilled and hard-working, who thus deserves a resident visa because this country wouldn’t survive if there are no hard-working immigrants.

“Invest”
What I understand:
Putting money into an endeavour to give it capital for growth and building up productivity, in the hope of redeeming the investment at a material profit or otherwise gain in value.
What emotional populists understand:
Spending money on government provision of services, regardless of whether or not the funds are available, and with no regard for economic sustainability or return on investment.

“Left-wing”
What I understand:
“Advocating increasing the reach of government, centralisation of control, and state control of industry.
Liberal attitude to social values/traditions.”
What emotional populists understand:
Ideas by people who care about improving the country. Everyone else is either narrow-minded, backward, or selfish.

“Left of centre”
What I understand:
A lean toward government provision of services at the cost of higher taxes.
What emotional populists understand:
“The idea that the government should pay for everything that I think the public needs, and to always intervene to prevent people from making poor choices.
Basically the same as socialism.”

“Liberal”
What I understand:
Being unfettered by social mores and traditions.
What emotional populists understand:
Good people.

“Libertarian”
What I understand:
Desiring to protect individual liberties over state control.
What emotional populists understand:
Right-wingers pretending to be good.

“Migrant”
What I understand:
Someone who moves from one place to settle in another place.
What emotional populists understand:
Refugee.

“Moderates”
What I understand:
The opposite of extremism – someone who might hold to a particular ideology or principle, but is willing temper to those principles against other concerns, or to accept pragmatic concessions.
What emotional populists understand:
“Someone who used to be militant about their beliefs, but is now not so violent about it, albeit not necessarily any less invective at it.
“”I find your opinions completely reprehensible, but I’m willing to tolerate them.”””

“Nationalism”
What I understand:
The concept of prioritising the country’s needs over that of foreign interests.
What emotional populists understand:
Racism and fascism.

“Over-regulation”
What I understand:
The excessive application of rules and regulations, in such a way as to be counter-productive, because implementing it harms society more than it benefits society.
What emotional populists understand:
“Right-wingers dog-whistling in favour of complete deregulation for the sake of profits.
Clearly these people don’t care about peoples’ well-being.”

“President / Prime Minister”
What I understand:
The head of government, elected to represent the desires of the people in setting policy and driving legislation.
What emotional populists understand:
Supreme ruler, without which a nation and its citizens will fall into disorder and chaos.

“Populism”
What I understand:
Appealing to the desires of the populace, regardless of ideological principles or political loyalties.
What emotional populists understand:
Appealing to right-wing bigots.

“Progressives”
What I understand:
People who want to change society to what they THINK would be better.
What emotional populists understand:
People who want to change society to what they are absolutely CERTAIN would be better.

“Racism”
What I understand:
“Prejudice based on a person’s skin colour, race, or ethnicity.
Somewhat related to xenophobia (the prejudiced dislike of a person based on their nationality).”
What emotional populists understand:
“Any signs of negativity toward a person with a darker skin tone.
Giving foreigners a lower priority when it comes to national interests.
Criticism of Islam (other religions don’t count).”

“Refugee.”
What I understand:
Someone seeking refuge in another country due to persecution they face in their own country.
What emotional populists understand:
Someone seeking to move from a poor country to a rich country.

“Right-wing”
What I understand:
“Advocating reducing the reach of government, devolution of control to the most localised level possible, and private control of industry, as typified by the free market.
Conservative attitude to social values/traditions.”
What emotional populists understand:
Selfish ideas, by people who only care about themselves. Populists. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the Left.

“Right of centre”
What I understand:
A lean toward lower taxes and less government intervention.
What emotional populists understand:
“People who still believe that the government should intervene to prevent bad choices, but who do not mind some form of capitalism.
In other words, socialists with a desire for lower taxes.”

“Socialism”
What I understand:
“Advocating state ownership and control over capital and the means of production, so that government bureaucracy rather than private enterprise controls and monopolises the industry. This means that nobody involved in industry is motivated by a reward, whilst the public purse takes the risk.
Opposite of Capitalism.”
What emotional populists understand:
People who care about protecting human rights, in particular being generous toward the poor and vulnerable.

“Sovereignty”
What I understand:
The right of a country to determine its own legislation and policy without being subject to foreign control or interference.
What emotional populists understand:
The right for a country’s politicians to make decisions for the plebeian electorate.

“Terrorist”
What I understand:
Political activists who resort to force of violence, targeting civilians indiscriminately, in order to gain widespread media and political attention for their cause.
What emotional populists understand:
Anyone who resorts to deadly violence regardless of justification or cause (such as disgruntled employees). Definition of violence may include threat of violence or verbal aggression.

“Tolerance”
What I understand:
The acceptance of differences, whether in background or opinions.
What emotional populists understand:
The normalisation of liberal values, where differences of opinion are not acceptable or tolerated.

“Trade union”
What I understand:
Industrial collective designed to be a balance of power against unscrupulous employers.
What emotional populists understand:
Political activists who are protectors of the poor and vulnerable.

“Violence”
What I understand:
The deliberate application of harmful physical force on another creature or human being.
What emotional populists understand:
Any action that can cause physical or emotional pain, such as signs of anger, threat of aggression, or verbal abuse.

“World Trade Organisation (WTO)”
What I understand:
An international organisation set up to facilitate global trade and ensure fair practices through internationally-agreed regulation.
What emotional populists understand:
A set of rules representing the worst-case scenario imaginable for international trade, which would destroy the United Kingdom’s economy.

Lastly, a few personal bugbears not related to politics…

Term/Expression What I understand: What emotional populists understand:
Engineer
Someone who engineers/designs solutions as a professional discipline. Technician/ mechanic/ grease monkey.
Technician
Someone who works on fixing and maintaining technical or mechanical equipment. Someone with good technique.
Asian
Anyone from the continent of Asia (including Chinese, Koreans, Mongolians, Siberians, Japanese, Filipinos, Arabs, Israelis, Indians, Turks…etc) Anyone Muslim or brown-skinned, such as Indians and Pakistanis.

Fun facts about Climate change

Over the years, I’ve learnt some interesting facts about the atmosphere and climate change…

Cloud cover

  1. Water vapour is evaporated from the seas , which covers 70% of the global surface area.
  2. The warmer air is, the more water vapour it can hold. [1,2]
  3. The more water vapour there is in the atmosphere, the more cloud cover exists.
  4. Cloud cover blocks sunlight, reducing global warming.

Conclusion 1: atmospheric temperature is naturally regulated by water vapour.

Plant growth

  1. Increased atmospheric water vapour increases precipitation (rainfall).
  2. Increased rainfall increases plant growth.
  3. Increased carbon dioxide concentration increases plant growth. [3]
  4. Increased atmospheric temperature ALSO increases plant growth.

Conclusion 2: “global warming” creates a greener planet. This is a good thing.

Arctic sea ice

  1. Arctic ice is floating sea ice
  2. Floating ice displaces the same volume as melted ice. [4]

Conclusion 3: melted Arctic ice will not contribute to rising sea levels.

Inland glacial ice

  1. The worst case scenario projections of global warming/climate change estimate that the atmospheric temperature will increase by 5C over the next 100 years. Most estimates indicate a 2C rise over the next 100 years. [5]
  2. Average coastal temperature of Antarctica is -10C. The majority of Antarctic ice is much further inland, where temperatures are much much colder (in excess of -50C). [6]
  3. Greenland’s ice sheet has an average temperature of -12C in summer. [7]

Conclusion 4: “Climate Change” will not melt either Greenland or Antarctic land ice.

Sea levels

  1. Increased atmospheric water vapour increases precipitation.
  2. Increased precipitation increases polar ice.
  3. Vast majority of precipitation water is evaporated sea water.

Conclusion 5: as “global warming” increases polar ice, it may even lead to sea levels falling.

Greenhouse effect of CO2

  1. The greenhouse effect of CO2 is logarithmic [8]. This means that for every doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect will only increase by 1.5%.
  2. Global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1C over the last 150 years (since the dawn of the industrial revolution).
  3. Atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from 280ppm to 415ppm over the last 150 years, an increase of just under 50% (135ppm).
  4. Assuming a worst case scenario, that all the temperature rise is attributable to human CO2 emissions: 50% increase in CO2 concentration corresponds to 1C rise. This means that a temperature rise of 3C would require increasing CO2 concentration by 200% – to over 800ppm.
  5. At the current rate of CO2 increase, it would take us over 400 years to reach 800ppm.

Conclusion 6:  We are nowhere near to increasing the atmospheric temperature by 3C.

The biggest greenhouse gases

  1. Human activity contributes only about 4% of global CO2 emissions (29 gigatons per year compared to 750 gigatons of natural CO2 emissions). [9]
  2. CO2 contributes 26% to the overall greenhouse effect.
  3. Water vapour is by far the most significant greenhouse gas, contributing an estimated 60% of the overall greenhouse effect. [10]
  4. There is no way to control the amount of water in the atmosphere.

Conclusion 7: Human efforts have very little impact on global warming.

So what do you think? Does this make you feel less alarmed about climate change? Feedback and corrections welcome.

References

[1] A closer look at evaporation and condensation

[2] Saturated Vapor Pressure, Density for Water

[3] Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth

[4] Why does ice melting not change the water level in a container?

[5] 2014 Energy and Climate Outlook

[6] Climate of Antarctica

[7] Climate – Greenland

[8] The Logarithmic Effect of Carbon Dioxide

[9] How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?

[10] Climate Data Information – Gases

Wealth and Inequality

Equality – or the lack of it – should be judged over a lifetime. Young people on low incomes with low levels of wealth may think now that anyone richer should be taxed more. But they should be careful what they wish for. Age is a huge driver of wealth and income. And it comes to us all.

No one is born earning £80,000, earns it for 40 years and then dies. Our income starts low, rises with experience and seniority and often falls again toward retirement.

The other reason why those on high-ish incomes may not feel rich is lack of wealth. There has been much talk of rising wealth inequality in the US and Europe. But there has been very little discussion about the fact that some of it is the inevitable result of two modern demographic trends: rising education and older people living longer. The later you start work, the later you amass wealth; the longer your parents live, the later their wealth trickles down.

Although today’s older generations benefited from favourable conditions, notably the run-up in housing prices, we must be very careful about introducing policies that treat income and wealth as static. In fact, the picture is constantly shifting. But it is worth remembering that most people who end up rich start out asset poor. As they earn and save, that changes.

One of the very few careers, by the way, in which you do earn pretty much the same amount every year regardless of your experience or your success, is politics. All UK MPs earn £79,468 a year regardless of skill or time served.

This could go some way to explaining why it is that ideologically driven politicians with little experience of working in the private sector are so often surprised by the failure of the “poor” to vote for more taxes on the “rich”.

Text extracted from:
https://moneyweek.com/518997/what-level-of-income-really-makes-you-rich/

Statement as Chair of UKIP Croydon

I am the chairman of UKIP Croydon. This year we have put up Kathleen Garner, a longstanding and hardworking Croydon resident, to be the parliamentary candidate for Croydon South.

We have expended a lot of time and effort to put her up, and have contributed to her £500 election deposit, fully expecting to lose it because we face such a hostile environment. We are not made of money. UKIP, as a challenger party, do not have the funds that the main party has.

But we soldier on. Because we believe in fairness, justice, and giving the best protections and opportunities to the disadvantaged. We formulate our policies through rigorous science and reason.

I am always open to questions and to being challenged. Please feel free to ask me “why?”. I will give you all the time i can spare.

I also believe in freedom: freedom of conscience, freedom from prejudice, freedom from oppression, freedom of choice, and freedom of thought.

We stand nothing to gain by putting our heads above the parapet. We know all the lies being told about us, yet we persevere. Because we believe in hope. Because we are willing to sacrifice our wellbeing for the sake of future generations. Every now and then, we receive words of support from those minorities who see sense in what we say, but are too afraid to speak up themselves, because of the hostile environment we find ourselves in.

Please bear this in mind when casting your vote. Read our actual policies, and try to understand the reasoning behind them, instead of what our opponents say about us.

Parliamentary scrutiny and the Supreme Court

The principle of the tripartite separation of powers puts forward three branches of government: 1) the judiciary, 2) the legislature, 3) the executive.

The judiciary exercises the law, and binds the executive to prevent it from breaking law. The legislature creates law, but is bound by the agenda set by the executive. In other words, the judiciary has power over the executive, the executive has power over the legislature, and the legislature has power over the judiciary.

But this circle of power is not in uni-directional. The legislature has power to scrutinise law and limit the reach of the executive. The executive can influence the composition of the judiciary. The judiciary is responsible for interpreting the law, which might mean striking down laws which are unconstitutional.

This describes the checks and balances at play in the three branches of government.

The constitution of the USA abides by this principle:
The president and his cabinet is the executive.
Congress and the Senate combined is the legislature.
The Supreme Court is the judiciary.

However, the UK does not have such a clear-cut separation of powers. The executive, the prime minister and his cabinet, is made up of members of the legislature. In practice, this means parliament that the separation of powers is blurred, but the principle still works in the sense that parliament scrutinises legislation and the cabinet sets the agenda for legislation. In general. But it doesn’t always work this way. Members of parliament are able to raise motions to the speaker. And here is where things get interesting (and dangerous).

For the past year, parliament has been passing laws to limit the ability of the executive to take executive action, laws which apply only to the direction of the executive and not to the populace. This has given rise to the non-stop political turmoil and instability over the past 3 years, since the UK elected to leave the European Union.

Amidst all this turmoil, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom sees itself fit to declare an act of the Prime Minister, the executive, to be unlawful.

This is possible because the United Kingdom does not have a written constitution. It has a system of common law, where judgements are passed based on the interpretation of legislation and precedent. Legislation are laws passed by acts of the parliament. Precedent are principles of interpretation that the court has historically abided by. Precedent is a key feature of common law because it is maintains consistency in judiciary rulings, which is a requirement for fairness.

However, this time, the Supreme Court has made a constitutional ruling without precedent. It has declared an action unlawful, despite no precedent or law preventing it previously. What this means is that the Supreme Court has created a constitutionally binding law, without public debate, without electoral mandate, without parliamentary scrutiny.

The Supreme Court has overreached. It is no longer interpreting law – it is now creating it.

The Supreme Court has set a new precedent. It now has unaccountable powers over the constitution.

But is this actually a problem? Don’t the courts set precedent anyway? The answer is yes, they do. The difference this time, is the kind of precedent that has been set. Some wealthy private individuals have taken the executive to court over an action they disagreed with. Despite this action being perfectly lawful previously, the court has now retrospectively ruled that the executive’s actions are unlawful. This means that the Supreme Court can retrospectively bind the executive. The only unelected arm of the government now has the highest uncontested power over the nation. This is the mark of a oligarchy, not a democracy.

I suppose we have Brexit to thank for unveiling this fundamental flaw in the institution. It has shown that the Supreme Court doesn’t work with the principle of common law.

How did this come about, how was this even possible? A bit of modern history: the Supreme Court is a relatively new invention in the United Kingdom. It was created in 2005. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister. The motivation for its creation was out of concern that the UK’s institutions of government did not conform to the European Convention of Human Rights, drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe, the forebearer of the European Union.

Well.

Where do we go from here?

Free market vs socialism: supply and demand

In a free market, supply always rises to meet demand: If someone is willing to pay for it, somebody is willing to provide it. If too many people are providing the same, either prices drop, or suppliers need to develop a premium quality product or service to maintain their attractiveness. Either way, the consumer wins.

Under socialism, supply is controlled by the government. If demand rises, supply doesn’t rise unless the government takes notice. And the government only takes notice when it becomes critical – in other words, when it’s too late. That’s why the NHS is forever in crisis, public transport is always inadequate, and housing is always in short supply.

And under socialism, when demand falls, supply remains high, leading to overproduction, waste, and ultimately the collapse of the industry. This is why the UK coal and steel industries collapsed. This was why the Soviet economy collapsed, and why every socialist economy will collapse.

The worst thing about socialism is – the worse the problem gets, the more control the socialists demand. If the NHS is not meeting supply, the solution is always, “more government intervention”. If not enough houses are being built, the solution is also “the government must build more houses”. Both the Tories and Labour are guilty of this. All of mainstream politics is guilty of this. And they don’t care. Because the more they promise, the more power they get. The more power they get, the more they will get away with promising. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. You will have never heard a politician say “there are not enough hospitals, let’s encourage the growth of the private healthcare industry.”

You might think: “house development is private!” or “the trains/buses have been privatised!”. Yes, but privatisation is not the free market. The housing and rail industries are still heavily regulated and controlled by the government. The industry cannot simply build houses or train tracks without government first mandating it. It is a crony industry, where developers chase profits on the tailcoats of government decisions.

To be clear: I am against privatisation. The free market approach does not require that government-owned assets or industries to be privatised. The free market approach only requires that government does not monopolise the industry. If the public provision of services has to compete fairly against the private provision of services, there will be a free market.

What is fair competition? No monopoly over industries, such as with GP services, house planning, and railway operations. Let market forces control supply, instead of using the government to regulate it. No taxpayer bailouts for failing companies, be it British Steel or Royal Bank of Scotland. No subsidies for unprofitable industries, be they farming, renewable energies, or even fossil fuels.

The end result of fair competition? Industries strive to serve the customer, rather than to court government officials for the next manufacturing licence or production permit. Industries compete on an equal footing regardless of ownership, so that efficiently-run private businesses are not strong-armed out of the industry by government fiat, or priced out of the industry by inefficient businesses which survive only because of subsidies. Encouraging competition in the industry means industries have to be competitive to thrive, which means customers get better service, lower cost, and improved quality.

I’ve seen it work. It works beautifully. Unfortunately, nobody shouts about it. That’s because nobody complains about something working well. When something works well, we tend to take it for granted. That’s just the sad reality of human nature.

“How do you reconcile polar opposites?”

Recently, a friend who disagrees with my politics felt the best course of action was to disconnect from me. For, he stated, the very pertinent question:
“How do you reconcile polar opposites?”

This appears to be a very common phenomenon. All too often, in today’s politically-charged world, we find ourselves in situations where we fundamentally oppose what someone whom we thought to be close friends believe. Is the friendship over? Is there nothing that can be done about it?

This was my answer to him…
It’s simple (though not always) easy to reconcile polar opposites, I do it fairly often. all it takes is a desire to understand the other person.

For example, you might ask me: “why do you hate Europe?” and I would answer, I don’t. I just think the European Union is damaging to Europe.

And then you could go “well, I think the European Union has been great for Europe”, and we could end it at there. Or you could take it further and find out in what ways you think it is great for Europe, and in what ways I think it is damaging Europe. And then we could drill down to identify both the common grounds as well as the irreconcilable differences. and then leave it at that. Friends can fundamentally disagree without becoming enemies.

The worst thing we can do is assume the worst of those who disagree with us. Because then we automatically make an enemy of them in our own perception, even if they are actually your friend who just has a different perspective.

What do you think?

The reasons for my opposition to the EU

My opposition to the EU is essentially down to the fact that it works badly. Everything that the UK government does not do well at, the EU does even worse. Let me list some prominent examples…

Single currency (Eurozone):
Normally, an ailing economy’s currency depreciates, which encourages inward investment and domestic spending. The aggregate nature of the Eurozone means that it is difficult to appreciate or depreciate in value.
This makes it harder for ailing economies to recover from recessions.
It also prevents the citizens of more successful economies from enjoying the fruits of their prosperity by having a strong currency to spend on imports.

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP):
Supposed to encourage sustainable fishing, but fails badly: fishermen discarded catch that exceeded their quota. Then they banned discards, worsening the problem – fish that exceed quotas have to be landed and turned into fertiliser/landfill.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP):
Supposed to centralise farm subsidies to ensure food security, but the different output of different countries meant that it is unfairly distributed – productive economies with low proportion of agrarian land like the UK gets short-changed._49009301_cap_alloc_464[1]

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):
Intended to protect individuals’ data, it is not only contradictory – individuals have a right to have their data removed, but businesses need to retain individuals’ data for compliance with regulatory authorities such as the FCA.
GDPR is not even enforceable – the EU does not have authority to compel compliance on businesses outside the EU. Furthermore, it has grown into such a cumbersome beast that you now require (very) expensive certified consultants to ensure you properly meet their criteria.

Copyright Directive:
Meant to protect the intellectual property of creators, but it is impractical and unenforceable. Technology does not exist for online platforms to monitor all copyright breaches, so enforcement has to be an expensive manual process, prone to error/abuse.
Furthermore, such strict controls impede freedom of speech and expression, one of the internet’s greatest strengths. It means that screenshots or video clips of copyrighted material cannot be reproduced, whether to promote or criticise its content.

Common external tariff:
High taxes are imposed on imports on imports from outside the EU in order to protect domestic industry. But the outcome is that consumers face higher costs of imports and developing countries with weak economies suffer lower demand from the EU.

VAT:
It is bad enough that the UK taxes its citizens for consumption – the EU forces ALL its member states to apply VAT – a tax for simply buying and selling. This kind of tax hits the poor the hardest, those who have to spend more of their income than they invest.

Approach to legislation:
The UK’s approach to legislation is reactive – laws are made only when the need arises. The EU’s approach to legislation is to make laws on everything that is not already legislated over – even if there is not a need; even if it creates cost without bringing about any benefit.

Democratic deficit:
In the EU, most laws are instigated and drafted by the Commission, who is appointed, not elected. In the EU, the only elected body is the European Parliament, whose legislative power amounts to little more than rubber-stamping.

The fundamental problem:
These problems fundamentally stem from the nature of the EU as a political project of uniting Europe into a single political entity, necessarily centralising power into the hands of the few.

The European super-state project is doomed to failure because:
1) Europeans do not have a cohesive demographic – it doesn’t even share the same language;
2) centralised governments are very poor at management.

In contrast to the EU, the USA only manages to be successful because of its 1) high level of governmental devolvement, 2) great emphasis on liberty, 3) shared history of European emancipation and abolishment of slavery, 4) shared language.

The EU shares none of these qualities. It has ambitions of rivalling the USA but its approach emulates the USSR and other failed political super-state projects.