Thursday, 4 August 2016
No, it really is. The Scottish independence referendum was a landmark event, one that saw folks from Inverness to Inverurie take the time to educate themselves about politics and economics. To give an example, the precise nature of Scotland’s currency in a hypothetical post UK situation was a subject of serious discussion and a matter of informed, reasonable, if those HM Treasury papers are cast to one side for the shite they were/are, debate.
Faced with Brexit, the great and the good appeared to have looked at what had happened in Scotland and what had won and chose the same tactic; scare the bejezuz out the fuckahs in a (massively exaggerated way) in the hope that something approaching rational debate would win. But, it didn’t because the Brexit lot never took the time to educate themselves about anything. They already had their bigoted prejudices and that was what counted.
So yeah, sorry England, Scotland set a standard you couldn’t reach, one you didn’t even recognise and still refuse to acknowledge. Fail.
As with Trump supporters in the US, a pro-Brexit argument here was that it was a vote against the corrupting influence of “big business” on the polity (albeit not necessarily expressed in those terms). The thing is, in this regard the Trumpists are a couple of military grade, semi-automatic shots behind the Brexiteers in the which country can shoot its feet off the fastest race both sets of clods have shat over the rest of us. The why is straightforward; British governments don’t go after, reform or penalise big business for being naughty to anything like the same degree the EU does.
Fer instance, when Microsoft moaned in 2006 about the EU fining it for abusing its (effectively a) monopoly position, the EU response was to threaten to up its $1.5m a day fine to $3m. Similarly, the EU subsequently fined Intel $1.44m for abusing its influence as a parts supplier to feck up its rival AMD by giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co, NEC and Lenovo if they bought most of their computer chips from them.
There’s other examples, go find them later, but in the meantime compare/contrast with how us Great British folk treated much of the British construction industry after the OFT found out they’d been rigging tenders for public sector contracts for years; 103 firms were fined a total of £129m in 2009. Chew on that for a second … 103 firms were fined £129m for ripping off the public sector i.e. us, for years. That’s 103 firms, including Balfour Beatty and Carillion and £129m. 103 firms. Over a 100 firms and barely £1m apiece on average for ripping us all off.
So whereas the EU really does stand up to “Big business”, left to its own devices, the British government barely manages a smack on the wrist. So by voting for Brexit, all of us will be left more exposed and vulnerable to abusive, Big Business behaviour. Shit.
Compare/contrast this with Trump; his rhetoric about NAFTA etc., suggests he’s less keen on free market access (to the US) and the associated scope for moving production from the US to lower wage economies. On the other hand, this outsider’s outsider has said hee haw about actually reforming the political process to reduce the influence Big Business has. But, here’s the thing, a pro-Brexit vote still appears dumber than voting for Trump.