Thursday 4 April 2019

The Korbachev-Robbinstrop pact

The narrative for quite some time has been all about the economics of Brexit.
Labour have been beating the drum of worker's rights and securing jobs.
Which is often incompatible. As the latest 50p an hour payrise will show as it will cause BQIndustries to cut staff once again as it is not possible to increase pay, whilst sales continue to fall, and all other costs rise. Boots being just the latest mega chain to announce similar bad news for their workers.

The Tories have been all for ensuring business is as easy to conduct with the EU as it is now we haven't left. Frictionless trade and regulaturoy alignment being the main aims of the unloved Withdrawal Agreement.

The economic arguments for Remain, or soft as shhhhhheep Brexit, are all about avoiding the terrible damage to the UK that will occur unless we sign up to all the EU's agreements that we want to leave. Neither May, nor Hammond, will allow a No Deal.
 Hammond in particular, refused to even pretend to prepare for a No Deal. Even as a subterfuge in negotiations. So sure was he that it would never come to pass as it would be stopped.

Despite all the endless and quite unbelievable project fear claims of doom if we ever left on WTO, it is quite obvious that SOME sort of deal, would be better than NO deal. No Deal means a complete reset of everything. Some deal would mean a reset of only some things.

Some deal is not to imply that May's Deal is a good option. It is only AN option.And a poorly constructed one at that. But it is an option instead of no deal at all.

Polticians seek ways to find of keeping us in the Union.

Customs Union.
Half in-half out union. Canada ++-+
With the media predicting that if they don't manage to do that, we will all persish in a tsunami of dinosaurs.

So bad has the fear of NO Deal become, May has decided to ask the assistance of the Communists in a historic Korbachev-Robbinstrop pact of treachery.

That has gone down with the supporters about as well as the original did.

In all this it does seem to have been forgotten why people voted in record numbers, and decided to leave the EU.

It wasn't because they were fed up with too much frictionless trade. Tired of not having to apply for a visa or arrange a driving permit for continental travel.

They were tired of uncontrolled, one way, immigration that was bringing in up to half a million foreign workers each year. The headline Net immigration, long masked by the large numbers of UK retirees to the sun.

Fed up that some hook-handed terrorist could sit in his free house with no legal way to remove him.

Fed up with having a considerable multi-billion pound 'bill' presented for no real reason.
 They were fed up of having to send vast sums out of the country to the EU, that it sometimes used to tempt UK business to relocate out of the UK.
Fed up with having their hairdryers reduced in power or their tampons taxed.

And all the other many, many reasons that built up over forty years or compliance without joy, that was the UK experience of the EU.

None of these 'fed up' issues will be resolved by remaining in a customs union. Or remaining full stop. The entire Brexit farce, designed from the outset solely to lance the UKIP boil, and give a reasonable mandate for accepting all the EU faults, that is now focusing solely on accepting what is best for the largest businesses, will fail to resolve any of the issues that millions of people had.

The saddest part about the damage May has done, and continues to do, to the Tory party and the country, is whatever she cobbles together now, it won't resolve the very reason why the nation chose to vote leave in the firt place.


Anonymous said...

Just an aside BQ. The 50p/hour increase in the NMW is just the government trying to claw back the wages BQ Industries should be paying rather than people claiming it on Universal Credit. UC and the other benefits have been an indirect taxpayer subsidy to UK industry (and not just BQ Industries) for years.

It's about time the real costs of production in the UK are shown so you, as CEO, can make reasoned decisions about what and where to produce.

These "cheap" Polish plumbers weren't cheap, they were just subsidised by everyone else.

Perhaps Brexit may sort out some of this nonsense within the UK and intra-EU subsidies too.

E-K said...

I could have written that, Anonymous.

Remain argue that the young well educated people were thinking correctly in the referendum.

You know. The ones so useless that we need mass immigration to do the work they can't do.

The mass immigration that has helped cause the cost of housing to go so high that workers need the UC you mention to keep up with the cost of living.

I've had an epiphany.

What really gave us the Brexit win (???) in the end was the sight of the Middle East refugee crisis headed this way. The side of a bus or a slight campaign overspend was only marginal in its impact compared to that.

We caused the refugee crisis. We did it through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault by electing two vain and wicked Prime Ministers who unleashed hell on this planet by destroying several civilisations, however imperfect they were. Then we had the cheek to tell the EU that we were leaving because of it.

I have seen with my own eyes the impact on Italy.

While I lament the fall of Brexit at the hands of a corrupt civil service and devious political class (May is devious), who can not say that we deserve purgatory ?

decnine said...

May will ensure that No Deal is NOT an option in Referendum II. It will be a binary choice between Remain and ... Remain

E-K said...

I may be repeating but I met a Dutch woman on a campsite I was staying at last year.

She was rather unfriendly with me but had asked my wife and I to join her and her partner at their camper for wine.

Very abruptly she asked "Why are you leaving the EU ? And WHY are there so many potholes ???"

Exquisite. I replied, "You've answered your own question."

Raedwald said...

Eveything these idiots do is akin to applying leeches to try to cure a severed vein. They either don't understand the issues to choose not to.

First, if you integrate a high-wage nation economically with an overpoulated world you both lower wages in the high wage country and increase returns to capital, widening the gap between those who sell their labour and those who lend their capital. The 1% have been getting substantially richer, those on median wage have seen a decade of decreasing income at constant PPP.

Second, global economic integration means no national control of the distributional effects of GDP growth. UK economic activity benefits GDP elsewhere. Thus we have seen the 'Elephant' - in which billions of people in China, India, Brazil have been raised out of absolute poverty at the cost of the pauperisation of the middle and working classes in the developed world.

Tax in the UK at 34% of GDP is the highest in 40 years and we have nowhere else to go - services are pared to the bone, earnings and profits are taxed to the max.

That's globalism. That's why I think globalism is as dangerous to the UK in this century as communism was in the last. And no, I'm not some crustie with a ring through my nose.

Globalist politicians such as May, in thrall to the global corporates, the car makers, the 'benign' technocracy of the EU, UN and IMF, are either stupid enough to be blind to the economic effects of globalism on the bulk of Britain's population or consciously choose to side with the enemy.

hovis said...

@BQ: you mentioned "The entire Brexit farce, designed from the outset solely to lance the UKIP boil" ... I am always amused by this argument as it completely ignores previous events. The 2011 Bill requiring a referendum for major constitution changes (in effect further massive transfers of sovereignty to the EU), was only passed due to previous history - Brown's ignominious signing of Lisbon in broom cupboard and the Major and Maastricht debacle. As it happens the EU were gearing up for the next round of integration - always completely forgotten by the Remain side.

UKIP was symptom not a cause. The cause as we have seen is a dysfunctional party and electoral system decaying for at least 50 years, populated by a caste of people holding onto power through past loyalties which no longer exist.

@E-K beware of subscribing to the idea of collective punishment and "deserving". I'd agree apathy has allowed it to happen - deserving? - another discussion entirely.

@Raedwald - the impoverishment of the 'developed world' working class is of course trumpeted as progress by the liberal-globalist establishment. It is seen as a great leap forward for their progressive ideas. Why have a working class that is difficult and asks of things when you can have compliance, and brave new world silent repression.

Bill Quango MP said...

Anon 1 - Don't disagree with you. But what is currently happening is people who are employed, subsidised or not, can no longer be.
They don't lose their jobs. I have only lost about 10% of workers since the disaster of 2010.
But EVERYONE has lost hours. Supervisors differential has dropped fronm 15% average to 3%. And that's not just us.
In the NHS a supervisor, admin is paid just .05p an hour more than a basic clerk/receptionist. That is a lot more work for bugger all pay.

And it is caused by the inflation of the entry level worker.
AND, its why automation is accelerating faster than predicted. A worker is very expensive compared to a machine, that is more reliable and never has a pension or a day off or a holiday. Does what it's asked, sort of. No union. No arguments. No sloppy attitude or distracted texting or net surfing.

Making workers expensive. Rather than pricing the work they do, automation will lose them ANY job.Not just a poorly paid one.
There's a whole other post in this for another day.

Don't agree at all EK.
Firstly, the largest march was against the war in Iraq. Which was ignored. Mass immigration was never a ballot option, except with UKIP. How exactly should you have voted? To suggest that voting at all means you are complicit is just wrong.
Liberal students were NOT complicit in finding themselves with thousands of pounds of debt. They explicitly voted to not have that. But got it anyway.

There's another post. The biggest whoppers told to the UK people since 1911 ?

Jan said...

We were never going to be allowed to leave and were stupid to think it was even the remotest possibility. We will just have to wait for the EU to implode of it's own accord. At least we still have sterling although the euro will probably be the next thing they will try to force on us.

Frank said...

And fed up with petty regulations coming from bureaucrats in Brussels who haven't got anything better to do and being gold plated by our own bureaucrats who have even less to occupy them.

Bill Quango MP said...

decnine: Agree. We forgot the Maxim of every succesful military leader. If you want peace, prepare for war. Leavers stood down and went home.

Raedwald: Agree. Not sure its globalism . Its also being a Good European.
Oddly, we have sent more to Austria this year than we have in decades. Mostly books and packaging.

Hovis: "UKIP was a symptom, not a cause."
I agree.
But I am suggesting that the referendum was dreamt up as a way to thwart UKIP stealing Tory votes. Which it did. Look at opolling from before Cameron promised a vote, and after. Gains to Tories of 5%. That's pretty decent. And really all Cameron needed.

Phase II was to have a referendum, like the Scottish one, that killed off the idea of leaving the EU, for a long time. A Remain victory.And an end to UKIP which would implode.
That strategy was very sound.
I would argue the tactics, were less sound.

The decision to go immediately, to beat the incoming Libyan migrant crisis and get rid of kippers saying "Dave lied he won't give us a vote." It was, like May's election, just too rushed. A bit more planning a bit more teeing up. A deal from the eu agreed behind closed doors in advance, and Remain would have won and Cameron would be kicking the old tramp all over the North and Wales and planning to step down about now, as a very successful party leader and PM.

Elby the Beserk said...

@hovis 11:54am

"@Raedwald - the impoverishment of the 'developed world' working class is of course trumpeted as progress by the liberal-globalist establishment. It is seen as a great leap forward for their progressive ideas. Why have a working class that is difficult and asks of things when you can have compliance, and brave new world silent repression."

I refer you to this article in Spiked, a view of the EU Empire from a German Lefty (old school, I would say)

"Nowhere in the history of socialism, for example, can we find the idea that workers are morally obliged to let themselves be competed out of their jobs by workers in a country where wages are lower"

Raedwald said...


It's going to get worse. Tier II & III AI are here. PwC forecast 30% of UK jobs to go in the next 15 years - but not spread evenly. 47% of low wage low skills jobs will go, but only 10% of Remainy metropolitan graduate ones. PwC expect job losses from AI to be compensated for by greater productivity increasing tax take and boosting GDP - but like the Elephant, not the tax take and GDP of the developed world's nations but elsewhere where costs are lower and returns to capital higher. In a globally integrated economy, there is no check on the distributional balances.

Hence my warnings that unless we act now, by 2040 we'll lack the means to fund either the NHS or a pension and welfare system.

Either we elect a government with the wit to see what's happening or we crash and burn. Except for the 1%, natch.

andrew said...

PwC forecast 30% of UK jobs to go in the next 15 years.

You cannot get someone in Vietnam to clean the office, repair roads, stack shelves, fix my aga etc etc.

You can get some ai to do basic accounting...

I see a 'dumb bell' distribution developing. The middle gets taken away.

No, that does not help the NHS.

Raedwald said...

Transport and storage, manufacturing, construction are the top 3 - where most jobs are full time. Cleaners are mostly PT. The self-employed getting fewer jobs will I presume just mean greater payment of in-work benefit..Of interest to BQ, a recent forecast on Zero Hedge predicts the downturn (before AI kicks in) will bring a 'Zombie' economy;

- Proliferation of retail stores, Walmart, Target, everything requires minimum staffing levels no matter how poor sales become.

- Unemployment will not rise much like last time. Instead, expect to see hours cut.Also expect for many of those currently working two jobs to lose one of them.

- Retail sales will plunge with the reduction in work.

- The impact of the above is very weak profits but not massive labor disruption

- Stocks will get clobbered as earnings take a huge hit.

- Junk bonds also get clobbered on fears of rolling over debt.

- This malaise can potentially last for years.

Charlie said...

We've been through something similar to mass automation before: the industrial revolution.

There are two ways it could go:

- We all have jobs, we just work fewer hours.

- Fewer people have jobs, but they are very well-rewarded and also very highly taxed. The benefits bill goes up dramatically.

There is a third alternative, but society won't stand for being turned into The Hunger Games.

Jan said...

.........or we have UBI to replace unemployment benefits (and tax credits?)and any work will be to supplement this basic income. We already have it in the form of state retirement pension; the only problem is you have to wait til you're 65+ to get it! Just think what the DWP could save in wages especially if the whole system can be done by AI.

E-K said...


I've been right all along. May is no incompetent. She has been an EU agent all along with a civil service guard around her.

I still say we're getting WA and a second vote with a rigged Remain outcome.

We're not a violent people, which is why they will win.

Anonymous said...

Britain is barely rich enough to afford the state pension. It will need another century of peaceful economic progress before we can afford a universal basic income.

We have come a long way in the past 150 years, since the days of workhouses and the Poor Law, but not nearly far enough for UBI.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

I know it's a buzzword, but can we stop throwing AI around? It's Machine Learning, we are absolutely nowhere near having actual AI.

And ML is remarkably stupid, it is useful in some cases, but currently it is very dumb. Even Google's image recognition is easily confused, by rotating the very images it was trained on it fails. Turn the image upside down and suddenly it thinks a cat is a snow plough.

ML and algos have their place, and we'll replace an ever increasing number of jobs, but anything requiring the slightest bit of sense is going to require a lot of human oversight.

Self-driving vehicles look great, but in real-world scenarios they'll need a person to take over when judgement calls are needed. Level 4 ones can only happen where the road is entirely free of other traffic other than the automated vehicle. Level 5 vehicles are decades away.

We have Level 2 ones now, and we'll see some Level 3 ones over the next few years, but they'll still need drivers.

I know it's not as exciting as journalists would have us think, but there we are.

Automation *is* going to put a lot of people out of work, and it's unlikely we'll create new roles fast enough, or that any we do won't have elements automated as soon as they're dreamt up, but whilst automation, ML and AI may be related, they're not the same thing.

E-K said...

And the insurers will insist the designated driver remains sober and they will still have to be parked (or else travel there-back there-back, mileage x2)... so what's the fucking point !

E-K said...

I doubt they'll be allowed to run empty either. So they'll still have to be parked, which, second to drinking are the only problems with driving and the only ones AI will not solve.

Anonymous said...

@EK - the main thing will be transporting freight, you can expect to see dedicated lanes on a motorway where only automated vehicles will be allowed.

Some pillock will doubtlessly consider legislating that everyone must have a phone in an effort to make automated vehicle more feasible - your phone is a handy bit of kit to say "I'm here!", for example, but anyone with a mind capable of the most basic criminal thoughts could see why that could be a bad idea.

Charlie said...

Even "Machine Learning" isn't new. We were doing multi variable linear regression in Matlab my Comp Sci degree back in the late 90s. You needed to spend lots of time on very expensive hardware training your models though. The difference today is that Amazon provides that platform for peanuts and a kid can learn to train an algorithm in his bedroom from a YouTube video.

As ever, our secondary educators are way behind the curve on this; a friend's daughter is currently being taught Visual Basic for her IT GCSE, which is as big a waste of time as I can think of.