Tariff, or not Tariff?


Great article today in the British Conservative Party’s most popular multi-author blog. About what happens if the UK cannot finalize a deal to leave the European Union. Has huge relevance for the Trumpian US, too.

My first point is that the Brexit Article 50 Negotiation is all pretty much a non-event, in any case. Along with being mis-described. Which is the problem with so much of politics at the moment. Both in the US and the UK.

Britain has left the EU. It made a decision to do so. What it is now doing is negotiating what should be the continuing arrangements. If no deal is struck, the UK gets up from the table, shrugs its shoulders, and proceeds to deal however it wants.

It’s not as if the EU is going to invade the UK. It’s not as if individual countries are going to stop dealing with the UK. The City of London is the foremost legal and illegal financial center in the world. You think every major financial entity in Europe, indeed, the rest of the world, is suddenly going to stop doing business with the City?

What will happen is that a whole bunch of civil servants in the UK will write a whole bunch of new rules with each and every instance that presents itself, as it presents itself. Which is by no means as complicated as it sounds.

Company A from the EU, or anywhere else in the world, says to Civil Servant B that it wants to do C. Civil Servant B, raised on a diet of British boarding school, Empire and latterly the EU’s labyrinthian bureaucratic playbook, presents Company A with options. Company A agrees. Or gets told by Civil Servant B to get lost. Er. That’s it.

And here’s the rub. It is precisely those people who keep this whole process complicated, who have been telling the rest of us for yonks that it is not that simple, it is precisely these people who have pissed off so many ordinary folk around the world, and are forcing them simply to pull the plug, as with Brexit, as with Trump.

And that’s the entire point. In a nutshell. What we are witnessing every single day, all over our media, among all our over-invested politicians and overfed intellectual elites, all those who have so much to lose from the system being ‘adjusted,’ is ordinary people taking back the system, and making it work for them.

Of course said media, politicians and intellectual elites are going incessantly to tell us why it is not possible. Again. They depend upon the system being run by them.

So. The worst that can happen is that the system of trade, security, etc. stops working. In which case exactly the same people are freed to negotiate new rules – but aware that they need to be paying attention, from this point on, to their real masters: the folks in the voting booths.

The second worst is that a knot of committed system bureaucrats throw various wrenches into the system. Like trade tariffs. I take the view of this article. So what?

As I have written elsewhere, I’m not so terribly sure that the existing international ‘system,’ based as it is on globalism, hasn’t actually moved too fast, too soon. I’m not convinced that individual countries, and their individual peoples, wouldn’t be better off, at least for a time, withdrawing from the frantic pace, and spending a bit of time protecting their own, and getting them properly prepared for full globalism, some time in the future.

And this is as true of the US as it is of the UK. And it is also the reason why the media and ‘professional’ politicians and political organizations in the US seem either not to understand why the awful Trump resonates, or not to want to understand.

Ordinary people, in their stumbling fashion, are taking back the system. Any terrible way that they can. And the only folks who seem to understand this are, well, terrible people. At least, so far.

And what the terrible people truly understand, with terrible awfulness for the immediate consequences, is that, if the ordinary people are cheering them on, they can merrily flip the finger at the system, the old ways, the established ways, the pro politicians, the intellectual elites and the massed ranks of the plump talking heads in the over-invested media.

I say one more time. We would all of us engaged in matters civic and politic do ourselves and those we purport to represent and want to help a much better service if we took the time properly to understand what is happening with ordinary folk and then ask them what they want (look Ma, no commas).

Only in that way might we be able to come up with prescriptions a deal sight less ugly and hurried than Donald Trump and Brexit. The choice remains with us. Bury our heads in the sand. Or get caught up with the times. ‘Cos they ain’t a-changin’. They already changed …

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