What's really happening with Brexit and world politics. My crystal ball predictions (First published
As I look back over the events in the USA and Britain over the last few years, I find myself wondering where all this is leading. Are politics and the future really all that unpredictable? Is everything really that crazy?
To this end I decided to lay down my core beliefs and try to see if they had any validity in events that are taking place today, and whether or not these can be extended to predict the future.
I've tried to simplify the main issues as I see them, (these are by no means exhaustive); I simply limit this list to enable me to focus on my main points. I have written a number of articles, some of which I thought would be challenging and provoke reaction, but sadly the responses I got were not there. What few I did get told me that I needed to explain myself better. None-the-less, here is the list.
People are by and large 'nice guys'. In a quiet, satisfactory world, most people are more interested in their pets than politics, but when things start to go wrong they look for someone to blame and a way out. (Actually I believe they are more interested in the second part of the last sentence rather than the first, but years of conditioning from politicians but also the press has taught them to blame first, ask questions afterwards). In short, the world and its decisions are a spectrum, with 80% in the middle, and 10% at each end.
The nature of man is in part predatory. Even in the civilized world, there will always be those that are trying to reach their own goals at the expense of those around them or of society itself. In a way I believe that this mentality is built-in, and even encouraged in the Capitalist model of economies. Phrases such as "tax evasion is illegal but not tax avoidance!" to is ridiculous. Then there are other phrases like, "what someone did was not illegal" to justify some behaviour, which after the fact caused a lot of hurt to a lot of people. To me this indicates the necessity of controlling the laissez-faire attitude of humanity. True 'free-market' pressures need to be monitored and controlled, the most obvious examples being the society's demand for drugs or prostitution.
As an extension of point 1 above, when things do go wrong, people look to lay blame, and the answers they come up with are often influenced by extremists, those at either end of the spectrum pressuring the middle. The result is often blame being placed at the wrong front door.
So, the economic problems of the past 20 years or so, are now coming home to roost. Globalization in my opinion has been good for humanity as a whole. The economic pie that is the world economy has grown more and faster with globalization than the sum of the individual economies, but ... and herein lies the problem, it was never shared equally throughout society. Some groups, many groups, and even more individuals got left behind. Their lot in life did not improve significantly and in many cases regressed, and all the while they had to sit back and watch while everybody else moved ahead of them. No wonder there is so much disillusionment with politics and world leaders. The wealth gap between rich and poor just got bigger and bigger.
In their search for answers, they noted, not only that some people (corporations included) were getting richer and richer, but also they were not playing by the rules. Whether because senior-most managers were over-paying themselves; or simply playing fast and loose with pension and other funds; or whether others are trying simply trying to 'save' money by investing in dubious funds (hedge funds, foreign exchange or other forms of speculation), the result is the same. The little people at the bottom got screwed!
To this we can add, top earners squirreling their money away in off-shore tax havens; corporations playing 'pass the profits' from one off-shore company to another, individuals setting up trust funds to look after their own finances; but also a natural decrease in the demand for labour by the improvement and more widespread application of robotic technology.
Result, government receiving less and less tax money, resulting in smaller budgets for everything, from infrastructure renewal and expansion, national health service, policing and even the military. So the poor old EU in Britain, and the Democrats in the USA got blamed for this. This misdirection, this blame has resulted in my opinion, in one of today's greatest ironies.
People, that is to say the voters, voting in the very party that caused the problems, to solve it. Do the people in America really believe that mass reduction in taxation that benefits the rich will have no effect on them in the long run? Do they really believe that they can spend massive amounts on their military or structures that are nothing more than an expense (the Mexican border) will not eventually catch up with them?
In Britain. the divide and rule mentality of the past will not work in Brexit. It has been proven time and time again as they target countries like Germany hoping to convince the business world to pressure their own governments. There are a number of fundamental flaws in their thinking. One major error is trying to convince the EU about a trade deal, and have now realized, very, very late, that the British economy which is 80% services, wasn't even included in the discussions when Brexit was announced.
Also, does Britain really believe that their appeal to the rest of the world (and especially USA) as being the gateway to Europe (fuelled to a large part by it being an English-speaking country) will continue unaffected?
This discussion could continue forever, so I will come to my predictions. In Britain, there will be another election before Brexit is finalized. If a new UKIP with Farage is founded, Labour will undoubtedly win, as the Conservative vote will once again be split. Labour will inherit all the problems including Brexit. If they simply try to negotiate for a better deal with the EU they will lose, and be under such pressure, none of their domestic agenda will be given a chance to take root before the government again changes hands. Their one hope for survival, of avoiding this Brexit landmine is to to pass the buck back to the electorate with another referendum on the decision; and Jeremy Corbyn will have to put aside any dislike (reportedly) he has for the EU and its institutions.
In the USA, having listened to Trump's supporters claims of a booming economy and unemployment , assuming he survives an impeachment, I see things will take longer. In the end though as I see it , his policy is unsustainable, both at home and abroad. For what it's worth, if a person like Oprah was to run in 2020, I wouldn't rule out her chances.
But one thing I will say in favour of both the USA and the UK sets of events. They have acted as a catalyst for positive change, by highlighting the problems of the 'have-nots'. Since neither the USA or UK deliberately embarked on this journey of social enlightenment, I hardly think they are deserving of recognition. Never-the-less, the EU is now concentrating on getting its house in order, and openness and democracy seem to be their new mantra. The only question now is what will happen in the Middle-East. Korea seems to be solving its own problem, their new motto being apparently, one lunatic in this region is enough.