Monday, 13 March 2017

How Brexit will devour its own - and why we should let it

Fat-headed Philip Hammond is just the first of the parade of fools to feel the force of vengeance.  It is very difficult to feel any sympathy for a man whose first Budget managed to unite all the fascist cheer-leaders in condemnation, as his changes to National Insurance contributions bit at a constituency which had previously been championed by the Tories.  The self-employed will be the first of many of the groups who will be disadvantaged as the consequences of the idiocy hit home.  The ramifications could be fascinating.

From a purely theoretical perspective the evening-up of NICs for the self-employed is correct.  It is one of the distortions that has encouraged legal tax avoidance by companies and destroyed the social cohesion provided by the welfare state.  Where employers used to have obligations for holidays, pensions and the kind of benevolence that the new right has spent thirty years dismantling, the effect of self-employment and the reduction in personal tax liability has caused many "outsourced" or casual workers to become self-employed. Reducing the short-term financial gain may stiffen resistance to the moral evasion that has resulted in many being complicit in their own marginalisation.

The problem with such an analysis is that it is theoretical rather than visceral.  The Tories, and their allies in the media, have created the delusion that whatever the costs and fall-out of Brexit are, they will fall on the mythical "someone else".  That this is a manifestly lunatic position has not stopped the full wrath of the tabloids from descending on Hammond.  He is rich, arrogant and sufficiently deluded to ride this one out, but he is merely the first of many Tory scalps that will be claimed as the hard right and the Nazi fringe attempt to shift the blame.

Osborne's failed austerity, which brought untold misery born of economic ignorance, is now allied to a prodigious attempt to stave off the consequences of May's folly and malice.  Her misanthropic stupidity has been used by the Tory extremists as a stalking-horse to extend the worst and most divisive excrescences of Thatcherism, and as a means of imposing a quasi-fascist "will of the people" where such a formulation is manifestly bogus.  Hammond must be banking on the entire edifice unravelling, as given the incompetence and complicity of Labour, it is unlikely that the Tories will be leaving UK office any time soon.

NICs are the tip of the iceberg.  The Tories, in Opposition, used to criticise Brown for stealth taxation.  This will come back to haunt them.  There will be raids on pensions, savings and increases in direct and indirect taxation, alongside further reductions in spending.  This will be against a background of economic insanity - rising inflation, unemployment and potentially rising interest rates in both nominal and real terms as the sheer weakness of the UK economy becomes clear.  As the toxic anti-social impact of the Brexit process unravels, this is a cocktail of despair.

For those of us who have believed that the tragedy should not be a possibility, and should at the least be mitigated, there is the potential for militant Schadenfreude.  A temptation to be avoided, I think, given that the hysterical reaction of the cornered rat has been demonstrated by the response to Hammond.  Instead it is time to provide solidarity and mutual support for those who are standing for sanity, and allow the lunatics to believe their control over the asylum is more than a temporary blip.

When the process unravels, the irrational response will be to blame those of us who could see the internal contradictions and fallacies, and warned of them.  The next few months are likely to be uncomfortable for all of us in this position, but this is now a war of attrition.  The Cabinet is populated by traitors and idiots, abetted by the Corbynist tendency.  There is a media that is feral in its ignorance.  This is not the time to campaign on the basis of a final victory but to build up attrition - it is time to work alongside friends in Europe and construct a platform that will sustain the successor states as the UK unravels.

We should also enjoy the spectacle, as the contradictions and mendacity bite back.  Pointing this out is necessary - but as we have discovered the monobrows cannot accept the simple relationships of cause and effect.  Rather than this, protecting ourselves and bracing for the reaction to betrayal and persistent mendacity becomes essential.  The endgame may not be Britain formally leaving the EU, it will be the destruction of the apparatus that has allowed a coup, and that has subverted the constitution.  The traitors may not find their heads displayed at Temple Bar, but their reputation will be sullied.  Having been treated as irritants and wreckers by May and her cabal, turning the tables may not result in humanitarian charity.

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