John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 216: Bremain Special

by on Jun.17, 2016, under Rum Doings

In our 216th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, is it now time to introduce the death penalty for those who record a song that sounds a bit like another song?

This week we talk about Brexit vs Bremain, and as you might imagine a week before the vote, that’s about it. We look at some of the arguments, we discuss some of the potential consequences, and we implore people to get off their bums on Thursday to vote for things to stay the same.

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10 Comments for this entry

  • Evert

    Thank you for the interesting episode.

    I liked Nick’s interpretation of Shylock – its not something that I had considered (though I’m quite apathetic about “the Bard,” FWIW) but you can see the (((echoes))) in contemporary online antisemitism.

    Regarding the claims in Dan Hannan’s book: I haven’t read it, so cannot comment on its overall truthiness, but I have seen the page that is referred to by your correspondent (that even when a nation says “no” the EU ignores the results). One of the examples that Hannan offers is that Denmark voted no to the Euro, but was forced to accept it anyway.

    Having been to Denmark recently I can assure you Denmark uses the krone. This does not inspire confidence in the rest of the book.

    I’m a moderate remainer (I’m not unsympathetic to criticisms of the EU), at the start of the campaign I was half expecting to change my mind by the 23rd June – needless to say due to the timbre of the Brexit campaign that has happened.

    In the Scottish referendum there was an implicit understanding who would be negotiating terms. The EU referendum does not have this. Say we vote to leave, who will do the negotiating? The present government? Tory rebels following a coup? Will UKIPers be allowed at the table (who only have one representative at odds with his leadership)? The Brexiteers can be all things to all people: will we become an open (classic) liberal trading nation; a little England, closed to the world; a socialist paradise, able to tackle a market economy in a way impossible within the EU?

    I find all these unattractive for different reasons. To be ironically Panglossian, are present arrangement is probably the best of all possible worlds.

    Anyway: ich bin verlasse, Deutsch lernen.

  • Xercies

    Playing Devils advocate here:

    If we are to say that there are problems with housing, schooling and hospitals not caused by immigration. Can you not see then that adding more people through immigration would make these problems grow and put a lot more quicker strain on the system then if we didn’t have them?

  • Jonathan

    Why is it that we cannot be trusted to buy more than 16 painkillers at a time but we *can* be trusted to vote ourselves into an economic black hole? This country’s priorities are all kinds of screwed up.

  • John Walker

    Xercies – in theory, no, because those people would be paying tax into the system, resulting in equilibrium.

  • Xercies

    But then again there are some things not controlled by tax. For example for 20 years we still haven’t built enough houses. That doesn’t seem like its going to change anytime soon aince to many people get rich from scarcity. Ergo immigration could make this problem potentially worse.

  • NM

    I agree, Xercies, which is why I disagreed with John’s panglossian interpretation of large-scale immigration. I acknowledge that local frictions and bottlenecks will happen, and that genuine problems with insufficient resource are clearly a real issue (firstly, because cuts mean that the new resource is not provided, despite the new tax-payers, and secondly, because there is a substantial latency between resource requirement and its being able to be brought online).

    So yes, large-scale movements of people into a particular area ARE going to put strains on services. Let’s not lie about it. But my argument is that these strains should be temporary, and the eventual gains substantial. And that if the strains are more than temporary, then that is a political decision, not mere happenstance.

  • Callan

    This episode was good. For some abstract considerations I recommend anyone read Tim Gower’s blog post on the EU:

    One thing I feel was not as well covered was your response to the question of democracy. Both the emailer and yourselves decided to interpret this purely in the majoritarian bourgeois notion of the demos voting to put Socrates to death, which I agree is a silly, bad idea. In socialist circles however the term is often used to describe the notion of a person having a meaningful say in their lives (see also Gowers discussion of subsidiarity) and I think this is a more useful in this discussion.

    Having more say in esoteric energy or agricultural policy is not something I, nor, I imagine, most people can meaningfully want. Though we would wish these policies to reflect what is in the best interest of the demos and if that were not the case, wish to be able to agitate for change in that direction. One thing this makes clear to me is the profoundly democratic nature of certain foundational aspects of the EU, namely the free movement of goods, services and people. In this sense having a say over who moves next door is not democratic but having the ability to freely move elsewhere because you do not like your neighbour is.

    This also makes clear a sense in which this referendum is in fact undemocratic. It was not called for because of a mass movement desiring this question be answered but as a move to appease the swivel-eyed loons in the tory party who at some stage around 2012/13 looked set to stage a mass defection to the lovely gentlemen of the United Kingdom Independence Party (I look forward to Dan Hannan doing just this if Remain wins). Similarly democracy should involve some understanding of the meaning of what is being asked in order to understand how it might actually impact you. This seems a question genuinely beyond the meagre calibre of politicians arguing on either side as evidenced by the flattening of the debate away from any actual EU policy or seriously principled considerations.

    In this same way I wish people would understand that UKIP do not stand for democracy, they are sheer grifters. At its inception this party did not go to Brussels and refused any money from the EU. This is utterly idiotic but at least somewhat principled. In its modern inception UKIP votes against every proposed policy in the European parliament and Nigel Farage and his cohort have made thousands of pounds from not attending various committees they are supposed to* (again whenever they do attend they blanketly vote against whatever proposed policy is discussed).

    Continuing with the lack of discussion of actual EU policy, the question of economics is not one you can speculate on because of some rubbish Dan Hannan or Michael Gove has said. I feel the emailer should consider for example if he or she can name a single trade deal and give any account of what it really amounts to. The topic of trade deals and their efficacy and so on is a serious and studied by equally serious economists and doing justice to it doesn’t involve arm chair analysis involving again unnamed regulation. (Note: I do not myself claim any competence on the question, I am just struck by the emergence of self-made experts in the debate.)

    As a final point, Nick’s charitable interpretation over the listener’s fear of the loss of culture as a worry over islamist ideology seems completely irrelevant to EU membership. As Nick himself said towards the beginning of the episode.

    *Similarly Neil Hamilton telling anyone about democracy is a bitter joke.

    Also worthwhile pieces:

  • Callan

    By the way, if betting markets are believed to be rational then it is perfectly rational to believe remain will win e.g.

    It is not worthwhile saying this if you want to get out the vote though.

  • James B

    Remainer here but our case doesn’t benefit from John’s overstatement.

    Thanks for the episode as always.

  • Hitler's Ghost

    Ha ha, suck shit Walker you pathetic loser. The future belongs to fascism and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop us. The only future for weak cuck trash like you is a very diverse mass grave.

    Your misery is utterly delicious and your twitter butthurt will keep me smiling for days. Stay salty and keep on losing.

    Heil Me!