Why are Remainers so convinced that staying in the European Union is what is best for the UK?Barry McGuinness, British personUpdated Sep 11, 2019 · Upvoted by Anders Wahlberg, lives in The United Kingdom (1948-present) and Leslie Wood, lives in The United Kingdom (1934-present) · Author has 2.6k answers and 3.6m answer views
I voted Remain, not because I was so convinced it was best (at the time I was too uninformed to have such strong conviction), but simply because I see multinational economic and political cooperation as an attractive alternative to international conflict. I also consider the EU itself to be a progressive project in a dangerously unstable world.
After the referendum, I admit I was shocked at the result. Still, hopefully David Cameron knew how to make Brexit work out for the best. Oops, make that Theresa May. Oops…
I live in a strongly ‘Remain’ part of England and as far as I knew not a single one of my friends, neighbours or relatives had voted ‘Leave’. Though as I gradually discovered, a small minority of them had. Those few all had one thing in common: they were independently wealthy.
And yet according to the demographic research, the majority of Leave voters were either working class or out of work.
To put it crudely, the rich and the poor had voted Leave, while the rest had voted Remain.
I found this hard to fathom. But as I began to look into the deluge of opinions, arguments, articles, reports and official documents published in the wake of the referendum, a rather ugly picture began to emerge.
I’ve gone into immense detail with this answer, not wishing to leave anything out. My apologies for the length. But if you just want the overview, here it is:
(1) A lot of the arguments made for Britain leaving the EU were and still are based on myths and misinformation…
- ‘The EU threatens British sovereignty.’
- ‘The EU is run by unelected bureaucrats.’
- ‘The UK must leave the EU in order to control its own borders or make its own laws.’
- ‘The UK will be economically better off outside the EU.’
None of these is really true.
(2) Sincethe referendum,it has become much clearer what Brexit was really about all along, and how it was pulled off …
- While most UK business benefits from being in the EU, Brexit was and still is primarily driven by a tiny minority of super-rich businessmen who like to operate above the law — tax-dodging tycoons, foreign oligarchs and unscrupulous investors.
- Since 2010, the EU has been introducing regulations to put a stop to their unethical practices. In particular, the EU began to clamp down on hedge funds (2011) and corporate tax avoidance (2016).
- Since then, those who would be most affected by these regulations — a few billionaires plus certain Conservative politicians who aspire to be like them — have been pushing relentlessly for a hard or no-deal Brexit.
- They favour crashing out if the EU because any kind of negotiated deal would inevitably involve accepting EU regulations. (Hence Theresa May’s Brexit deal was immediately rejected because she had agreed to retain the EU’s tax regulations.)
- Boris Johnson has been sponsored to push through a no-deal Brexit by Halloween; the official line that he is actively seeking a new deal is pure spin.
- For some in the Conservative Party, Brexit also represents an opportunity ‘to finish what Margaret Thatcher started’, i.e. dismantling the welfare state and restructuring the UK in favour of self-interest and private profit — only this time without any trans-national regulations or human rights laws getting in the way.
- The two main pro-‘Leave’ campaigns in the run-up to the referendum (Farage’s ‘Leave_EU’ and Johnson/Cummings’s ‘Vote Leave’) were unlawful and unethical. Aside from hiding their dodgy finances, they used both public ads (the big red bus) and ‘micro-targeted’ messages to disseminate anti-EU lies and misinformation.
I think everyone involved needs to be aware of these hidden agendas and covert tactics.
(1) MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION
“The EU threatens British sovereignty”
Many have argued that the EU has undermined British democracy, law and parliamentary sovereignty, and that leaving the EU is the only way for the UK to ‘take back control’. And yet the UK has never, at any point, lost control to the EU.
Even the UK Government’s own outline for leaving the EU states that ‘Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU,’ adding simply that ‘it hasn’t always felt like that.’
In reality, the UK has simply opted-in to a prestigious multinational ‘club’ in order to achieve certain shared objectives and enjoy certain privileges and benefits, such as
- operating as a powerful single market;
- enjoying hassle-free international travel for business, holidays, studying, working, research, etc.,
- collaborating successfully on everything from cancer research to crime investigation to climate change.
Club membership also comes with a number of rules and regulations, which are constantly evolving. As a particularly strong and influential member, the UK has always had considerable power to shape these. But now, by leaving the EU, the UK is losing all of this power as well as all of the membership benefits.
“If you take back the right to set your own rules and standards, it will by definition become harder to do business with countries that use different ones.
If you want to trade, you will probably end up following the rules of a more powerful partner—which for Britain means the EU or America—only without a say in setting them.”
[‘Brexit, the mother of all messes’. The Economist, 17 Jan 2019.]
It seems ironic, in fact, that the UK is prepared to lose all this power, prestige and privilege in the name of ‘taking back control’.
Even more ironically, by ‘taking back control’ with a no-deal Brexit, the UK will have to comply with trade rules set behind closed doors in Geneva by the unelected committees of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 
“The UK needs control of its own borders”
The UK doesn’t need to leave the EU to have control of its own borders.
The Schengen Area |
Leaving the EU will of course mean the UK is no longer obliged to accept the free movement of EU citizens. This in turn will no doubt reduce the volume of EU citizens visiting or staying in the UK.
But free movement grants visitors temporary residence for only up to three months. Beyond that, a visitor must meet certain criteria such as studying or finding employment, otherwise they must return home. And in any case, their continuing stay is at the host nation’s own discretion.
This is partly because an earlier governmentopted to allow unrestricted migration from newly-joined EU member-states in Eastern Europe. Britain was then taken by surprise at the influx of migrants from these countries.
Resolving such issues does not necessitate leaving the EU. Nevertheless, that was the simple solution sold to voters by the ‘Leave’ campaigns.
“The EU is run by unelected bureaucrats in the European Commission”
Eurospectic politicians and newspapers are fond of referring to the officials of the European Union as ‘unelected bureaucrats’ or ‘eurocrats’, suggesting that these unaccountable officials make decisions that affect our lives.
In fact, the EU is run democratically by two bodies:
- the Council of the EU — a regular get-together of government ministers from each of the EU member states;
- the European Parliament — an assembly of 751 directly-elected MEPs representing their constituencies.
A third body, the European Commission consists of over 30,000 civil servants whose job is to administer EU laws. It is overseen by 28 Commissioners, one nominated by each member state.
While it is technically correct that the Commission’s civil servants are “unelected bureaucrats”, the same is true of all civil servants everywhere.
What is grossly incorrect is the idea that Europe is “governed” or “run”by these civil servants. This misconception may be due to the fact that it’s the Commission’s job to propose and implement new EU-wide legislation. But it does so only in an administrative capacity.
[For an explanation of how the Commission works, see Note 1]
So what about all those ludicrous laws imposed on the British by dastardly eurocrats?
They don’t exist. They were deliberately made up by British anti-EU journalists, like a certain Boris Johnson.
From 1989–1994, Johnson was a bored young journalist reporting from the European Commission in Brussels. He soon found that he could easily make front-page headlines by portraying the European Commission as a bunch of incompetent, jumped-up foreigners undermining the natural greatness of the UK.
He also found that Brussels-bashing boosted his career prospects, as a lot of old-fashioned Conservatives back home believed every word he wrote.
Almost single-handedly, Johnson had created the brand of fake news known as ‘the Euromyth’. It did of course mean ditching any semblance of journalistic integrity, just deliberately lying and scaremongering on a daily basis — but he managed to do it spectacularly well, and still does.
He was, however, recently caught red-handed:
In his leadership campaign, Boris Johnson paraded a kipper claiming that ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ impose ridiculous rules on kipper packaging. In fact the packaging rules are set by the UK’s own Food Standards Agency to ensure the safety of food bought online.
“The UK will be economically better off outside the EU”
The UK currently enjoys all the benefits that go with being part of the world’s most democratic trading bloc, such as tariff-free import/export trade. In addition, the EU’s huge single market provides enough combined clout to level the playing field with the world’s other two economic superpowers, China and the US. It is estimated that the economic benefits of EU membership provide the UK with a return on investment of somewhere between 5 and 15 times the annual membership fee.
But by cancelling its membership of the EU, the UK will lose all these economic advantages at a singlestroke. 
The economic effects for the UK, according to the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), will be negative for decades to come even in the best-case scenario of having a free-trade agreement with the EU, but far worse in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The only positive is a minuscule savings in regulatory costs. (Note: this model was calculated justbefore the referendum and takes 2016 as the Leave date.)
Even the Treasury’s own analyses of the economic effects of leaving the EU are absolutely grim. Whether the outcome of leaving is Norway-style (EEA membership), Canada-style (bilateral agreement), or a no-deal exit (defaulting to WTO rules), there is no economic benefit to the UK:
”The Treasury’s analysis shows that the UK would be permanently poorer if it left the EU and adopted any of these models. Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU.”
[HM Treasury analysis: the long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives. HM Treasury, 18 April 2016.]
Just to repeat the key part:
British business will be hurt; British science and scholarship will be hurt; British workers will lose the right to work anywhere in Europe; British students will no longer be able to work or study anywhere in the EU; the NHS will have fewer doctors and nurses; poorer areas like Cornwall and Wales will lose their EU grants.
The IMF has likewise suggested that a no-deal Brexit could cost the UK economy somewhere between 5% and 8% of GDP, representing a loss of thousands of pounds per household.
Following Brexit, however, the UK will become just another external country hoping to do business with that lucrative market. Every form of Brexit comes with serious economic costs that will really hurt British families, businesses, jobs, living standards and public finances for decades to come.
Yet many leading Brexiteers are perfectly aware of all this. This is why people like Jacob Rees-Mogg have been moving their own assets out of Britain to continue making profits within the EU while the UK struggles along outside it.
So now we come to the bigger picture.
(2) WHAT IT WAS REALLY ABOUT ALL ALONG
First, let’s rewind a few years. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007–8, the UK and many other countries went into economic recession.
To address the large deficit in government finances, the Conservative Party under David Cameron inflicted a punishing austerity programme on the less well-off, with lower public spending, welfare cuts and frozen benefits.
- To qualify for state benefits when out of work, for example, an individual is required to be a full-time job-seeker, spending 35 hours of every week online looking for work. Failure to do so for any reason incurs draconian sanctions or even fines.
- Most notoriously, private-sector outfits are being paid public money to deliberately re-assess disability benefit claimants as ‘not disabled’ wherever possible.
Dismantling the welfare state in this way was something many anti-welfare Conservatives had long dreamt of doing. Now they were delighted to be actually getting away with it:
“The genius of David Cameron and George Osborne was that they persuaded the country to accept the most challenging cuts to public spending in our peacetime history without [causing] riots.” — JEREMY HUNT, MP,
[‘Jeremy Hunt: the last Cameroon‘, New Statesman, 17 April 2019.]
By 2013, public spending had fallen to levels not seen since 2003. With growing confidence — and still no sign of riots — David Cameron then began pushing the austerity programme as a permanent feature.
The austerity programme continues unabated, with dire social consequences: food banks; homelessness; reduced life expectancy; reduced policing services; the closure of public libraries; the disposal of public buildings. 
The alarming hardships caused by years of austerity has even been the subject of a special investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report concluded that the whole thing seems unnecessary and politically motivated:
“A booming economy, high employment and a budget surplus have not reversed austerity, a policy pursued more as an ideological than an economic agenda.
… much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos.”
[Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. United Nations Human Rights Council, 16 November 2018.]
Just as growing numbers of people began to protest against Cameron and his government, along came the EU referendum of 2016.
This was seen by many as an opportunity to vent their frustration and punish Cameron. And since Cameron had appointed himself leader of the ‘Remain’ campaign, the obvious way to vote in protest would be to vote ‘Leave’ …
Recent surveys show that many voted ‘Leave’ simply as a protest against years of government-imposed austerity, not really expecting that the referendum outcome would be a victory for ‘Leave’:
“the 2016 EU referendum would have resulted in a clear victory for Remain (or the referendum might never have happened) had it not been for austerity measures such as extensive cuts to public spending.”
[‘Did Austerity in the UK Lead to the Brexit Crisis?’ Thiemo Fetzer, Harvard Business Review, 23 Aug 2019]
In contrast to Cameron’s low-key, apathetic performance, the two ‘Leave’ campaigns led by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson were extremely high-profile, well-funded, and relentless. Knowing that people felt their homes, jobs, and communities were at risk, the Leave campaigns blamed those fears on the European Union rather than on Tory austerity.
Ironically, the EU has been financially supporting some of the poorest areas of the UK through years of austerity. Nevertheless, many voters in those very areas suddenly became convinced that their financial woes and social concerns were all the fault of the EU and immigrants.
We now know that the Leave campaigns were deceitful and fraudulent. In fact, the extensive illegality of the Leave campaigns may well be the biggest ever fraud committed against democracy in modern British history.
Many on the far right, not only in Europe but also the USA and Russia, have come to see disruption, disintegration and destruction of the EU as highly desirable, if not essential. After all, the EU has brought decades of unprecedented multi-national cooperation, peace and social progress. For the far right, this is intolerable. The EU referendum was their moment to turn the tide.
For example, despite being an American citizen, Trump’s campaign leader Steve Bannon has been actively promoting far-right parties across Europe — including the UK’s BNP, the EDL, Ukip, and anything to do with Nigel Farage. Bannon would like to see the EU torn down and be replaced by Trump-style nationalism and xenophobia. 
Bannon is also the former Vice President of Cambridge Analytica , the notorious ‘digital persuasion’ company that has interfered in hundreds of elections around the world.
During the run-up to the EU referendum, Facebook enabled Cambridge Analytica to post blatant lies to UK citizens about the EU. The purpose of these ‘micro-targeted ads’ was to urge carefully-selected (i.e. psychologically susceptible and impressionable) members of the British public to vote ‘Leave’.
- Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy — must-see TED talk by investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer.
- the shocking Netflix documentary The Great Hack.
- the New York Review’s article on The Oligarch Threat.
Similar scare-headlines were repeated on a daily basis in the right-wing press. Brexit was sold as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regain sovereignty, control immigration and increase wealth, and many voters were persuaded.
We also now know that over 400 fake “British” Twitter accounts whipping up anger and discord over the referendum were actually run from a Russian troll farm. Facebook was also littered with anti-EU and anti-NATO group pages covertly set up by the Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik. And yet a House of Commons committee investigating fake news finds that the British Government has been strangely reluctant to accept evidence of interference in the 2016 referendum.
Facebook has been fined £500,000 by Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office for its complicity in misuse of personal data. Since the referendum, numerous other official investigations have been underway.
- The funding of the Leave_eu campaign via Arron Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency
- For failing to disclose finances, the Leave_eu campaign was fined £50,000 and the Vote Leave campaign was fined £41,000.
- For sending unsolicited spam texts, the Vote Leave campaign was fined £40,000 and the Leave_eu campaign was fined £50,000.
But despite all thisevidence ofmalpractice, manipulation and interference, the actual referendum result cannot be legally overturned.
Because the referendum result was only ever advisory, like an opinion poll, not mandatory, like a legal statute.
Even though the referendum is now, in effect, a massive crime scene subject to multiple legal investigations, the result itself cannot be overturned on legal grounds because the result itself has no legal significance. Despite politicians repeatedly claiming that they’ve been given a ‘clear mandate’ to leave the EU because ‘the people have spoken’, the Government was (and still is) under no legal obligation whatsoever to act on the result.
So why are they?
Let’s follow the money…
CORPORATE TAX AVOIDANCE
Throughout the world, corporate tax avoidance is a colossal problem. And by far the biggest enabler of corporate tax avoidance, with its global network of secretive tax-haven territories, is the UK:
“Britain has single-handedly done more to undermine theworld’s tax system than any other nation … Tax haven territories linked to Britain are responsible for around a third of the world’s corporate tax avoidance risk.”
[‘UK by far the biggest enabler of global corporate tax dodging, groundbreaking research finds’. Ben Chapman, Independent, 28 May 2019.]
Britain itself is badly affected by unpaid corporate tax, yet the Conservative Party has done little to address the matter. This seems particularly galling when we consider that the amount of missing tax per year is about the same as the total reduction in welfare spending in the name of austerity (over £30 billion).
In 2016 (note the year), the EU published its planned Anti-Tax Avoidance Directivewhichseeks to tackle the thriving culture of corporate tax avoidance. From January 2020, the new law will require anyone with offshore accounts and investments to disclose them to enable full scrutiny so they can no longer get away with tax-avoidance and evasion.
Continuing membership of the EU, or just the single market, means that the UK must adopt and enforce this anti-tax avoidance policy on itself.
This obviously conflicts with all those major companies and business owners who dodge taxes, as well as numerous leaders of poorer countries who are secretively hoarding and laundering money with the help of British offshore banks. 
A hard Brexit or no-deal Brexit, on the other hand, means business as usual.
This is the plain and simple reason why so many of the most powerful supporters of Brexit — wealthy business tycoons who also happen to be named in the Paradise Papers— suddenly began proclaiming that Britain had to leave the EU, the sooner and harder the better. These include …
- Aaron Banks, highly dodgy owner of an offshore bank who donated £8.5 million plus another £6 million in so-called loans to Nigel Farage’s Leave campaign.
- The Barclay brothers, owners of therelentlessly pro-Brexit Telegraph newspaper and Spectator magazine, who live in the Channel Islands to avoid paying UK taxes.
- Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, currently in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as Leader of the House of Commons; chairman of the Conservative Party’s shadowy ‘European Research Group’
It also makes one wonder why David Cameron — the PM who called the referendum — failed to mention the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive while he was self-appointed leader of the Remain campaign. Perhaps it was because the tax income generated by the new directive would be more than enough to justify the end of his ‘permanent austerity’. Or perhaps it was simply that he himself was averse to the new regulations.
As soon the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive was announced, Conservative Euroskeptics immediately set about portraying the EU as the new enemy of Britain, an undemocratic superstate out to cause misery for ordinary Brits.
“The EU exists only to become a superstate, wrote former Chancellor Nigel Lawson for The Telegraph in May 2016. “Britain has no place in it.”
Sadly, many ordinary Brits fell for it.
But then … things didn’t quite work out as planned.
DEAL OR NO-DEAL?
After she became Prime Minister, Theresa May spent a long time with other EU national leaders working out and agreeing on a pragmatic Brexit plan.
But when this huge Withdrawal Agreement finally came out, some of the most prominent Brexiteers were deeply unhappy with it.
Because at the back of the document there was a commitment by the British Government to retain the EU’s new anti-tax avoidance laws.
But if another Prime Minister could be found … preferably an unprincipled opportunist who will say and do absolutely anything to get into 10 Downing Street …
… perhaps he could convince the people of Britain thathe could do better than Theresa May’s deal … but then simply wait for Britain to crash out of the EU with no deal whatsoever. And then, literally overnight, there will be no new corporate tax laws for the tax avoiders to worry about.
But now Brexit offers so much more than just support for tax avoidance…
Many experts blamed the global financial crisis on the US and UK governments’ failure to regulate the reckless behaviour of their own banking and financial sectors. So to help protect Europe from the risk of such actions leading to another recession, the EU focused on tightening regulations.
But then came the 2016 EU referendum result and the prospect of the UK actually leaving the EU. For some in the UK, this suddenly opened up a whole new vista of possibilities…
There is a certain worldview — one could even call it a cult — which holds that market forces and the profit motive are sacred while any kind of state regulation is abhorrent. The only role for government and public spending in this ‘free-market ideology’ or ‘market fundamentalism’ is to provide police and armed forces to protect the status quo.
And so, immediately after the referendum result, the free-market think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) announced:
“The weakness of the Labour Party and the resolution of the EU question have created a unique political opportunity to drive through a wide-ranging … revolution on a scale similar to that of the 1980s … This must include removing unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses, such as those related to climate directives and investment fund[s].“
[‘Britain Votes for Brexit: CPS statement‘, Centre for Policy Studies, 24 June 2016.]
The vacuum of regulations that would be created by Brexit suddenly presented an opportunity to reshape the entire British economy — minimising the public sector and giving complete free rein to the private sector.
This is another reason why some very powerful billionaires have been sponsoring and championing Brexit as a means to deregulate UK business and especially London’s financial centre, the City.
“The majority of money donated to Boris Johnson’s campaign [has come] from hedge fund managers and other financiers backing Britain’s exit from the European Union, favouring low taxes and the deregulation of the UK economy.”
[‘Boris Johnson accused of being ‘out for himself’ after receiving £43,000 for speech backing no-deal Brexit’. Rob Merrick, Independent, 4 July 2019.]
Indeed, Brexit now promises the private sector free rein by ditching EU regulations once and for all. And with City-friendly politicians now in Government actively pursuing a no-deal Brexit, the UK won’t be adopting any EU-like regulations any time soon. Quite the opposite in fact, as Britain begins kowtowing to US demands. 
Some of the leading Brexiteers who have long claimed that leaving the EU will lead to enormous dividends for the UK are, in fact, hedge fund investors seeking enormous dividends for themselves..
They are seizing the opportunity to make millions — even billions — from the inevitable uncertainty and chaos of Brexit, especially from a no-deal Brexit.
Hedge fund managers, for example, are investors who gamble on the economy. They place bets on any economic value that might rise or (ideally) fall, such as the value of sterling. The world is just one big casino to them, and any humanitarian disaster or economic crisis is simply a good bet — an opportunity to make a killing.
Naomi Klein, in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine, refers to this deeplycynical and toxic modus operandi as ‘disaster capitalism’.
William Rees-Mogg (Jacob’s father) actually wrote a book extolling the financial benefits of social collapse and economic crisis for a few astute investors. The book makes it pretty clear why Jacob — recently promoted to Leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson — not only craves Brexit, but also the economic pain that is likely to come with it.
[‘How to explain Jacob Rees-Mogg? Start with his father’s books’.Andy Beckett, The Guardian, 9 Nov 2018.]
In the Information Age, according to William Rees-Mogg (or ‘Mystic Mogg’ as Private Eye called him), all nations, governments, social services and even democracy itself will collapse. Finally, no more taxes! No more propping up the poor and the sick!
And then, out of the inevitable violence and carnage to come when the masses turn on each other, only the most capable and self-interested investors will inherit the Earth.
“There is a reason why the hard Brexiteers cannot coherently explain their vision of Brexit: their chief aim is to break as many things as possible, in the belief that from the rubble might arise a kind of flag-waving, small-state, free-market utopia that even the blessed Margaret might have found unpalatable.”
[‘Rich, reckless Brexit zealots are fighting a new class war’, John Harris, The Guardian, 6 Aug 2018.]
This is why proponents of a free-market revolution don’t care about the harm caused by austerity and won’t care about the damage caused by Brexit. Shortages simply mean high demand and higher prices. Deregulation simply means giving the greedy greater freedom to exploit the needy.
But why sit around waiting for an economic disaster to exploit when you can covertly engineer one yourself?
“What to do if you are a hedge fund manager down to your last billion? Answer: rig global politics in your favour. If that sounds improbable, remember we are talking about folk capable of shorting the entire Japanese economy in response to a natural disaster. Hedge fund managers are megalomaniacs. It goes with the territory.”
[‘Boris, Brexit and the Hedge Funds (Part 1)’ George Keravan, Bella Caledonia, 11 July 2019.]
[See Note 2 for an explanation of shorting]
One of the new EU directives designed to regulate the financial sector, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011), focused on the worst excesses of unscrupulous hedge funds. It addressed everything from their secrecy to how much managers could pay themselves in bonuses.
Hedge fund managers in London, who had been used to operating as freewheeling rogues outside the system, took exception to this and began clamouring for Britain to leave the EU. The clamouring increased in 2015 after they were fined by the Greek government for messing with the struggling Greek economy.
Since the EU referendum, they have been actively sponsoring Leave campaigns as well as sponsoring Boris Johnson to push for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
BETTING AGAINST BRITAIN
One of these hedge fund managers is Crispin Odey.
Odey routinely bets against the British economy — if UK stocks and share values go down, or if a British business goes bankrupt as he predicted, he wins.
He made £220 million after successfully betting that a Leave result would cause the pound to crash. But then, he had also donated almost £900,000 to the Vote Leave campaign to help get the desired result.
After Theresa May’s downfall, Odey donated £10,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign. He then began publicly calling for people to support Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit strategy as the best possible way ahead for Britain.
‘Theresa May wasted three years,’ he said. ‘The only optimism about anything lies in supporting Boris.’
Yet Odey has placed a £300 million bet on a no-deal Brexit leading to disaster for British companies — but another staggering windfall for himself.
“Odey’s apparent lack of confidence in flagship British firms stands in marked contrast to his fund’s investments in other countries, including France, Germany and the US, where he is mainly backing shares to rise.”
[‘Brexiteer Odey bets £500m AGAINST British businesses’, Neil Craven & Jamie Nimmo, The Mail On Sunday, 10 June 2018.]
A BILLIONAIRES’ COUP?
While some politicians genuinely care about the rights and the wellbeing of the people they represent, there are others who really don’t care at all. They are in it for themselves. What puzzles many academics is the way so many low-income voters keep voting for them.
It’s undoubtedly because many of these politicians have the backing of those who run much of the British press — The Sun, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and so on. Plus there are certain wealthy backers like Steve Bannon who have appropriated social media techniques used by the military and intelligence services for misinformation and propaganda.
We used to say that knowledge is power. But today, investing in mass deception appears to be far more effective.
“In both Britain and America, there exists a class of billionaires who seek to become oligarchs and a corresponding class of government officials who want to become billionaires.
This international billionaire class is also establishing and using private intelligence and influence agencies like Cambridge Analytica to help them manipulate national and international politics.”
[The Oligarch Threat. Tamsin Shaw, New York Review Daily, 27 Aug 2019.]
The free-market fundamentalists’ original dream was of doing away with government interference. Now it is all about using government itself as a means to covertly protect and promote their self-interest.
“Brexit is not a cry for help from the English underclass. It is a carefully stage-managed campaign by global finance capital in the form of the hedge funds. It is being orchestrated out of hedge fund self-interest and the greed of billionaires. Boris Johnson is their front man.”
[‘Boris, Brexit and the Hedge Funds (Part 1)’, George Keravan, Bella Caledonia, 11 July 2019]
And with their man at the helm, the UK itself is set to be converted into a Singapore-style tax haven for Big Money.
With so many shady groups and individuals — British, American and Russian — funding UK politicians to say whatever it takes in order to produce the hardest Brexit possible, it really begs the question: Who is the current government actually working for?
Whatever its initial driving forces, Brexit is now essentially a coup pulled off by a subgroup of Conservative Party politicians on behalf of tax-dodging tycoons and unscrupulous investors.
They have been systematically misleading the British public to hate the EU through a constant supply of anti-EU propaganda and lies. Their only concern for ‘taking back control’ is to rid UK businesses of EU tax laws, financial regulations and employees’ rights. To this end, their immediate objective is to bring about a no-deal Brexit.
They are abusing democracy to create a plutocracy.
- EU finance ministers agree new hedge fund curbs. Ben Shore, BBC News Business, 19 October 2010.
- Directive on Alternative Investment Managers (‘AIFMD’): Frequently Asked Questions. Europa. European Union. 11 November 2010.
- EU hedge funds face pay threat. Alex Barker & Sam Jones, Financial Times, 15 Aug 2012.
- EU referendum: Hedge fund managers backing ‘Out’ campaign set to make millions from Brexit. Michael Bow, The Independent, 25 Oct 2015.
- Boris Johnson peddled absurd EU myths – and our disgraceful press followed his lead. Martin Fletcher, New Statesman, 1 July 2016.
- Margaret Thatcher didn’t cause Brexit – but Brexit will bring back Thatcherism. Andy Beckett, The Guardian, 1 July 2016.
- Disaster capitalism: the shocking doctrine Tories can’t wait to unleash. Howard Hotson, The Guardian, 4 July 2016.
- Brexit is a monumental act of self-harm which will bewilder historians. Paddy Ashdown, The Independent, 29 March 2017.
- Brexit campaign was largely funded by five of the richest men in Britain. Caroline Mortimer, The Independent, 24 April 2017.
- The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked. Carole Cadwalladr, The Observer, 7 May 2017.
- Brexit: disaster capitalism. Richard North, EU Referendum, 13 July 2017.
- How Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos – for Profit. Graham Vanbergen, Global Research, Oct 2017.
- No wonder John Redwood backs Brexit. He will make money out of it, after all . Joris Luyendijk, The Guardian, 14 Nov 2017.
- Brexit leaders prove that the campaign to leave the EU was entirely driven by self-interests. Jack Peat, The London Economic, 10 June 2018.
- Five Times Millionaire Brexiteers Advised Businesses On How To Get Round Brexit. Owen Bennett, Huffington Post, 28 June 2018.
- Trump’s visit marks the start of shock doctrine Brexit. Adam Ramsay, OpenDemocracy, 13 July 2018.
- Downing Street Denies Being In Rees-Mogg’s Pocket After Accepting Hard Brexit Changes To Trade Bill. Owen Bennett, Huffington Post, 16 July 2018.
- Why Brexit is really about competing visions of capitalism. Craig Berry, The Conversation, 26 July 2018.
- Rich, reckless Brexit zealots are fighting a new class war. John Harris, The Guardian, 6 Aug 2018.
- The most important book you have never heard of, may explain Rees-Mogg love of hard Brexit – Alastair Campbell (alastaircampbell.org), 13 Aug 2018.
- Hillary Clinton: ‘Brexit could be biggest self-inflicted wound in history’. Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 10 Oct 2018.
- How to explain Jacob Rees-Mogg? Start with his father’s books. Andy Beckett, The Guardian, 9 Nov 2018.
- New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit. Jane Mayer. The New Yorker, 17 Nov 2018.
- Hedge funds make big bets against post-Brexit UK economy. Jasper Jolly, The Guardian, 10 Dec 2018.
- Britain’s Brexit crisis was entirely self-inflicted. Catherine Haddon, Washington Post, 14 Dec 2018.
- Elite architects of Brexit are safe, far behind the front line. Chris Johns, The Irish Times, 13 Jan 2019.
- Why disaster capitalists are praying for a no-deal Brexit. George Monbiot, The Guardian, 7 Feb 2019.
- Revealed: How dark money is winning ‘the Brexit influencing game’. Peter Geoghegan & Jenna Corderoy, OpenDemocracy, 21 Feb 2019.
- The more we learn about Brexit, the more crooked it looks. Anne Applebaum, Washington Post, 8 March 2019.
- The Disaster Capitalism Club part 1: Vote Leave Backers Who Made Billions from Brexit. Peter Jukes, Byline Times, 13 March 2019.
- Brexit – Now Just a Massive National Crime Scene. Graham Vanbergen, Global Research, 17 April 2019.
- Democracy under attack – was Brexit bought? Film by Dirk Laabs, ZDF, 25 April 2019.
- Why are so many Brexiteer politicians cosying up to this Armenian oligarch? Thomas Rowley, OpenDemocracy, 24 May 2019.
- Threat of no-deal Brexit ‘like shooting your foot off’. The Irish Times, 14 June 2019.
- Brexit has heaped pain on UK economy and more damage is highly likely, researchers warn. Olesya Dmitracova, The Independent, 24 June 2019.
- The return of disaster capitalism. Grace Blakeley, New Statesman, 3 July 2019.
- Boris, Brexit and the Hedge Funds (Part 1) George Keravan, Bella Caledonia, 11 July 2019.
- Boris Johnson’s vow for a ‘no-deal Brexit’ is a complete fallacy – we would need deals galore just to keep afloat. Ed Davey, The Independent, 14 July 2019.
- How Boris Johnson’s Brussels-bashing stories shaped British politics. Jennifer Rankin & Jim Waterson, The Guardian, 14 July 2019.
- Project fear? The last three years have been more catastrophic than even the most pessimistic Remainer predicted. Jonathan Lis, Prospect Magazine, 19 July 2019.
- Boris, Brexit and the Hedge Funds (Part 2). George Keravan, Bella Caledonia, 22 July 2019.
- The disaster capitalists are lurking over No 10. Peter Geoghegan, The National, 28 July 2019.
- Cambridge Analytica worked on Brexit campaign, emails claim. Rowland Manthorpe, Sky Nrws, 31 July 2019.
- Academic warns of a ‘furnace of ultra-neoliberal free trade deals’ after Brexit. John McEvoy, The Canary, 2 Aug 2019.
- New trade minister Liz Truss had private talks in US with libertarian groups. Michael Savage, The Observer, 4 Aug 2019.
- Boris Johnson’s donor Crispin Odey eyes Brexit jackpot with £300m bet against British firms. Caroline Wheeler and Rosamund Urwin, Sunday TImes, 4 Aug 2019.
- Boris Johnson has no intention of renegotiating Brexit deal, EU told. Daniel Boffey and Rowena Mason. The Guardian, 5 Aug 2019.
- Brexit Disaster Capitalism: £8 Billion Bet on No Deal Crash-Out by Boris Johnson’s Leave Backers. Byline TImes, 11 Sept 2019.
Note 1: The European Commission explained
Here’s how that works:
- The Commission proposes new legislation in alignment with already-agreed EU policies.
- The Council of the EU and the Parliament vote on whether or not to accept, reject or amend each proposal.
- New legislation is enacted only if the two elected bodies jointly agree to it.
- The Commission does the paperwork to implement their decision.
Note 2: Shorting explained:
Short selling or shorting is an investment tactic whereby –
- An investor decides to gamble on the price of certain stocks or company shares dropping radically in the near future.
- The investor first borrows the relevant stocks/shares from an existing owner, promising to give them back at a future date.
- The investor then sells whatever he has borrowed at the current market price. Let’s say, for example, that’s £1,000,000.
- If the investor has gambled right, the market price soon drops radically. Let’s say the amount he already borrowed and sold is now priced at just £100,000.
- Now the investor buys the much cheaper stocks/shares in order to give back what he originally borrowed. That leaves him with a huge profit. (In this example, £900K.)
Wikipedia — Schematic representation of short selling in two steps.
The hope behind shorting is that the stock price will collapse and/or that the company will go bankrupt — leading to total ruin for the equity holders. It’s more than just hope, however. The very act of selling a huge load of stocks/shares (step 3 above) can, by itself, kick-start or amplify the predicted collapse in market price. It’s a feedback loop that affects (or rigs) the system.