UKIP winning in Stoke Central will be game, set and match for Brexit

Speaking in the Stoke Central constituency this morning, Gerard Batten MEP, and UKIP’s Spokesman on Brexit has urged the voters of Stoke to elect Paul Nuttall as their MP on 23rd Feb.

He said: “Labour stopped representing the working class a long time ago. Stoke Central needs Paul as their MP so that he can speak up for their interests and for the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent.

“Brexit is in danger of being betrayed, and who better to demand a speedy exit from the EU in the House of Commons than than UKIP’s Leader.

“The 70% of Stoke’s voters who voted to leave the EU will endanger that decision if they elect another Labour MP.”

UKIP Leader and Stoke Central candidate Paul Nuttall said: “UKIP winning in Stoke Central will be game, set and match for Brexit.

“Every voter in the constituency has the opportunity to send a powerful signal to Remain MPs sitting in Leave constituencies that they’d better not attempt to frustrate the will of the people.”

The left’s problem is pessimism

Across the West, the left is losing. Badly. But that’s not, as leftists seem to think, because the world has suddenly become reactionary. It’s because the left has lost its own belief in progress.

Last week, Nick Clegg claimed UKIP exists as ‘a voice for people who don’t like the modern world’. He couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s not right that is stuck in the past today. It’s the left.

The Lib Dems cling onto the mid-twentieth-century dirigisme of the EU. Labour can’t see beyond 70s-era socialism. As for the Greens, they hark back to a mythical pre-industrial paradise.

Leftists are often described as progressives or liberals. But they have ceased to be either. They won’t admit that the world is getting better, let alone that freedom is the root of progress.

Fundamentally, the left can’t accept the idea of a self-organising society. That’s why they are always trying to fix things by grand design – and why they place so much faith in ‘expert’ elites.

Yet elitism is what voters are rebelling against. Most people recognise that they can run their lives better than a remote bureaucrat can. They are turning to the right to take back control.

Progressive politics should be about defeating oligarchy. It should aim to spread power outwards and downwards. My new book – Rebel ­– sets out a manifesto for freeing liberal democracy from the crony cartels.

Meanwhile, the backward-looking left is on the side of the oligarchs. No wonder they’re losing.

Let’s just get on with Brexit

It’s now 224 days since a majority voted Leave on June 23rd. It’s 4,237 days since I first called for Britain to leave the EU in Parliament – in my maiden speech. We’ve talked about Brexit enough. Now it’s time to implement it.

Today Parliament will vote for the first time on beginning the Brexit process. It’s a day that I’ve been waiting for my entire political career.

I know most of my constituents feel the same. Indeed, I’m acutely aware that many are aggrieved that the process hasn’t started already.

With a few notable exceptions, yesterday’s speeches on the Article 50 Bill were striking for their lack of content. There are no new arguments to be made that weren’t put before the people last year.

Instead, the debate centred around process, as the last few MPs set on blocking Brexit came up with ever more sophistic excuses for ignoring the decision of the electorate.

But the grandstanding is just for show. Continuity Remainers don’t seem to be prepared to force the issue – and settle it in a general election. Their delaying tactics serve no purpose whatsoever.

So let’s just get on with it. Brexit is about restoring Parliament’s legislative sovereignty, after all. MPs should be jumping at the chance.


Quantitative easing is a corporatist con

Back in August, the Bank of England claimed more quantitative easing was necessary for the sake of the economy. Detractors said that was just an excuse to offer more subsidy to a corporate cartel. Who do you think was right?

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that corporate borrowing under the Bank’s latest QE is far higher than expected. The Bank has bought £5 billion in corporate bonds in just three months.

So a few big corporations have taken advantage of ultra-cheap borrowing. What about the rest of us?

The Bank’s Governor, Mark Carney, has taken credit for preventing the post-referendum slump that has never even looked like materialising. That’s fantasy, to put it mildly.

There was no sign of a slowdown when he announced the measure, as I wrote at the time. It was based on nothing but Project Fear propaganda.

But QE and ultra-low interest rates do have long-term effects – and they’re extremely damaging. Asset bubbles. Zombie banks. Too much credit. Too few savings.

A systematic transfer of wealth from the asset-poor to the asset-rich.

To manipulate the price of capital is to misallocate it. Central bankers may be hubristic enough to believe that they are managing the economy, but, in reality, they are merely stoking the next financial crisis.

When public bureaucrats set the price of capital – offering handouts to Big Business in the process – free-market capitalism has been seriously corroded.

Beating the corporate oligarchy requires breaking the monetary monopoly.

This Parliament needs to back Brexit

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling has cleared the way for Brexit. MPs have already backed triggering Article 50 by March. If they drag their heels now, we can always elect a new Parliament.

The real risk in yesterday’s ruling wasn’t the government losing the case. It was that the court might give the devolved administrations a veto over Brexit, or specify what kind of legislation the government would need to put before the House.

But that didn’t happen. The judgment makes it very clear that the next steps are for Parliament, and Parliament alone.

That’s good news. It means the government can put forward a simple one-line bill. The Brexit Secretary, David Davis, has signalled that he will advance legislation within days.

Watching MPs question David Davis in the House today, it was striking how continuity Remain has dissipated. Europhile MPs have been reduced to points about process. The argument has been won.

But if MPs, or peers, do still want to be obstructionist, we can always settle the question at the ballot box. A huge majority of Parliamentary constituencies voted Leave. The PM wouldn’t have much trouble securing a mandate for Brexit – or, indeed, radical reform of the House of Lords, should that prove necessary.

Either way, Britain will be leaving the European Union. So let’s just get on with it.

Free trade doesn’t require common rules

One of the big misnomers in Brexit coverage is that free trade requires uniform rules. It doesn’t. The trade deals we now make should be based on mutual standards recognition, not regulatory union – as industry is starting to agree.

Reading the Brexit recommendations published this week by finance lobby group The City UK yesterday, I was struck that they omitted any demand for continued passporting arrangements for banks. Instead, they call for “the mutual recognition of regulatory regimes”.

That’s an approach we should adopt more widely.

Trade isn’t free if it depends on reams of new regulation that makes every transaction subject to official permission.

Successful free trade deals are instead based on mutual standards recognition: each party allows the sale of goods and services produces produced according to the other’s standards.

Many of the economies we want to trade with – from the US, to the EU, to Japan – are highly developed. Their regulatory regimes are similar to ours. So we can trust each other’s rules when we buy each other’s goods. We don’t need to have the same rules to be able to trade.

Even the EU is capable of trading based on regulatory equivalence – as its new MiFID II rules testify. So that’s how our future trade with the EU should work too. On that basis, we can have single market access without single market membership – as Leavers said all along.

But there’s a broader point here, which is that trade isn’t orchestrated by fiat. The mandarins who make a living from overcomplicated, permissions-based commerce want us to believe that they are an essential part of international trade. But they’re not.

To beat oligarchy, we need to get these parasites out of the way.

Davos elites still don’t get that they’re the problem

“Anti-establishment sentiment” may reflect “a threat to the democratic process itself”, according to the World Economic Forum. Does it ever occur to this Davos elite that they might be the problem?

This year’s Global Risks Report, which the World Economic Forum published yesterday, ostensibly identifies pitfalls for the global economy. But much of it just seems to highlight threats to the rule of people like them.

The report complains that “when moderates point to public debt and overstretched monetary policy as constraining room for manoeuvre, they can be portrayed as patronising.” Would these be the moderates who presided over the financial crisis – and bailed out banks with taxpayers’ money?

It laments that “historically, relatively small numbers of media outlets provided a widely trusted common foundation for national debates”, but now “the media landscape is characterised by fragmentation, antagonism and mistrust”. Apparently, we should miss the days of media cartels.

It proposes that governments tackle the “cultural challenges associated with immigration” just by “getting better at communicating change” – as if the only problem is that establishment politicians haven’t propagandised enough.

Solutions to the world’s political and economic problems aren’t going to come from the crony clique that created them – and has most to gain from perpetuating the status quo.

But equally the answer is not just to overthrow this governing elite, and replace it with another. We need a system that prevents oligarchy from emerging in the first place. What would it look like? That’s what my new book aims to set out.

Capitalists should worry about corporate pay too

It’s easy to mock Jeremy Corbyn. He rather sabotaged his own relaunch when he called for a maximum wage. But there is a problem with excessive executive pay – and capitalists can’t just laugh it off.

Make no mistake: a maximum wage is a daft proposal. They tried it in Russia last century, and still do in places like Cuba and Venezuela today. It’s fair to say it has been disastrous each time.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with corporate pay. A survey of FTSE 350 companies published by the Lancaster University School of Management last month found that, between 2003 and 2014, average CEO pay rose by 82%, but the average return on capital was less than 1% per year.

In other words, the people who run companies are enriching themselves at the expense of people who own them.

Jeremy Corbyn offers retro socialism. Capitalists need to offer more than kleptocratic corporatism.

Few seem to understand that we now do capitalism without capitalists. We have diluted corporate ownership – so that shares are now held through third party organisations like funds and trusts. That makes it easy for managers to help themselves to other people’s capital.

We’re experiencing the resurgence of an old problem. In the eighteenth century, the East India Company became a byword for parasitism by expropriating not just Indians, but its own shareholders.

Poor corporate governance today is likewise sapping economic dynamism. The number of well run businesses and successful start-ups is declining – especially on this side of the Atlantic. Productivity is stagnant. That’s because capitalism has been corrupted.

So how do we fix it?

I’m working on a couple of ideas in my new book. One is to insist that directors don’t draw a salary at all, but own equity instead. Another is to give shareholders more power to control the management.

One way or another, free marketeers need to come up with a cure for corporatism. Otherwise, in a few years’ time, Jeremy Corbyn’s Castro impersonation won’t sound so stupid.

Theresa May won’t solve anything with more patrician Toryism

Theresa May is inching her way toward the idea that there is something wrong with executive pay, corporate governance, and lack of opportunity. But what is her answer? For all the fanfare, it appears to be just more patrician Toryism.

Writing in the Telegraph yesterday, the PM criticised “burning injustices”, called for “building the shared society” – and concluded that “it is the job of government … to correct the injustice and unfairness that divides us wherever it is found”.

Rather than looking for opportunities for government to intervene in people’s lives, surely she should be looking to create an economic and social system that doesn’t require ministers to intervene.

If she wants to reform corporate governance, why doesn’t she stop the people who manage companies from parasiting off the people who own them?

If she is serious about economic reform, why isn’t she breaking the producer cartels that dominate everything from energy to credit?

If she believes in equal opportunity, when is she going to do something about a monetary system that transfers wealth to those who already have assets, while preventing young people from buying a house?

There is a hugely important debate to be had about oligarchy. But we’re not getting it from the leaders of the big parties. For Jeremy Corbyn, the answer is 1960s Cuban-style socialism. For Theresa May, it seems to be pre-Thatcherite conservatism. Both have been tried before. Neither has worked.

The real answer is uber-liberalism – in the genuine sense of the word. We need to frustrate a system that allows an oligarchy to rule. My forthcoming book, Rebel, shows how.