Of course there’s no deal. There was never meant to be a deal.
The talk, the manoeuvring, the posturing, the negotiations have been an elaborate pantomime, a pretence at getting a deal because no deal was what Johnson and his sponsors actually wanted. No deal was a hard sell to the British public so the charade of the oven-ready, easy-peasy, they-need-us-more-than-we-need-them charade was necessary to keep the voters onside. Boris Johnson and his chaps knew all along that a no deal exit would harm the country, but, again, that’s what they wanted.
So, no deal and a dented British economy was the hoped-for outcome. How do we know? Because it’s no big secret.
In September 2019, Rachel Johnson, the prime minister’s sister, first spilled the beans, announcing publicly that Johnson was in thrall to a particular bunch of hedge funds that had bet against the UK economy, who stand to make untold millions from a no-deal Brexit plunge.
About the same time, Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, told us the same story.
We don’t have to take the words of Ms Johnson or Mr Hammond for it. There’s plenty of information sloshing around in the public domain to support the claims.
Those who stand to make a killing from Brexit/no deal are financial contributors to the Conservative party. Yes, Big Money is bunging money at the elected government to trash the country, and with it, the lives of voters, so that Big Money can make even more money.
One such donor is hedge fund manager Crispin Odey (formerly married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Harrow and Christ Church educated, worth £825 million, and recently charged with indecent assault) claims he has already made £220 million from Brexit. See the link in the previous paragraph.
Odey has reportedly donated at least £1.7 million to the Conservative party.
Contributions to the Tories from the financial sector amount to some £50 million. Of this, £18 million comes from just five very wealthy hedge-fund backers.
(What does it mean to bet against the UK economy? Here’s an explainer.)
With this revelation, the whole Brexit project should have been stopped and put under investigation. Instead, the popular press largely ignored the story — unsurprising since the interests of the news media’s billionaire owners are aligned with all the other billionaires who are reaping huge profits from the situation.
It’s not just the Conservative backers that stand to make money. Some of the architects of no deal — influential members of the current government — will make millions through their own market bets. Jacob-Rees Mogg is already a beneficiary to an undisclosed Brexit windfall. This is quite possibly the actual Platonic Form of insider trading.
Fun fact: Rees-Mogg’s own fund is heavily invested in Russia, which interfered in the referendum on the side of the leave campaign.
Of course, making boatloads of money off a no deal was not the only cause of Brexit, nor the only benefit for Big Money. Exit from the union means freedom to trash any kind of regulation that might bother the billionaires in their pursuit of yet more lucre. This means degrading safety regulations (of which Grenfell is but a foretaste), environmental protections (just as we hit the climate change tipping points), labour laws, human rights, food hygiene standards (hello to dirty American food), and so on, and so on.
Central to Big Money’s regulatory irritation was the likely adoption by the EU of rules making it harder to hide dosh from the taxman, an inconvenience now neatly sidestepped.
We don’t know exactly what will happen in January when the break becomes complete. The Bank of England has already estimated that real household incomes have dropped by about £1,000 since the referendum, and the Centre for Economic Performance reckons those real-term incomes are likely to drop a further £2,500 to £5,500 per annum in the next 15 years. I wonder how many voters can afford to lose that kind of income. On top of this we can expect increased insecurity, more reliance on food banks and charity, the de facto end of the NHS, which will likely be replaced by an American style, pay-up-or-die private system.
Drilling down further, we might reflect that the money sloshing around the world’s money markets was created not by the people who ‘own’ it but by the work of ordinary people, whose labour was turned into profit and transferred to the stratospheric realms of the ‘exotic financial instrument’. The ordinary people will be bearing the brunt of Brexit in financial terms and at a cost to their wellbeing and health, in effect being robbed twice by the same people.
And all because a small number of already-rich saw a chance to bag more dosh for an extra yacht or two.
Text: Chris Page
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