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Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Madness of (post-referendum) Neo-Liberalism: A story and a sum

We pay £350m a week into the EU, they said. Let's fund the NHS, they said. Let's take back control, they said.

But it wasn't true. It wasn't true that we paid £350m a week into the EU. And then they said, but we never said we'd save £350m and spend it on the NHS, but that wasn't true either. Because they had said that.

And so now lots of people are angry because actually, not only are they not going to spend £350m a week on the NHS but they are actually going to be worse off.* Oh cripes, said Boris. Where could we get £350m a week from?

I know, said a historian in the north of England.  £350m a week is £18.2bn a year.  That's only 15.166 times the amount that 'Sir' Philip Green paid himself in one year in 2005. Maybe if we closed the tax loopholes and taxed the top few hundred richest people in the land a new top rate of say 60-70% over their first, say, £10m a year, they'd still be super rich and we'd be able to fund our welfare state, especially if we did something about corporate tax avoidance too.  Then maybe people would be less angry because their lives would be better, and they would stop taking it out on immigrants who aren't to blame anyway. And they'd calm down while we found a way of talking a way out of Brexit and thus averting an absolute disaster.

But no one listened to the historian because they were all happier being angry and blaming poor people, foreigners and immigrants. And David Cameron, but that was okay because in the short term it had mostly been his fault after all.

The Brexit Facebook pages said everything was fine because the FTSE 100 had recovered, but the Brexit Facebook pages were run by silly people who didn't realise that the FTSE 100 companies are largely international and so insured against Brexit to some degree, not least because they could take their company somewhere else, and they hadn't noticed that the FTSE 250, which included most of the mostly British companies had tanked. Oh dear.