Before becoming a politician, Godfrey Bloom worked in the City of London for forty years & won fixed interest investment prizes. Discontent with over-regulation of this sector, he entered the world of politics in 2004, as a Member of the European Parliament. Bloom represented Yorkshire as an independent MEP for ten years. He is an Associate Member of the Royal College of Defense Studies, holds the Territorial Decoration, Sovereign’s Medal, European Parliamentary Medal & Westminster Armed Forces Parliamentary Medal. He is also an author with seven books to his credit. He is married to one of Europe’s leading equine physiotherapists. He is known as a firm opponent of government regulation and centralization. Bloom is also widely known as a euro-skeptic and was heavily involved in the Brexit “Leave Campaign” as an independent activist.
Whenever I am asked about the rights and wrongs of capitalism, more often than not at universities the wrongs, I have to persuade people that there are almost no capitalist economies in the world today. Back in the 1960s, an economics exam response would expect a candidate to understand the difference between capitalism and mercantilism. The phrase today for mercantilism is often crony capitalism. This is unfortunate because it hints that the two systems are the flip side of the same coin. They are not, they are quite distinctive economic systems. Most industrial democracies are mercantilist.
Trade is controlled very carefully by complicated agreements based on tariffs. Most of world trade is governed by the World Trade Organization, well over 95% in point of fact. There are many mutually beneficial sub agreements which work alongside that umbrella concept. Tariffs have one major raison d’être, which is to protect home industries. The European Union is a customs union, the last of its kind in the world.
Centrally controlled in Brussels, the method of operation is what the Americans call pork barrel politics. The EU customs union is a labyrinth of self-interest. Amongst many others it is designed to protect home industries, French farmers, the European wine industry, Italian leather industry, French, German and Czech automobile manufactures, textile and raw material companies. The list is endless and the threat largely from the Far East.
The conspiracy is to protect politically favored industries in one country against cheaper imports and the tariff is of course paid for by the consumer. Political propaganda persuades consumers that this is somehow in their interest. Somehow this absurdity persists with otherwise sensible people. Emotive words appear such as “dumping”. Chinese steel is the classic current example. A home steel industry will suffer with Far East Steel delivered at rock bottom prices, so a Welsh or Northumbrian steel worker feels aggrieved, but his brother worker in Coventry building Jaguars or Land Rovers or Northumbrians building Nissans become globally competitive.
The Trump steel and aluminium tariffs helped 800,000 American steel workers at the expense of over six million white goods and auto workers, paradoxically encouraging manufacturers to relocate to Mexico. This is global mercantilism, protected industries are the ones with political clout. The European customs union projects its image as a free trade area, as politicians and mainstream media endorse this great lie on a regular basis. They even persuade European electorates that prices will go up if the cartel is abandoned. Goebbels we will remember, a brilliant propagandist, taught us the bigger the lie, the more likely it is to be accepted.
The British trade with this protectionist cartel has an £80 billion deficit. Great Britain buys 18% of French wine; imagine if the 20% tariffs on South American, Australasian & South African wines were abandoned. The UK is the world’s biggest BMW customer, yet Britain is preparing to pay £40 billion for a trade deal. Imagine being a top customer at Fortnum & Mason or Bloomingdales and being charged an entrance fee!
Hong Kong is probably the best post war example of capitalism, but examples are rare. Certainly, no major economy is capitalistic.
Why then is the Brexit debate about trade? Clearly that is absurd. A free trade deal is in everyone’s interest but particularly that of the European Union. The elephant in the room is that the goal of the EU is the fulfilment of a great noble dream, a centrally governed European Federation. The current negotiations are not about trade in reality, but the pursuance of that dream. The political and bureaucratic class cannot speak that truth, because no matter how noble the great dream is, nobody actually wants it.
The EU federal dream is shared by the civil servant. It is utopia for the bureaucrat. He becomes seriously important, far more so than his political master who is here today and gone tomorrow. For the last forty years, it has been impossible to climb the promotional ladder without a deep and sincere commitment to the European project. Interestingly, the senior civil service is now largely recruited from the lower middle classes, petit bourgeoisie, a class not used to power or how to exercise it pro bono publico, but effective in wielding it if the cause is negative. Their junior colleagues are drawn to the health and safety industry. There are no civil servants who voted Leave. All were horrified at the result and have schemed for two years to thwart the electorate. They would probably have succeeded with hard line Brexiteer ministers, but with a prime minister, chancellor, Home Secretary who campaigned for Remain, Brexit was never going to happen. Add the sway of banks and big business, a Remain House of Lords and Commons, and it becomes obvious that it was never on the cards. The problem is the Remain camp thought with massive funding, big business, MSM, the campaign would succeed. The political establishment is in denial.
There will be a fake Brexit, dressed up to look like Brexit but will fool nobody. Remain is a deeply held commitment by the London-based public sector and professional class. Brexiteers are the provincial artisan class, the butcher, baker, mechanic, hairdresser, cabbie, carpenter. People who do a real job, folk with patriotic traditional values laced with common sense. They outnumber bureaucrats, politicians, bankers and the metropolitan chattering classes, but they do not have access to the levers of power. It will bring the prime minister down, but it won’t stop a fake Brexit. The EU project is doomed to failure however, as an empire that cannot control its borders and has devastatingly high youth unemployment must fail. When? Sooner than we might think.
Godfrey Bloom, talking to Claudio Grass