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Buttercase on Brexit: Corbyn's policies offer bright side

Buttercase on Brexit: Corbyn's policies offer bright side

The result was in and suddenly we could not see David Cameron, Nigel Farage or Michael Gove for dust. Now what? 

I was a passionate Remain voter, although I had and still have several issues with many aspects of the way the EU operates.

As someone on the left of politics, I welcome the EU’s commitment to social reforms and internationalism, but I was wary of its bureaucracy and how readily it has fudged key economic principles to accommodate integration ambitions.

Chain reaction

Since the Nixon shock of 1971 the EU project has refused to address the issue of recycling surpluses to maintain fiscal stability. In 1999, monetary union raised the stakes higher and the rapid acceleration of global financial recklessness exacerbated the EU’s vulnerability to seismic shocks, with catastrophic results in 2008.

The Brexit vote has been one of many reactions to the gaps of inequality driven wider by globalisation and neo-liberalism. It has shaken elites and the establishment; it also shows many of the characteristics of a global crisis of democracy. From Turkey to Trump, Jeremy Corbyn to Catalonia, rogue results are ruffling feathers.

Looking on the bright side

However, as an optimist, I see opportunities now in Brexit. Corbyn has an ambitious programme of reform that requires new approaches to taxation, state ownership of key national assets and substantial infrastructure investment that would be unlikely to fit well with EU fiscal constraints.

Brexit allows him to promise and deliver much more of a left-wing agenda, which I believe is needed to avoid a much more bloody revolution later if we continue leaving millions behind.

The short-term problem for the government remains how to reconcile conflicting ideologies in one party as to what Brexit should deliver, and harmonise that with voters who still believe it to be a mistake.

Risks from all directions

The biggest right wing risk is the UK becomes an offshore low regulation, low-tax competitor with the EU driving more people into uncertainty and poverty.

The centrist risk is the exit is fudged into something that angers many and pleases nobody.

While I prefer the left-wing approach, it is still riven with risks too, not least that self-interested corporations simply abandon the UK altogether. That will probably happen anyway, beginning with financial services. 

What next?

The challenge for a Corbyn government would be a new Keynesian strategy that deals with issues of the age, such as unskilled labour and technological advancement, productivity and growth, as well as global capitalism still at its most rampant.

There are exciting ideas out there. Universal basic income and universal service provision look worthy of debate.

Sadly, where once we stood together with the EU against our enemies, we now stand alone against our friends. That will be hard and will cost many politicians dear. As advisers, we can only wait for the dust to settle. 

Steve Buttercase is principal of Verve Investment Planning

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