Why the West must stop bashing China

Problems in the US are for American people to resolve. Problems within Britain are for British people to sort out. The same applies with regard to China’s national sovereignty. Chinese Communist Party repression against Chinese people, the same as the repression meted out by authoritarian regimes anywhere, will not be resolved by other governments or international bodies stepping in with economic or other weaponry.

The basic solidarity principle to follow is that to be genuine, freedoms have to be secured by ordinary Chinese people. History reveals that durable liberty and democratic politics are not things that can be brought about by government bodies nor by outside institutions, but only by the people themselves.

From this perspective, there are five reasons that Western China-bashing is regressive, counterproductive and dangerous.

Read the full article here.

 

The destruction of the old world order

It is often said that everything changes in a major crisis. But this is not quite right. The changes that happen seldom derive from the crisis itself, but from the acceleration of existing trends. So far, Covid-19 has similarly sped up and crystallised earlier tendencies. As a result, it is helping make the true state of affairs clearer. As the Economist Intelligence Unit concluded, the ‘coronavirus pandemic will not usher in an entirely new global order, but it will change things in … important ways … [and] bring to the surface developments that had previously gone largely unnoticed’.

In particular, three pre-pandemic features of international relations are being amplified and brought to the surface: the changing economic balance in the world; the unraveling of the post-1945 world order; and tensions between the advanced industrial nations.

Read the full article here.

Brexit: it’s time to seize the day

There was rather too much ‘shock-and-horror’ reaction to a recent interview with Sajid Javid, the UK chancellor, who merely said that Britain could diverge from European Union rules after Brexit. ‘There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule-taker, we will not be in the Single Market and we will not be in the Customs Union – and we will do this by the end of the year.’ Businesses, he suggested, should get on with adapting to these unfamiliar circumstances.

The ‘surprise’ shown by business organisations seemed a tad overdone. What did they, or anyone else following developments since the 2016 referendum, expect? That Britain would forever remain a rule-taker from the European Commission? The truculent reaction to what Javid said is not credible from those with even a rudimentary grasp of the meaning of sovereignty: a nation deciding its own laws and regulations.

Countries do not often adopt fully aligned, identical rules to others in order to trade with them. For instance, the Chinese and the Americans today export a lot to customers in the EU without aligning to Single Market rules. Indeed, the recognition of regulatory ‘equivalence’ – rather than exact congruence – has become a common practice in postwar economic relations. Countries accept the flow of products and services that accord with regulations established by others as long as regulatory goals are shared. This is what is meant by ‘outcome-based equivalence’.

Why should any future UK-EU deal be different in this respect to the hundreds of other trade agreements between sovereign nations? A reason for doubt could be the European Commission’s desire to ‘have its cake and eat it’. It appears that some EU politicians want to treat Britain as a ‘third country’ but also want to retain control over Britain’s rules and regulations, as if it were still a member state. Javid was simply reminding the world that the General Election mandate prevents the British government from going along with such a half-in, half-out position.

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Labour won’t transform our economy

‘Ambitious’ and ‘radical’ were two of the friendlier assessments of the Labour Party’s manifesto plans.

Ambitious? Labour is certainly ambitious electorally. Labour’s manifesto is published with the desperate hope that its green spending plans, an end to student tuition fees, providing student maintenance grants and the offer of free broadband for all can be so appealing to voters that it will camouflage the party’s rejection of the Brexit vote – the very issue that precipitated this election.

But ambitious in transforming society for the better? Definitely not. This is because it is not ‘radical’, either – not in the sense of getting to the roots of society’s or the economy’s troubles. Bashing billionaires might make the Labour team feel they are on the side of ‘the many’, but the plans are no substitute for a necessary programme of economic renewal that could genuinely aid the masses.

Read full article here.

This £1 trillion row leaves voters shortchanged

The squabble over the cost of the Labour Party’s policies, started by the Tories at the weekend, tells us next to nothing about the potential impact of either party’s economic programme. But it does reveal the decrepit state of the parties that were once the two big beasts of British politics.

Spending figures – large or small – do not tell us if either party is planning an economic transformation of the country. In themselves, the numbers even say very little about how profligate or prudent either party is being. When it comes to future economic performance, the impact of public spending has much more to do with what the money is being spent on, and the circumstances in which it is being spent, rather than simply how much.

The row over these figures suggests that both the Tories and Labour have yet to appreciate what this General Election is really about. It also alerts us to how little meaningful distance there is between the two parties’ economic proposals. The huffing and puffing about numbers provides camouflage rather than clarity. … Read the article here