Is Brexit a Neo-Liberal Coup Against 45 Years of Life-Protective Law and Regulation?

By John McMurtry

The European Union’s rule of life-protective law is never really seen on media’s coverages and public discussions. In this article, Dr. McMurtry shares an in-depth analysis on Brexit, contentious elements revolving it, and how all these point to a coup against EU’s life-protective law and regulation.


The self-maximising growth of private-money power over all life and life support systems – life capital in a word – to exploit for non-producer profit is not yet recognised as a master degenerative trend built into the ruling meta programme of which Brexit and Trump are the latest Anglo-American expressions. Central to this unseen meta trend is the compulsive dismantling of life-protective law and rights whose masking justification has shifted from “globalisation to nationalism. The Left is befuddled. It sees the anti-Labour implications in both the financialised EU and the de-regulating Brexit with no coherent programme to overcome both. The Right blindly follows the inner logic of the ruling economic model while Liberals offer only partial and incompetent market fixes for collective life capital sustainability. All fail to see Brexit’s giant step towards life capital degeneration and eco-genocide at the margins as environmental and civil commons are stripped of their public funding by privatisation and de-regulation. The cumulative carcinogenic conversion of organic, social and ecological life organisation into ever faster private money-profit sequences multiplying to the unproductive few is the predictable system result.

There has been much written on “Brexit”, but almost nothing on the tax, social- policy and environmental revolution backwards that it entails.

Little or no common life substance, historical bearings, or defined policy grounds analysis of what is happening. Even 30 months after Brexit suddenly dominated the news cycle as a marketing site for mass discontent and diversion from Britain’s real problems, there is no connection of the dots.

There are many dots to join, and all of them are compounded by the unseen programme of Brexit – ever rising inequality, bankrupting tax cuts to the corporate rich, cumulative dispossession of the poor by Tory “austerity”, runaway disease-causing industrial-chemical farming and frankenfoods growing into epidemics of obesity and other ills, London financial enrichment as the public sector shrinks while banks are recapitalised by public money, and – most unseen of all – mounting pollutions by multiplying carbon and waste miles built into every unneeded commodity transportation across oceans that the Paris Agreement does not touch.


Why Brexit is an Historic Fraud

No-one seems to know on the public stage that the Brexit referendum “victory” is legally non-binding from the start and has never been supported by the vast majority of British voters, with ever less support since the 37% peak of support in June 2016 referendum.

So it follows that Brexit’s new leader since this poll, to which she was once opposed, PM Theresa May, tells a big lie when she continually says that Brexit “is the will of the British people”. Her nose, and that of the Tory rich behind Brexit, grows longer when she keeps insisting on this falsehood after a British majority voted against her in the June 8 2017 election which she proclaimed the “defining election about Brexit”. A snap election PM May called for despite warnings of uncertainty from Tory election strategist Lynton Crosby.

The multiple fraud is, however, important to keep alive. If the majority of the British people have never in fact supported Brexit nor the Great Repeal Bill PM May still takes forward to EU negotiation without any defined policy whatever, and she has a lost election that was to boot about Brexit, then the whole house of cards on top of which she is visible queen, falls into the bin of history where it now should go.

But who connects across the sudden and secretively funded and orchestrated 30-month movement of Brexit through all the lies it has spun – including the $450 million a day to be saved for the iconic but crumbling National Health Service (one fraudulent claim that has been noted in the corporate media). Who questions the legitimacy of the whole affair at all levels – including the leading known liar bolding it out front to be rewarded as Foreign Minister even as his fellow cabinet-Brexit member and the independent press show he is unfit to hold high public office.

Who brings up the connected facts that the big losers of Brexit are the 90% of farmers requiring its agricultural subsidy to survive, the young professional classes losing their precious passports to EU jobs and travel, the competitive green exporters who meet the strict EU market standards for renewable and non-toxic products which Big-Ag-Food specialise in, and the many millions very much in favour of the independent EU Court of Justice and of Human Rights with 60 years of legal standards and precedents on workers’ and citizens’ rights – not to mention the further millions who support EU Organic Agriculture and Endangered Species Directives leading the world against profitably ecocidal practices.

Who connects the widespread feeling that “things have gone wrong” which the Brexit referendum capitalised on by scape-goating the EU to the real causal factors of the long Great Recession brought on by Wall Street and the cruel Tory health, education, public service and social cutbacks to pay for it? Cause-effect thinking has been suspended all around by the Brexit diversion.

Who is behind it all? Boris Johnson’s and Nigel Farage’s London financial pals are front-line candidates but are not named, and the billionaire press tub-thumping for them and Brexit has sustained the great diversion from the UK’s real problems. PM May and Foreign Minister Johnson can even abet mass murder with no press follow-up as they approve billions of dollars of licensed armament sales to Saudi Arabia for its biblical eco-genocide of the poverty-stricken Yemini people.

Yet the unspeakable point about Brexit across domains is to make life-destructive London profit sovereign again against all international laws and regulation.


Cui Bono? The Unseen Beneficiaries of the Brexit Coup

In the official background, Britain’s Electoral Commission has had to investigate Brexit’s voluminous and shady private financing with little luck given a campaign-long timelimit on disclosure and other blocks. Tranparency International has run into them too. There seems to be nothing on Brexit’s backroom origins before the double-talk lobby group, “Britain Great in Europe”, began its slickly promoted media-spectacle campaign with even its master slogan a brazen falsehood.

The mass media conversation is especially empty on the very big private money stakes that are at work in Brexit. After all the media’s major advertising spaces are bought by these very wealthy interests at very high returns. No-one in this company wants people to read that Brexit entails the legal erasure of EU market rules protecting human rights, the environment and London financial inspections.

Private London financial interests are especially unexposed. Vast “investment banking, cross-border sales of securities, Euro liquidity to clearing houses, non-performing loan recognition, coverage and write-offs” all escape the planned independent EU inspection and supervision on these very defined issues at exactly the same time as Brexit started.

The definition of the EU Central Bank’s mandate to investigate and supervise “the business model, risk management, and capital, liquidity and funding” of private-profit bank and financial institutions via a rigorous “Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process” led by elite teams of professional accountants must strike terror and rage in the high echelons of the City. All such independent intervention, regulation and accountability is anathema to the unregulated daily trillions in hard currency substitutes that are bet and switched daily in the US-UK global financial matrix which can fabulously enrich private agents and hollow world economies overnight.


The Dots are Not Joined

Few observe that Brexit is based on a nonbinding referendum unsupported by two-thirds of voters, and finished with an eerily timed terrorist attack days before the June 8 2017 election to decide the Brexit go-ahead. Such terror attacks invariably spike polls upwards for governments, and it is revealing of the dark forces at work that PM May spookily blamed a “too tolerant” Opposition and “public sector” as encouraging the terrorists.

Even then, even with virtually all UKIP votes, the Tory PM lost the majority counted to be overwhelming to cement Brexit in. To be exact on the historical figures here, the original 17, 410,742 voters supporting Leave in a rush referendum whose wording itself changed in the spectacle process hardly exceeded a third of the electorate (46,500, 001) as enumerated by the UK Electoral Commission. Moreover, no mainstream media ever featured the 12, 948,018 voters left out, nor the fact that those not voting later voted 2:1 against Brexit once the results were known  .1

In the June 8 2017 election, the Tories and PM May lost any majority whatever. even in the snap election against the promised 2020 date to exploit a 24% poll lead, even with illegal financing and non-stop misrepresentations of the facts headlined in the press-baron media, and even with a sudden terrorist attack right before the election reliably known to boost leader polls.

All things considered, it is difficult to avoid concluding that “Brexit” is a major political operation to end the established order of government from within ruling circles – a coup d’etat – which has proceeded by stunning positional switches, policy-empty promises, leadership flip-flops and lies, all outside of Parliamentary control, never supported by even 40% at any stage, and with no binding legitimacy any step of the way.

One is reminded here that such coups within the established political order have been recurrent in recent years against social democratic systems – as the EU is – in Brazil (with times more population and real wealth than the UK), as well as Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, and Haiti.


The Nationalist Mask of Brexit

Yet who connects this built-in agenda to the transnational bank and corporate goliaths who most benefit from holus-bolus privatising, de-taxing and de-regulating the UK economy?

In this way, the long-established form of the UK’s EU governance in economic matters is overthrown for secretive and carte-blanche rewrite. Yet who connects this built-in agenda to the transnational bank and corporate goliaths who most benefit from holus-bolus privatising, de-taxing and de-regulating the UK economy?

The best way to divert any public from the hard facts of a coup by the unproductive rich is to attack a familiar enemy or scapegoat, and beat a national drum to unify the many reliably ignorant dupes of the stratagem.

I have formally explained this fallacy in a logic journal as the ad adversarium fallacy. But anyone can see it once it is exposed. In the Brexit gambit, the popular enemy has been a combination of EU nabobs grinding down poor countries to pay private banks, arrogant bureaucracy and oppressive regulations beyond tolerance, and – after years of catastrophe – globalising rules hollowing out the true nation and its glory across time. The Trump-Brexit connections are clear.

They make for an explosive cocktail. It. does not matter if its beneficiaries have stood for the very sins for which is the enemy evil is scapegoated – as with Putin Russia for “interfering in the US election” or “pursuing policies of aggression” in which the US leads the world by many-country miles over a century.

The key is to divert people’s attention from what the blamer does in spades to the unpopular Other to beat up instead.

Brexit has been run on this ploy from day one with press-baron media exhuberance. Trump even beat the media in the US to get elected by the same war-drum group-think, as does his opposition now with Putin Russia as the devil.

The Trump-Brexit connections are clear.

For both, the “nationalist” mask is adopted to ground the roll of militant ignorance over all facts and – in Hannah Arendt’s lucid phrase – “negative solidarirty” – to gain supreme rule for the historical moment.

What is diverted from by this master track-switch of thought is transiently game-winning for the blaming party, but ruinous in fact to the common life interest of the nation. In the case of Brexit, the system payoff is the dominion of non-productive financial rule, de-regulation, de-taxation and privatisation of the nation’s natural and social wealth, and war state methods to sustain and advance the life-blind system of unaccountable money-party rule. .

Systemically understood, the UK and US “nationalist” movements abolish life-serving law and regulations to engineer economic circuits to serve private money powers as the nations’ “freedom”. There are four degenerate trends:

  1. sweeping income-tax reductions to private corporations and the rich to the lowest level in history of 10-15% (the “incentive” card);
  2. ever more privatisation and corporate public partnership schemes that cost the public 30 to 50% more in hidden profit-levies, poorer services and upkeep investments (the “eliminate red-tape” card);
  3. rising armed-force spending for pervasive policing at home and war-criminal threats and occupations abroad to enforce the growing life-system depredation (the “get tough” card);
  4. systemically ecocidal deregulation as the need for more organic, social and ecological life standards become more urgent (the “freedom” card).


The False Justifications of Brexit

There is certainly a widespread feeling in the UK that the movement of foreign-speaking cultures into everyday poorer Britain for social benefits and low-wage competition with UK workers has inflamed anti-EU passions.

A similar widespread feeling has inflamed anti-foreign passions in Britain in the past – with the xenophobic Enoch Powell who much impressed the City-based leader of Brexit, Nigel Farage. Yet such ability to raise primal resentments against the foreign cannot justify a political counter-revolution against an evolved system leading the world in environmental, labour, and human rights.

Much too has been made of “Brussels” as an oppressive foreign rule choking Britain in “bureaucracy and red tape”. But this is the standard complaint against any public regulations perceived to lower private profits by increasing costs.

Research can find no sustainable example of such bureaucratic oppression. For example, the new EU regulation against massive throwing away of fish catches in falling-stock seas is despised by Brexit-UK Minster of the Environment, Michael Gove. But his family business has long profited from this no-cost waste and ignored the ecological necessity that the EU Common Fisheries policy prescribes.

Fury has been poured on “bureaucratic” regulation against destroying (animal and bird habitat) of hedges and trees, and for imposing genetically engineered seeds and methods on the countryside that are genetically dominant and contaminate other crops and natural ecocycles – two of the EU most condemned regulations in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and Organic Agriculture Regulations.

More sweepingly and eco-blindly, the current Tory Minister of Agriculture, George Eustace, publicly repudiates the pre-cautionary principle itself as the wrong way to go”. He wants to erase this central EU and scientific principle for corporate “risk assessment” and other profit-friendly evasions of environmental responsibility.

As always with Brexit leaders, there is no coherently defined policy to replace the life-protective rule of law of over 45 years in the European Community and Union. All specific meaning disappears into vague PR sound-bites and slogans like “opportunity for innovation”, “lower regulatory burden”, and “less red tape”.

So too the financial suits behind Brexit. They want no regulations or costs of their specialty of trillions-a-day currency speculations (enabled and protected by public infrastructures), not even a small fraction of one percent proposed by the tiny Tobin tax over 40 years with near-unanimous public support. They are used to no public regulation or costs for their money tree at others’ expense.

The big banks and speculators have avoided, even after the 2008 collapse from historically unprecedented private big-finance fraud and predatory greed, any regulation requiring them to actually have the money they spend on derivative and other speculations to pay for their titanic gambles to enrich them alone with their failures paid for by public bailouts.

If the “democratic accountability” of private banks and big finance promised by the EU and laboured on since 2008 by European experts (including British citizens) on behalf of the peoples of 26 nations destabilised by the greatest financial fraud in world history is not stopped by Brexit, the City’s financial funnels into the productive economy’s lifeblood will continue as usual.

The overdue EU Capital Requirements Regulation and Directives on reporting and supervising “risk management and capital, liquidity and funding” of each of the City’s big banks is intolerable to them. This upcoming supervision and regulation of London-cum-Wall Street by qualified international public servants not subjugated to ancient City inducements and threats was under attack as soon as it was announced in 2015 with Brexit as the vehicle of overwhelming political pressures. The new $500 million Goldman-Sachs building in central London provides US-global back-up and partnership in the “too big to regulate” scheme of an era of big-bank rule – or “financial fascism”, in the words of one EU minister.

Brexit and the Great Repeal Act are the master dodge by “the masters of the universe” inside London against any incorrigibly independent and globally expert regulation in situ and backed by 70 years of international institutional experience.


Diversion to the Populist Enemy Enables Reverse of Life-Protective Civilisation

No-one evidently connects across the dominant financial forces most of all gaining by Brexit clearance of over half a century of democratic civilisation and binding life-protective norms at all levels.

Indeed there seems no media or political connection made of Brexit to the Big Banks and Big Agri-Chemical-Food. They have overwhelming interests in stopping the evolved rule of EU law from regulating out their US-style methods and predatory profits.

The de-regulated system has cumulatively degenerated from production and reproduction of life means with cumulative gain – life capital – to ever-growing consumption and waste of organic, social and ecological capital as far more profitable for private investment. Even the universal life support systems of breathable air, clean water, living oceans, rivers and aquifers are being degraded and despoiled at once.

The course of the macro-economic disease has been diagnosed in depth from 1995 on with medical and legal confirmation, but the carcinogenic macro trends are avoided and diverted from. There is no life substantive connections across the privatising, de-taxing, de-regulating and eco-blind meta programme at work in official society and culture.

Not even the same demagogic method in Trump and Brexit movements for massive de-regulation of an already insufficiently regulated and collapsing global life support base is deconstructed. Instead the ancient method of powering a movement against a vague enemy diverts everywhere – especially the desperate ignorance of dispossessed masses and opportunistic well-off telling self-serving lies. If the divert-to-the-enemy movement is given enough publicity without public analysis of its derangement, it can undo a lot of life-coherent civilisation to benefit top dogs and their packs in unseen ways.

In the US, for example, the accepted enemy of Russia is the only diversion which has worked against nationalist Trump’s own spectacular success with this same population-firing psychological operation. Brexit is a kind of Trump of the UK.

I long ago analysed this nearly omnipresent fallacy in formal logical terms as the argumentum ad adversarium. This means diverting from a substantive life-and-death issue at stake to the evils or foibles of a well-known enemy of the audience who is being gulled.

If many have been dispossessed and are looking for a scapegoat, the ad adversarium diversion works like black magic. It is the master track-switch of history and wars hot and cold.

If the divert-to-the-enemy movement is given enough publicity without public analysis of its derangement, it can undo a lot of life-coherent civilisation to benefit top dogs and their packs in unseen ways.

The designated enemy must have some bad karma for this “psy-op” to prevail over time. For example, the European Central Bank’s post-2008 financial torture of Greece and other poorer EU nations has been so life-blindly vicious on behalf of big private banks that the bemused Left stumbles in its next steps. Even the former Economic Minister of Italy, Giulio Tremonti, has publicly called it “financial fascism”.

At the level of the realpolitik of the only beneficiaries of Brexit, European Union life-protective law and regulations themselves are attacked as the problem. The private money-sequencing mind in control cannot compute that European Community regulations and norms have managed over 70 years and better than any other continent to develop life-coherent regimes of production and products not poisoning and destroying people’s health and environments.

This has been a long secret outside the EU. In America, only a few have the research backgrounds to know it. This is why Brexit run in a US-style attack campaign has almost succeeded in the leading the greatest step backwards in the evolution of homo regulans, the differentiating intelligence of the species.


What is Not Seen: The European Union’s Rule of Life-Protective Law

Unrelated to Brexit in the press are facts such as UK air pollution kills 50-60,000 people annually with the highest pollution content of all 28 EU states in violation of the EU standards with the EU now issuing a “final warning” before stiff fines against mass killing – revealingly at the same time as Tory PM May is forcing Brexit as the “wide-open eyes” and “will of the British people”.

It is “oppressive EU regulatory burdens” which are alone set to solve the problem. The EU Ambient Air Quality Directive is exactly researched and covers all known emission sources, including all forms of factory and traffic emissions and the specific pollutions and acidifications, a decades-advanced scientific document with the standard feedback documentation and incremental enforcement that normally characterise EU regulation and norms.

Yet government action on the worst lethal air pollution in Europe is only one of many life-protective regulatory actions that Brexit stops. Less seen are the faster-rising deaths and diseases from junk-food obesity and cumulative ecological ruin by the US-style gigantic-scale toxic Big Agri-Food processes and products increasingly feeding Britain. They also pervade organic and ecological life organisation with growing chemical inputs, concoctions and wastes.

Yet already Tory demands have been made for UK hygiene standards to be changed from EU to US rules so as to permit chicken meat sanitised only by chlorinated water, to allow beef raised with growth hormones, and to free genetically engineered substitute foods or GMOs from production and label restrictions. Already Big-Ag-Food US-style is setting up to compete outside the EU – Brexit’s “wider engagement with the world” – by far lower food, animal welfare and environmental standards.

These are the dark side meanings of Brexit’s “glorious new market opportunities”, “lack of red tape”, and “regulatory flexibilities” promised by Brexit.

The EU Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee is also moving to restrict advertising and sale of high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods and beverages to children with the UK set to comply just when Brexit is force-moving negotiations to end EU standards in Britain.

Even ever more pervasive noise pollution is effectively regulated against by EU regulations, including on vehicles, lawn-mowers and boat motors (compare Brexit-supporter Donald Trump’s Harley-Davidson inaugural salute and full-blasting 6-foot amplifiers in hotels). But where in the ad-filled media have you ever read about this EU standard of civilisation?

In renewable energy too, EU Directives lead the UK and the world again by a strict Renewable Energy Directive which requires 20% renewable energy in all 26 states by 2020. This may seem inadequate in our carbonised world where the air and oceans acidify and trillions of carbon miles are built into transcontinental commodity shuttles while only downstream “climate change” is targetted. In deeper fact, destabilised hydrological and weather cycles increasingly destroy the very conditions of life. Yet at least the EU Directives are not more markets in rights to pollute which do not reduce carbon gases.

The Tory UK’s planned exit from the most developed rule of life-protective law is set to spike carbon-miles further by every “wider trading opportunity” it brings outside of short-miles Europe where the distance between London and Berlin is a very small fraction of the carbon miles to and from Chicago or Toronto. Brexit is yet another crank up of the blackening system to the de-regulated US model where big finance, agri-food and military-industrial drivers rush further out of control at a turning point of cumulative stress on local and planetary life supports.

For the wider view, EU life standards have evolved over many decades of painstaking regulation of material processes and products to be a social immune system of the most productive and efficiently recycling system in the world – despite their deadly internal conflict with Wall-Street financialisation since its 2008 crash which has since hollowed out the public sectors of the developed world by at least $26 trillion in transfer of money demand from the public to private banks and unproductive private financial accounts.

Brexit is yet another crank up of the blackening system to the de-regulated US model where big finance, agri-food and military-industrial drivers rush further out of control at a turning point of cumulative stress on local and planetary life supports.

Most impressive in “social immune” terms is the EU’s world-leading Organic Agriculture Directives and, more deeply, its REACH regulation of hazardous chemicals (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). Over 20 years in the making involving lead British scientists, REACH has instituted regulations across domains in licensing processes and commodities in the legal market to stop every man-made chemical life insult now pervading the world in tens of thousands of forms.

Yet in every case of life-serving norm and regulation in which the EU leads the world in pollution reduction – including the near-pervasive commodity toxification and invasion subsidised and normalised elsewhere as “the free market” and “growth”. The EU’s detailed and scientifically validated regulations actually do reduce pollutions and life hazards by exact enforcement. They step-by step require life-coherent standards to be applied – as opposed to the regulation-bashing and swashbuckling ignorance of the Brexit-Trump forces as “sovereignty” and “freedom”.



Brexit exemplifies the pathogenic pattern which is not seen by the advertisement press, the corporatised academy, or the captive state. The life-and-death meaning, is blinkered out, the binding power of all EU life standards by the omnibus Great Repeal Act is secretively abolished, all losses of voting support are arrogantly ignored, and life-serving democratic civilisation is reversed.

The macro-economic pattern is carcinomic. Masked to surrounding life as “Great Britain’s sovereignty”, unprecedentedly dominant private transnational money sequences grow and multiply in nano-second speculations, unproductive titanic takeovers and debt-powered dispossessions to metastacise unseen into all corners with no defined policy, democratic mandate or committed life function whatever.

Featured image: An EU flag flies above Parliament Square during a Unite for Europe march, in central London, Britain March 2017 © Reuters

About the Author

Dr. John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and author of the three-volume study, Philosophy and World Problems of UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). His most recent book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: from Crisis to Cure.



The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.