Labour’s Betrayal ……. On September 11th, the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons, by 326 votes to 290. The small rebellions on either side cancelled one other out, but Jeremy Corbyn reneged on Labour’s election manifesto and encouraged his MP’s to vote against Brexit. It now seems that Corbyn wants to get rid of the Conservative government more than he wants Britain to leave the EU (though his party’s position on Brexit seems to change daily). He may have calculated that UKIP has ’gone away’ (so he thinks), so the 4 million Labour ’Leave‘ voters from June 16 have nowhere else to go. That’s why it’s vital that UKIP gets it’s act together quickly and renews its challenge against the Labour party in all areas. If 4 million Labour ‘Leave’ voters realise that Corbyn has reneged on the referendum, Labour will not have another government.
Many hurdles to the EU Withdrawal Bill remain, as page of page of spurious ‘amendments’ tabled by the Remainiacs have yet to be debated and voted on. There will be many opportunities ahead for the enemies of Brexit to derail the process in Parliament.
Poker Game …… Meanwhile as UKIP predicted, the EU has shown no intention whatsoever to negotiate, stonewalling any progress on Article 50 by its insistence on an absurd £90bn ’divorce’ bill’. Faced with the EU’s rock-like intransigence, any lingering government resolve has crumbled faster than a sandcastle at high tide. Major concessions from Mrs May are appearing daily; from slippery talk of a ‘transitional’ period after March 2019, when we will remain ‘in’ certain parts of the EU for an unspecified length of time; to agreement to keep our borders open to uncontrolled migration from the EU and £20bn payments to the EU beyond March 2019.
This is not what 17.4 million people voted for. These concessions are a futile attempt to get the EU to ‘talk about talks about talks about trade‘ and to somehow reconcile the pro and anti-Brexit camps within the Conservative party. Neither will happen; the anti-Brexit camp in Mrs May’s cabinet will be emboldened, while her eagerness to ‘do a deal’ is a sure sign of weakness that plays into the EU’s hands, encouraging further intransigence, time-wasting and more concessions from the UK. It‘s high time our government played hardball and tabled a counter-claim against the EU for all the money the EU has cost us since 1973. Britain’s gross payments to the EU are £374.5bn; £183.7bn (net) when EU ‘grants’ to public sector bodies are subtracted. Not to mention the massive costs to UK businesses of the EU’s punitive regulatory regime, or the £10bn we have deposited in the European Investment Bank.
It’s fast becoming clear that ‘No Deal’ is preferable to the half-in, half-out fudge (the ‘Norway’ option) being cooked up by Mrs May’s cabinet. Britain’s position is so strong, it’s criminal that the government is chucking in our hand. The only area where we need any EU input is on trade, but our leaving the EU must not be held to ransom by the lack of a trade deal. A free trade deal would be desirable for both parties, but it is more so for the EU than the UK, since they sell far more to us than we do to them. With ‘no deal’ by March 2019, we will continue trade with EU countries but under WTO rules, each side paying a tariff on the others imported goods. Based on current trade figures, under WTO rules the UK would pay approximately £5bn a year in tariffs to the EU, while those exporting goods and services from the EU to the UK would pay approximately £13bn. The highest WTO export tariffs are on cars (10%) and wine (32%); types of export to the UK that are crucial to many EU countries. With ‘no deal’, trading under WTO rules, EU exporters would be the losers; the UK Treasury would make a profit of £8bn and have money to compensate UK exporters for the new tariffs.
Furthermore, there would be no ‘divorce’ payments. We could introduce immediate border controls. We would be freed immediately to make trade deals with whoever we wish. We could cease any further payments to the EU, saving us £20bn a year. So what is the problem ?
Leaving the Front Door Open … The government seems to have no real understanding of why national borders are necessary, let alone the will to patrol them properly. A report (13th July) by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, found that 27 of 62 ports on the East coast were not visited by ‘Border Force’ staff for over a year (April 2015 – June 2016). This meant there was no visible deterrent to people traffickers, terrorists or the smugglers of drugs and weapons. National border controls might not stop all unwelcome things from entering the UK, but they do a good job of stopping most. They also enable numbers to be monitored and new arrivals to be recorded. Our border is our first line of defence; a preventative measure. It’s far easier to deal with a problem at the border than once the problem is already here.
Mrs May’s plans to keep a ‘Common Travel Area’ between the Irish Republic and the North (which existed pre-EU) are reasonable, although EU migrants could still use Britain’s ‘back door’ and enter the UK (Northern Ireland) from the Republic. Britain needs to help the Republic’s border authorities to enforce strict checks on all vehicles arriving at points of entry into the Republic. Nonetheless, the route into the UK via Southern Ireland will become liable to migrant pressure from the EU at some point and passport checks at ferry and air terminals from the North to Mainland UK may be needed. Unionists will not like it, but UK and Republic passport holders could go in one line (minimal checks); EU nationals in another (enhanced screening).
What is far more worrying is that Mrs May seems intent on maintaining a ‘soft’ border with the rest of the EU too; leaving our ‘front door’ open as well. It is completely unrealistic, as the government have suggested, to expect UK businesses and public sector agencies to become in effect, the border agencies of the state by reporting any illegal workers. Many EU migrants will continue to arrive and work in UK, with or without jobs and benefits, but will do so on an unofficial basis. However the pressures they will continue to place on our overstretched public services (schools, hospitals, transport) will be real enough. Migration into the EU from North Africa and the Middle East continues in huge numbers. In just 24 hours this August, over 600 migrants were rescued off Gibraltar and taken into Spain. The EU has neither the ability nor the desire to control its external border. Until such time as it does (which may be never), Britain should introduce visa controls on all EU entrants into Britain, so they can be logged with a UK entry date and time of permitted stay.
Unthinkable? Impractical ? No. All it takes is political backbone. There’s a whole spectrum of visa controls with regard to the EU that the government should be tabling as part of ‘Brexit’, ranging from mild to the very strict. Look at what visa controls other major countries have for visitors from the UK:
United States: Online Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) required; cost £35.80, max. stay 90 days.
Canada: Online ETA required if arriving by air; cost £40.99, max. stay 6 months
Australia: Online e-visitor visa required; cost £42, max. stay 90 days in one year
India: Online e-visa required; cost £122.80, valid up to 60 days, for use at specified points of entry only.
China: Full Visa required before travel. Cost £217 – £356, Requires full details of travel arrangements and accommodation; full personal details and bank statements. Valid for up to 2 years.
Russia: Full Visa required before travel. Cost £70.80. Requires full details of travel arrangements and accommodation; full personal details and bank statements. Biometric scan must accompany visa; obtainable only in person at Russian visa office in London. Valid only for length of stay specified.
Beyond Satire …. No sooner does the fatuous ’Nick’ Clegg pop up demanding that students should get two votes, than we find that they already have; one vote, a postal ballot at their home address, another vote at the polling station in their university town. The Electoral Commission received over 1000 complaints, including 40 from MP’s, about ‘duplicate’ voting. In Lincoln, of 3,200 people who registered to vote in the 24 hours before polling day, 500 were already registered elsewhere, probably costing the Conservative MP his seat. Many have boasted on Facebook of what they’ve done and maybe just the tip of the iceberg. Amazingly, it is not illegal to register to vote in more than one polling area. Local authorities rarely if ever cross-check voter information with one another, so fraud is easy.
Our electoral system is in crisis. The Electoral Commission seem to have no desire or will to act, other than the fairly futile measure of asking voters to bring ID to polling stations. Yet all the widely reported frauds on our electoral system in recent years (registering ‘ghost’ voters, postal ballot ‘harvesting’, dual-vote registrations) are all enabled by one common factor; postal voting. Until postal voting ‘on demand’ is scrapped and we return to a system where postal ballots are only given to those who are physically unable to attend the polling station, blatant abuse of the electoral system will continue..
Elephant in the Room ….. As the official inquest into the appalling fire at Grenfell Tower gets underway, amid the welter of accusation and counter-claim, the obvious gets ignored. The redoubtable Christopher Booker (Sunday Telegraph, 6th July), points out what no-one else wants to see:
‘When, amid all the millions of words uttered about Grenfell, are we finally going to focus on the real cause … All the talk about ‘cladding’ has been looking in the wrong direction. The cause of the fire was less to do with the ‘rainscreen’ cladding’; it was the combination of 6in of combustable Cellotex insulation foam behind it, with a void creating a ‘chimney’ effect, sending the flames roaring up the building.’
‘In 1989 after a fire in an 11 story block in Knowsley, the Building Research Establishment was asked to devise a means that could have prevented it. It found that this should be a new ’whole system test’ covering all the materials to be used on the outside of buildings, to see how they interacted when installed together. But in 1994 the European Commission called for a new EU-wide fire test which was exactly what the BRE had found so inadequate with existing practice; a ’single burn test’ applied only to each material separately. But by 2000, when a Commons committee investigated a high-rise fire in Scotland, MPs recommended that the BRE’s whole system test should be adopted as the UK standard, BS 8414. By 2002 however, the EU adopted its own inadequate test, incorporating it in a European standard (EN 13501).’
‘Under EU law this became mandatory, leaving BS 8414 as only a voluntary option. The EU had also become obsessed with the need for better insulation to combat ’global warming’, which soon became its only priority. All that mattered was the thermal efficiency of materials, for which none was to prove better than polyisocyanurate used in Cellotex, the plastic chosen in 2014 for Grenfell. Fire experts across Europe have pointed out that the lack of a proper whole system test was ignoring the risk of insulation fires, not least in Germany, where there have been more than 100.’
‘Had the Grenfell installation been properly tested under BS 8414 it would not have met the standard and thus the fire could not have happened. The irony is that China and Dubai are now adopting mandatory ‘whole system’ tests based on BS 8414. They can do this because they are not in the EU; but in Britain we cannot legally enforce the very standard that would have prevented the disaster’
Stories You Won’t Hear on the BBC ……
‘Alastair Campbell encouraged hundreds of TV executives to help block Brexit .… addressing the Royal Television Society Conference, he asked the audience of nearly 280 to raise their hands if they were ‘optimistic’ about Brexit …. no one did so. Campbell then urged them to do anything they can to stop Brexit; ‘It has got to be stopped … anything you can do to help stop it … do it’. It is not clear who was in the audience, but the conference is usually attended by some of the most powerful figures in broadcasting, including BBC Worldwide Chief Executive Tim Davie, BBC Chairman Sir David Clementi and C4 boss David Abraham.
‘A cross-party group of 70 MPs have written to BBC Director General Tony Hall, complaining that the BBC is ’heavily slanted in favour of those who wish to water down or even reverse the referendum decision‘. The group cited research by Newswatch (http;//news-watch.co.uk), which found that listeners to Radio 4 were two and a half times more likely to hear pro-EU speakers than anti. Hall has flatly denied any bias but earlier this year, The Guardian claimed that after the EU referendum, Hall ’went round the London dinner party circuit wailing that BBC ’balance’ had lost us the election….’ (Daily Mail, 16th Sept)
‘The BBC has refused to reveal the cost of its Glastonbury coverage, and claimed that doing so would breach EU human rights law …. They also refused to disclose the guests they hosted and the cost of hospitality at the festival ….’ (Daily Mail, 29th July)
‘The BBC squandered £12.5 million on its failed BBC Store. The download service, launched in 2015, was supposed to cash in on viewers nostalgia for old programmes. But this May, the BBC admitted the project has failed and was shutting it down. The loss of £12.5m equals the income from over 85,000 TV licences … (Daily Mail, 22nd July)
‘BBC Deputy-Director Anne Bulford, once denied to a parliamentary committee that the corporation was a ‘cosy club’ where senior figures hand each other huge pay deals. So staff are somewhat bemused that she has quietly taken a 10% pay rise (£395,000 to £435,000). This puts her within touching distance of Lord Hall, who’s on £450,000 a year. Bulford is a long standing friend of Tony Hall and was Director of Finance and Business Affairs at the Royal Opera House when he was its Chief Executive …’ (Sebastian Shakespeare, Daily Mail, 11th Feb)
Jeremy Paxman has criticised the BBC for being too politically correct and too focused on the problems of the metropolitan elite. Paxman, who left the BBC in 2014, said it was a ‘parastatal’ organisation, serving the state indirectly and ‘of course there is a political correctness’. He added; ‘There is a certain way of looking at the world if you are part of the BBC, which is different to if you are part of a commercial organisation. Why is the story always about the disabled refugee from Syria, rather than the demands that the disabled refugee from Syria might make on our taxpayers ? That’s all too common …. it’s a metropolitan elite problem …’ (Daily Mail, 3rd July)
‘Brexit’ will enable town halls to save billions by shedding pointless red tape, the umbrella body for local Council’s said yesterday. Councils spend £55bn a year on goods, work and services, but are tied down by EU regulations that contracts must be advertised across Europe, leading to delays of up to 18 months. However just 1.6% of public contracts go to companies in other EU states. A more efficient system could be introduced after Brexit; Councils could chose local suppliers, demand that contractors pay a living wage, or train local employees. LGA spokesman Kevin Bentley said new rules could ‘provide more community benefits and more growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. It would also allow councils to promote local suppliers and local labour’ (Local Government Association, 8th August)
Jack Dee clearly isn’t a fan of the younger generation of comics projecting their normally left-wing political persuasions into their acts… ‘It seems to be an imperative that you show your colours and stand up for your side, which is usually the left … I want comedians to be independent of all that. I don’t want them hailing a new type of government. I’ve always thought it was our job to question all of it .. (Daily Express, 7th Sept)
51.3% of ‘Remain’ voters back: ‘Full control over immigration, and lower numbers of migrants from the EU.’ 52.2% of ‘Remain’ voters agree that: ‘The UK should entirely free British law from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice’. 54.7% of ‘Remain’ voters say that: ‘The UK should pay nothing to the EU by means of a ‘divorce bill’ (London School of Economics Survey, 11th August)
Ringo Starr has said that if he lived in the UK, he would have voted to Leave the EU. ‘To be in control of your own country is a good move ……..’
Tales From Europe ……..
EUROZONE ….. ‘18.73m people are unemployed across the 28 EU countries, some 14.7 of which are in the Eurozone. Unsurprisingly, the only country that has increased jobs since the single currency was created is Germany. Eurostat estimates that unemployment averages 9.1% in the Euro zone, yet the number of under-25s without work in staggering; 3.7m in the EU28; 2.5m in the Euro zone. The sheer scale of numbers for those without work in the southern Eurozone is horrifying … 45.5% in Greece, 39% in Spain and 35% in Italy. A decade since the crash the number of young unemployed is rising rather than falling. There is now a ‘lost generation’ of Europe’s 15 – 24 years old finding themselves without work; a tragedy of epic proportions’ (City Mail, 18th Aug)
GREECE ….. Former Finance Minister Yiannis Varoufakis has written of how Greece’s elected government attempted (unsuccessfully) to stand up to the EU/ECB/IMF ’troika’. ’Adults in the Room – My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment’ (Bodley Head, £20) is a compelling account of the EU‘s ‘waterboarding‘ of a democratically elected government. (We hope that one day these people will stand trial for what they have done to Greece – ed.).
HUNGARY …. ‘The EU has been involved in a row with several Eastern European countries over their refusal to take 120,000 migrants who have been living in Italy and Greece since 2015. After days of diplomatic clashes following the ECJ ruling that Hungary had to take part in the scheme, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban told the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘Hungary is not an immigrant country, does not want to become an immigrant country and cannot accept being forced to change this’. Describing immigration as ’the Trojan horse of terrorism’ Orban has so far refused to accept a single ’refugee’; a stance also adopted by Poland’ …. (Daily Mail, 9th Sept)
POLAND ….. ‘Thousands of people descended on the Commission offices in Warsaw in protest against the EU’s growing interference with Polish laws. The demonstration, organised by the Solidarity Trade Union (which liberated Poland from communism in the 1980s), was held against the EU‘s refusal to allow Poland to reduce the retirement age. Many held up signs denouncing the unelected Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. People on the march held banners saying ‘Keep your hands off Poland’ (Breitbart News London, 17th Sept)
GERMANY …. Angela Merkel’s CDU have polled less than a third of the vote in the German General Election, forcing her into coalition talks with her main opponents. Formed only in 2013, the AfD (Alternative for Germany) party won 90 seats in the German Bundestag, on a platform of strict border controls, curbs on Islamist influence and possible EU withdrawal if it continues to centralise and fails to reform. (25th Sept).
Out of the EU; Into the World ……
‘Consensus Economics latest survey has raised the UK average growth forecast above 1.4%; up from 0.6% last August. Elsewhere, UBS and Credit Suisse raised their 2017 predictions to 1.4% and 1.3% respectively ….. days after the Bank of England admitted the UK economy will grow substantially quicker than it expected, raising the Bank’s UK growth forecast for the year to 2.5% (from 1.4% last November). In a further show of confidence in ‘Brexit Britain‘, the 2nd largest US bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has begun a search for a new London HQ, despite having 5 years left on its current lease …. (Daily Mail, 6th March)
‘Lidl has revealed plans to create 5000 new jobs and build a £70m HQ in the UK … the plans are part of a drive to open 250 new stores in the UK as it pushes ahead with a three year, £1.5bn investment plan … (Daily Express, 17th Dec)
Muller has announced a £100m investment in Britain, to develop, manufacture and market a new generation of yoghurts and desserts using milk from British farms (Stuart Agnew MEP, 19th Sept)
‘General Medical Council data shows the number of EU doctors granted a licence to practice in the UK fell by 8% between January 2016 and this May. However the number of licences granted to doctors from outside the EU has increased by 17% since the referendum last June. The NHS is heavily reliant on staff coming from overseas to plug gaps in the workforce, with over a third coming from abroad … but over a quarter of the NHS workforce comes from outside the EU, with just 10% from the EU. There are as many doctors from India alone working here, as from all the EU countries put together … (Dr Max Pemberton, Daily Mail, 5th August)
‘Japan is set to agree a quick trade deal with Britain after Brexit … Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he had faith that Britain would continue to be an attractive place for his country’s businesses to invest in…’ (Daily Express, 12th Sept)
AND FINALLY ….. ‘Tories used to pay £1500 a seat to hear David Cameron speak. Today you can have a ‘conversation’ with Dave C for just £5.40 ……… if you’re prepared to travel to Grand Rapids, South Dakota’ (Amanda Platell, Daily Mail, 9th Sept)
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e-mail: email@example.com All items in this newsletter are personal views only and do not necessarily represent the views of the UK Independence Party Mid-Dorset & North Poole