‘Terexit’ and Beyond …. Following their meltdown in the Local Council and EU elections, the Conservatives have again, decided to change the deckchairs on the Titanic. Their strategy seems to be; (1) Stop Boris Johnson at all costs, (2) Give the party faithful a non-choice between a Remainer and a ‘Fake Leave’ flip-flopper. Whoever becomes Britain’s new PM, it is unlikely to change much. Their party remains divided by an unbridgable ideological chasm over ‘Brexit’. Most Con and Lab MP’s simply don’t want Britain to leave the EU at all; if they had, they would have done it by now. Most have already reneged on their promises to leave the EU in their 2017 General Election manifestos’. Three years on, the ‘Neverendum’ chaos at Westminster looks set to continue for a while longer.
‘You have sat here too long for any good that you are doing. Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go !’ (Oliver Cromwell, dissolving the Rump Parliament, 1653)
Putting the Cart Before the Horse …. Most of the Conservatives leadership debate misses the point entirely, polarised around the false choice of ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ with the EU. But at some point a ‘deal’ (or more likely a series of deals) between the UK and the EU will be desirable, with benefits for both sides. What they should be asking is: should a ‘deal’ with the EU be agreed before, or after we leave and what should it contain ?
Article 50 does not require a ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ with the EU, either before or after we leave. To insist on a ‘deal’ with the EU before we leave, is to put the cart before the horse. It allows the EU to impose all manner of curbs on our sovereignty; the complete opposite of what 17.4 million UK citizens voted for. It means that in negotiations on trade and many other issues, the UK will be a vassal of the EU, subject to their terms and agenda; not an equal partner. But if we leave the EU on 31st October as a fully sovereign nation, we will be in a much stronger negotiating position on all matters, trade in particular. WTO rules will automatically apply. Article 24 (GATT – General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) will allow free trade to continue between the UK and EU for a temporary period, pending negotiations on a comprehensive agreement. As the UK is the EU’s No.1 customer, they will have every reason to instigate Article 24 as soon as possible after we leave. Whoever the new PM is, they should be preparing to do the same.
Local Council Elections, 2nd May …… The big story locally was that the Conservative vote fell off the cliff; down by more than two-thirds from 2015. The LibDem’s overall vote stayed about the same, but they gained seats from the Cons because their vote collapsed. Labour made no progress at all.
There were big votes for Independent candidates, notably Poole People (7 seats) and Christchurch Independents. The UKIP vote held up remarkably well, considering some of the misrepresentations (and downright lies) peddled nationally by the supposed ‘mainstream media’. Our effort locally was entirely self-funded and self-managed. We had a successful street stall in Poole High Street. Nearly 15,000 of our own design leaflets were produced and hand delivered by a small army of helpers. This was a fantastic effort and our thanks are due to all who helped (space doesn’t allow me to mention you all, but you know who you are !). Special thanks to Diana for her leaflet design and getting everything ordered and printed in the very short time available.
Alderney & Bourne Valley: Joe Cryans 631 votes (18.5%); beat Labour, only 20 votes behind the Cons.
Broadstone: Paula Holyoak 299 votes (7.0%); beat Labour
Canford Heath: Christopher Spence 555 votes (15.9%); beat Labour and the Greens
Hamworthy: John Butler 638 votes (20.3%): beat Labour and the LibDems; only 130 votes off being elected in 3rd place
Newtown & Heatherlands: Vicky Spence 657 votes (16.8%); beat one Con and one Labour
Oakdale: Janice Long 421 votes (15.2%); beat Labour and the LibDems
Colehill & Wimborne East: Nick Wellstead 319 votes (11.3%); beat Labour
Wareham: Keith Simpson 431 votes (13.5%); beat Labour
Well done to all the above candidates and their helpers. Given the very low turnouts (around 30%), these are significant votes which prove that contrary to what the Tory Tabloids might say, UKIP has most definitely not disappeared ! Nationally, UKIP gained Council seats in Derby, Sunderland, Wyre (Lancs) and Tendring (Essex). Finally:
Creekmoor: Diana Butler 591 votes (26.2%); 2nd place, elected as UKIP Councillor on Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council. Diana won by 7 votes (after a recount), ahead of the second Conservative candidate. She also beat the LibDems, Greens, Labour and one Independent. Of all the great victories won by our gallant People’s Army over the years, this was one of the most satisfying, coming after a time of great difficulties for our party. The Conservatives were mortified, having confidently expected both their candidates to get elected, having promoted them for months in advance. Diana received a tremendous amount of support and well-wishes from the many people that she knows in the area. There is an awful lot of hard work to get to grips with now, but Creekmoor could not have a more ardent, dedicated champion.
EU Elections, 23rd May …… Congratulations to The Brexit Party for making sure that the mandate to Leave the EU is still intact. But as the Peterborough by-election has shown, UK domestic elections are a different matter. Only by standing and winning UK elections (as UKIP did in 2014 – 16), will the political establishment of the country be shifted. To do that, voters need to see a coherent set of policies about how the country will be run, on everything from schools to hospitals, to roads and housing. The Brexit Party has no policies, no core principles. UKIP has both. Both parties have things that the other needs. Neither will win ’first past the post’ elections in the UK by competing with one another. Whoever becomes the new UKIP leader, their immediate task will be to heal the fatal rift between the two wings of the anti-EU movement. Who will be the best person to do this ?
Change UK have lost 6 of their 11 MPs. Formed from Blairite Labour and pro-euro Conservative MPs, the party that was launched with great media fanfare in March, failed dismally in the euro-elections. The departing MP’s will return to supporting each other as an independent group. Anna Soubry has been elected as the party’s new leader. It will be interesting to see how that one goes ……
POSTCARD FROM ROMANIA … Thirty years after the overthrow of the vile Ceaucescu regime, which had turned the country into an Orwellian nightmare, Romania is making great progress. There are still many misconceptions about the country; its people are not ‘Roma’, but predominantly Latin (‘A Latin island in a Slavic sea‘), descendants of the Roman outpost of Dacia. Over the centuries, their culture has been enhanced by German and Hungarian settlers. This is most apparent in Transylvania; for 250 years part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, reflected by the historic architecture and civic buildings in many of its towns. Some 800,000 Germans lived in the province until WWII; most left in 1945 but German influence is now returning through business investment and EU politics. The Romanian President (Johannis Klaus) is of German origin; historic Germanic names are being added to streetsigns and the local football team in Sibiu has been re-named FC Hermannstadt. Whether this is good in the long run remains to be seen.
Meanwhile the good times are here. Romania has the second highest rate of economic growth in Europe, with only 4.6% unemployment (the city of Cluj claims to have full employment). The tatty Communist-era flats blocks are fast being refurbished into chic apartments and the historic quarters and public parks of Bucharest are being restored, echoes of a time in the 1920’s when it was known as the ‘Paris of the East‘. Hotels, restaurants and services are fast approaching, even surpassing Western European standards. The streets are generally clean and safe. The country has ambitious plans for energy self-sufficiency by 2030. Romania was the first European producer of oil (Ploesti 1881) and it still produces significant reserves. A major new oil and gas field has been discovered in the Black Sea, over which Romania has been awarded 70% rights. Hydro-power (30%) plays an important role. New nuclear power plants are planned to meet 50% of total demand.
Romania has some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness and rural landscapes left in Europe; home to wildlife that is scare elsewhere, including over 40,000 brown bears. In some parts, the farming way of life has remained almost unchanged for centuries; it is small scale, organic and self-sufficient, with a rich folk heritage and culture. It is a very fragile system though. Three million Romanians work abroad, often sending money home, but very few of the younger generation want to work in agriculture. The small farms that sustain and manage these beautiful landscapes are being worked by an increasingly elderly population, who face many challenges if their unique way of life is to survive in the modern world.
This has drawn foreign visitors, including our own Prince Charles, who has bought four properties in Transylvania to rent and supports many local charities. HRH is a very popular figure here, and is a close friend of Crown Princess Margaret, the daughter of the ex-King Michael, who was forced to abdicate by the Communists in 1947. In 1990, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the deposition of the monarchy had been illegal. The former royal palaces have now been returned to the family’s descendants, who are now playing an increasingly important, non-political role in Romanian public life; hosting civic functions, meeting foreign heads of state, as well as supporting many charitable foundations. 40% of Romanians are reported to favour a return to a constitutional monarchy.
Partly this is a response to disillusionment with republican politics; where recent low voter turnouts show the public’s distain for political corruption. Just this month, the head of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party, Livea Dragnea, was jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of having party members paid public money by a state agency for doing non-jobs. Some of their political problems sound familiar to British listeners. Romania joined the EU in 2007, but has kept its own currency (Leu), which has remained stable on international markets. This year they held the Presidency of the European Council, so during our visit EU flags were plastered everywhere on civic buildings in the major cities. Out in the countryside though, there were few EU flags to be seen but plenty of Romanian ones.
85% of the country is of Eastern Orthodox religion, and its worshippers are increasing, especially amongst the young. Romania has some of the finest ancient churches and monasteries anywhere in Europe, but since 1989 over 2000 new Orthodox churches have been built as well. Political Islam is widely distrusted. Proposals to built a mosque in Bucharest, which were supported by the Turkish President Erdogan, were rejected after 20,000 Romanians demonstrated against the plans. Interestingly, the second largest contingent of foreign visitors to Romania (after Germans) are Israelis, primarily because they feel safe there.
Stories You Won’t Hear on the BBC ……
‘The Financial Times has truly outdone itself with an unintentionally hilarious article from Economics Editor Chris Giles, complaining that the UK economy has been doing too well since the referendum …. Not content with being mystified by the fact that people failed to do as they were told in the referendum, the FT is now bemused as to why the markets haven’t done what the FT wanted either. Giles bemoans the fact that: ‘relatively benign economics has emboldened politicians to harden their Brexit demands and its now too late for the markets or the UK economy to exercise much discipline on Britain’s politics ……..’ (www.order-order.com, 1st Feb)
‘Jeremy Corbyn’s fence sitting must be very uncomfortable now when Len McCluskey, Secretary General of the powerful ‘Unite’ Trade Union (much of Labour’s money still comes from the Trade Unions), warned him in no uncertain terms:
‘A second referendum would only ‘pump more poison, into Britain and a lurch towards one would be ’electoral suicide’. He urged Mr Corbyn to ignore ’Remain zealots’ after ’pointless’ European election, because the party would lose dozens of MPs in the North and Midlands. Writing for HuffPost UK, he said: ’There is absolutely no route to a Labour victory as a Remain party. A further referendum will only pump more venom into the body politic. So then we are left with simply cancelling ‘Brexit’. For Labour to embrace such a position would not just be electorally suicidal, it would represent a profound rupture in our movement’s democratic traditions. There is no way round it – leading the charge for Remain and relying on LibDem or Green voters rather than continuing to respect the referendum result, will see Labour losing dozens of constituencies it has held since World War II and longer, and put key marginals we must win, way out of reach’ (Independence Daily, 1st June)
‘Council chiefs have obtained an injunction to stop parents protesting outside a school over its LGBT ‘inclusion’ lessons ….. It means that demonstrators must stop standing outside Anderton Primary School in Birmingham, or face prosecution …. The mostly Muslim parents say that homosexuality is ‘not acceptable’ and protests have been going on for weeks ……’ (Daily Mail, 1st June)
‘Climate alarmists have increasingly been resorting to weather ‘ambulance chasing‘, trotting the globe in search of weather anomalies to be held as proof of man-made climate change. But one place they have been avoiding is Antarctica, as a number of studies are showing the opposite of what was predicted. With the 2018 data now in, 11 out of 11 coastal Antarctic stations have shown zero warming over the past decade; some have actually got colder. Antarctic sea ice has also increased steadily over the last 40 years. A study by Zhous et al confirms that summertime sea temperatures around the Antarctic coast have been cooling …… really inconvenient news for the global warming alarmists’ (Climate Depot, 1st June)
A WTO based Brexit could yield the UK economy £80 billion a year, according to a study by a number of leading financial and economic experts. The authors include: Dr Ruth Lea CBE (Institute for Economic Affairs), Dr Graham Gudgin (Judge Business School, Cambridge), John Mills (Chairman JML), Sir Paul Marshall (Chairman, Marshall Wace), Prof David Blake ((Chair of Finance, Director of the Pensions Institute, City University of London), and Prof David Paton (Chair Industrial Economics, Nottingham University Business School). They conclude: ’The ’crashing out’ propaganda claims that leaving the EU on WTO terms will result in catastrophe. This report shows precisely how it can bring huge economic gains’
(www.briefingsforbrexit.com, 12th Feb)
‘Since Mrs May became PM, government ministers have held 14 meetings with officials from Chinese tech giant, Huawei …. Last month, May sparked a row with the US after it emerged that she is considering allowing Huawei limited access to help build the UK’s new 5G network. The US believes the Chinese government is using Huawei to spy on Western countries and has warned that it could threaten Britain and America’s intelligence sharing relationship …. ’ (Daily Mail, 1st June)
‘One in five members of the House of Lords are being paid to advise foreign governments or businesses, while serving in Parliament …. According to research carried out by The Guardian, records showed that 169 peers reported working as advisors this year in sectors including banking, energy and defence. Fifteen also registered as being paid by foreign governments ….’ (Daily Mail, 1st June)
Tales From Europe ……..
‘Vaclav Klaus, the Czech statesman who came to prominence during the anti-communist Velvet Revolution in 1989 and who subsequently became their first democratically elected Prime Minister and then President, make a surprise speech at the Brexit Party’s ‘Rally For Democracy’ in London:
‘I would like to start by saying something that you should know. You have many friends in the Czech Republic; many friends generally in Europe …. When we first heard the results of the EU referendum, many Czechs opened champagne bottles ! It was a great event for you, but for us as well. It is not just your victory, but of all European democrats. It was an important message ……’ Slamming the EU’s ’post-democracy’ system, Klaus also criticised Britain’s ’mainstream’ parties for indecision and their hesitant attitude towards Brexit: ‘As I look at it from Prague, the main British political parties have totally failed, betrayed and abandoned the British citizens; their own voters … my dear friends, in the forthcoming elections you should give the whole of Europe a good example. Many Europeans need it, many are waiting for it. Don’t disappoint them’ (Breitbart News , 21st May)
‘French police fired tear gas to push back ‘gilets-jaune’ (yellow vest) protestors who tried to march on the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg, on the 24th consecutive weekend of protests against President Macron’s policies. The French yellow vests are increasingly adopting a hostile approach towards the EU and blame the institution for many of France’s woes. Around 2000 protestors gathered at Strasbourg. Those behind the demos had planned to march symbolically on the parliament building one month before EU wide elections … Local authorities banned protests and barricaded the neighbourhood where the parliament and other EU institutions are located, as they feared widespread violence and disruption. Police then fired a series of tear gas canisters into the demonstrators to keep them away from public buildings. The situation is still tense with widespread reports of rioting taking place. Similar protests in Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux passed off peacefully …. ‘ (Unity News Network, 27th April)
‘The March 31st elections, which blended victory with defeat for Turkish President, Recip Erdogan, put a further brake on Turkey’s stalled membership talks with the EU. There are plenty of reasons, all of them open secrets, why Turkey does not qualify to become a member …… A decade ago, the question in Brussels and Ankara was ‘How soon can Turkey become a full EU member ?’ Today accession talks are at a standstill and the question is simpler: will it be Turkey or the EU that puts an official end to this?’ (Begin-Sadat Centre for Srategic Studies, 28th April)
‘Leader of the ‘left-progressive’ group in the EU Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has said that in order to compete with the rest of the world, the EU must become ‘an empire’. He told CNN that reforming the EU and devolving power to the nations-states will mean that the bloc ‘will die inside’. He added: ‘The world is developing into empires. China is an empire, India is an empire, the US is an empire. We need to create a European Union that is capable of defending our interests …. ‘ (Breitbart News, 22nd May)
Very few politicians nowadays want to defend freedom of speech, as they’re usually terrified of ending up on the wrong side of the new PC ‘consensus‘, or becoming victims of a Twitter mob …… But it can’t be long before there’s reaction to all this from those who like robust debate and want to see it being defended. Those politicians who put themselves at the forefront of this, will be the ones to watch ….’ (Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph, 5th Oct)
Don’t forget to check the monthly Dorset Digest (via e-mail) locally, as well as checking our branch website www.ukipmiddorset.org
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e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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