- Free At Last …… (Sort Of) 48 years of ill-advised collaboration with an alien government has finally ended; longer than it took Eastern Europe to free itself from Communism. Boris Johnson declared: ‘We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny’. David (Lord) Frost was even more effusive, hailing the agreement as ‘a moment which marks our national renewal’. How we hope and want to believe that it might be true ! But there’s a lot that people are not being told about the UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It is more than a trade agreement, it is a political treaty; an EU generated text with far-reaching commitments. At 2000 pages long, Labour thought it ‘a thin treaty’. It would interesting to know just how thick they wanted it to be.
Buried deep in the TCA are EU bridgeheads to govern via the back door. As Neil Hamilton says: ‘it is quietly riddled with backchannel ties to the EU’. Scores of committees and working parties will be set up under a Joint Partner Council to decide many aspects of UK governance related to the TCA, where the EU will have equal representation. In theory, the TCA allows the UK to make legislation. In reality, competition protocols (misleadingly called ‘level playing field‘ rules) mean that significant divergences could lead to punitive tariffs against the UK. An independent panel will be established to decide any disputes, but it will not be ‘independent’ if it is stuffed with ‘Sir Humphrey’ type civil serpents.
As in 1973, the UK’s fishing industry has been sold to ’get a deal’. The UK will withdraw from the ruinous Common Fisheries Policy, but we must wait five and a half years to regain full control of our fishing waters. There might not be much left by then, as EU supertrawlers will be free to hoover up most of the fish. During ’transition’, the EU will get the lions share of the catch, with UK boats eventually getting a measly 25% extra; enough to catch 10 more Cod a month; not enough to cover rising fuel costs. If we try to claim more quota after that, the EU has the right to apply punitive tariffs on UK fish exports. In theory, we could ban damaging practices like ’pulse’ trawling, but only if the the government has the courage to act.
In a screeching U-turn, Boris Johnson dumped any UK Bill of Rights, keeping us in the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. In theory, the UK can now control its borders. In practice, it will be very difficult to discourage or deport illegal migrants, while shackled by the ECHR’s political judgements.
The Northern Ireland Protocol to the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement maintains the jurisdiction of the European Commission and European Court of Justice within the province. Having promised it was something they would never do, the Conservatives have put a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK; severing our country as the ‘price for Brexit‘. The British Union has been weakened, giving further encouragement to the ScotNatz. What next ? An EU customs border on Hadrian’s Wall ?
The more that we dig into the detail, there can be no doubt that an exit from the EU under WTO rules would have been better for Britain by far. Instead, Johnson has allowed the 15% of our GDP that depends on EU trade, to become the tail that wags the dog. Even the supposed benefits of free trade to the EU may be illusory. Just three days after the TCA, UK sausages and sausagemeat exports to the EU were banned. If this was a test to see how ‘robustly’ the government would defend the right to sell our goods under the TCA, they failed it spectacularly.
UKIP won the war, but the Conservatives have lumbered our country with an incomplete peace.
‘A Robust Attitude’ …. Nevertheless the UK is a sovereign country once more, in theory at least. Whether it will become an independent nation in reality, is another matter. The most significant phrase repeated throughout the ‘Star Chamber’s’ legal opinion to Tory ‘eurosceptic’ MPs is ‘as long as the UK government maintains a robust attitude’. Since most MPs now seem to think ’Brexit’ is done and we can all go home, we can’t expect them to be vigilant. The variability of democracy will ensure that at some point in the future, there will be ‘slippage’. We will not become an independent nation with all its potential benefits, just because our politicians have signed some papers. It depends on whether they really believe in Britain; whether they have the capacity to govern, with the free thinking and tough decisions that will entail. Or will they carry on administering the decisions of others, as they have done quite happily ?
‘Brexit’ is a beginning not an end, with much unfinished business. Some but by no means all, of what UKIP has fought so hard for, has been achieved. The remaining 20% will have to wait a while longer. Nigel Farage might have accepted that ‘the war is over’, but we in UKIP will complete the unfinished business no matter how long it might take.
A Glass Half Full ?……. How people react to the TCA will depend on whether they are a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person. But in June 2016, and in two General Elections and one Euro-election thereafter, the British people didn’t vote for half a glass. They voted for a full pint. Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party have served them short measures. If this sounds unduly pessimistic (and it will take time for the full impact of the TCA to be revealed), here are two slightly more optimistic assessments from our allies in the struggle:
‘It is exactly 48 years today since the United Kingdom became a member of what was then known as the European Economic Community (EEC). It was New Year’s Day 1973. Today, 576 months or 17,532 days later, we’re finally out of its much-changed and much more powerful successor, the European Union, following the defeat of a fierce, sustained, but ultimately unsuccessful and anti-democratic rearguard action against the British people, which lasted four-and-a-half years.’
‘This action, better described as a civil war, was waged by a cabal of vested interests including government ministers, civil servants, all major political parties, big business, foreign governments and organisations, foreign billionaires, the legal establishment, luvvies, and most media organisations’
‘Yesterday, however, as Big Ben struck 11pm we were finally out. The people had finally won. Those who inhabit the Brussels corridors are ideological extremists working for their vision of an EU superstate, subsuming all individual European nations into one and governed by technocrats from the centre. For them, the UK must not succeed as a free, independent country. To allow this to happen would be to allow the peoples of other European countries to see a brighter future outside the EU, and to have hope. In the EU, all hope must be extinguished.’
‘The future is in all of our hands. There is a huge job of work to do, in reasserting our independence and taking up the challenges which were previously denied to the UK under the yoke of EU membership. A great many opportunities are now open to the UK and these will be exciting times. Regrettably there is also going to be a constant battle with the EU, as it attempts to make life as difficult as possible for a resurgent United Kingdom. And there are certainly many elements of what has already been agreed which need to be rolled back.’
‘This evening, 31st December 2020 at 11.00pm, EU law ceased to apply in Great Britain, exactly 48 years after EC law (as it was then called) first imposed itself on our legal system ….. So once again our Parliament is sovereign and because it is sovereign, Parliament and our government are now fully accountable to the British people for their actions. From the referendum result in June 2016, it has taken a sometimes torturous four and a half years of struggle to get to this point. We have had to overcome delays, obstructions, and attempts to reverse the referendum. Most dangerously, we have faced determined attempts to turn our exit from the European Union into a hollow ‘BRINO’ in which we would become a vassal of the EU, obliged to follow its rules the making of which we have no vote. After this struggle, we now stand on the field of victory with 90% of our sovereignty restored. It is not 100% because there are remaining enemy strongholds to overcome. Most notably in Northern Ireland where EU single market and customs laws and European Court jurisdiction continue to apply; in getting back full control of our fishing waters; and in the European Court’s continuing ability to intrude into our legal system and alter the rules on EU citizens. All these remain unfinished business. But tonight, let us celebrate.’
(Martin Howe QC, Lawyers For Britain, 31st Dec)
What Next ?…… Many of the Eurobars on Britain’s cage may have been lifted on 1st January, but most Britons struggle to recognise the strange creature that emerged in the faint winter sunlight into whatever new compound our government have designed for it. The past years of relentless Cultural Marxism, Remainer Denial, Cancel Culture and Worldwide Woke, have done terrible damage to our poor country. The stealthy accretion of police state powers by the government during the Covid-19 crisis have left many Britons in abject fear; ill, stressed, depressed and unable to live any sort of normal life. We cannot rest until our civil liberties are restored 100% and that all Covid-19 ‘emergency’ legislation is repealed.
The big questions in UK politics are no longer going to be Left v Right, but Authoritarianism (PC Puritans) v Libertarianism (Free Speech & Thought). All the Westminster gang are in the first camp (although many of the Conservatives don’t really like it); UKIP is the only major force in the other. In some ways we’re back to where we were 30 years ago, but this time with an entirely new enemy in our sights.
So while we ‘allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing’, all UKIP members and supporters need to unite and regroup. The calm, professional leadership of Neil Hamilton gives us a solid platform on which to start moving forwards again. There is much work to be done. New political battlegrounds are fast emerging where UKIP’s presence is required urgently. There is no sign that MPs at Westminster are prepared to push back against those that are doing such damage to Britain. We are facing a new Colossus; a whole new set of political challenges. Once again, we must ask ourselves the questions: If not us, then who ? If not now, then when ?
Out Of The EU, Into The World ……
The renewed surge in Covid-19 cases in October diverted media attention from the imminent ‘Brexit’. But amid the Covid-19 doom and hysteria, positive signs are everywhere. In September, the UK struck its first major post-Brexit trade deal, signing an agreement with Japan, the world‘s third largest economy. The agreement will boost UK-Japan trade by £15bn, bringing new opportunities for British businesses in manufacturing, food and drink and high-tech industry. From October, British beef will be back on American dining tables after a 24 year break, due to an EU ban following the BSE outbreak. Shipments of British beef to the US could be worth an estimated £66mn to the UK’s beef farmers over the next five years. In December, a Free Trade Agreement was signed between the UK and Singapore, worth an estimated £17bn a year to the UK economy. By the end of November, 21 Free Trade Agreements had been put in place, covering 58 of the 195 UN members, including Chile, South Africa, South Korea, Israel, Morocco, and Switzerland. More will surely follow.
More good news came on 1st October, when the UK signed its first fishing deal as an independent coastal nation since 1973. The agreement saw the UK and Norway agree to fix quotas and access to each others fishing waters annually. UK fishing fleets land around £32 million worth of fish from Norwegian waters each year. On 25th November the UK Fisheries Act restored legal control over fishing waters to the UK government, although the practical effects of this will be delayed by the lengthy ‘transition’ period built into the TCA. Doubts also remain over whether it will adequately control the activities of large foreign-owned trawlers registered in Britain. But in the long term at least, the ability to develop a sustainable fisheries policy in our waters is in our hands at last.
‘With the advance of post-Brexit trade and the release of pent-up consumer demand …… this month the IMF predicted that the UK economy would grow by 5.9% next year, while research group Oxford Economics has forecast ‘the fastest recovery in over 40 years’ (Leo McKinstry, Daily Express, 28th Dec)
‘Britain has formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw from their military missions by the end of this year. As one of Europe’s biggest military powers, Britain was central to EU security efforts. Spain and Italy have agreed to a larger role.’ (Reuters, 21st Oct)
‘Brexit Britain is confounding the ‘experts’, with rapid growth in the hi-tech sector …. from 2018 – 2020 the number of employees working in UK technology grew by 40%; the sector now accounts for 9% of the national workforce with 2.93m jobs, 3x as many as the automotive industry ….. In 2019 the UK shattered all records, with technology investment soaring by 44% to over £10 billion; more than France and Germany combined ….. Manchester is now Europe’s fastest growing technology hub …. There are 4x as many $1 billion tech start-ups in London as in Berlin ….. The great fear of tech executives was that Brexit would choke the talent pool, but the opposite is true. The number of people applying for the Tech Nation visa, which allows individuals to work in the UK’s digital technology sector, has hit its highest level since 2014. We still have the pick of global talent whilst also having a unique opportunity to promote and nurture British developers and data scientists …… The recent UK-Japan trade deal incorporates the most comprehensive digital chapter of any free trade agreement, streamlining regulatory processes, encouraging data flows and building robust protections for the UK technology industry…’ (Facts4EU.org, 2nd Jan)
‘Thousands of students will be able to study and do work placements across the world through a brand new scheme to replace the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ (an EU program). The Turing scheme will provide funding for 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. The scheme will target students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus+, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the UK. The programme will provide similar opportunities for students to study and work abroad as Erasmus+, but it will include countries around the world and deliver greater value for money to taxpayers. The UK will reap the rewards by boosting students skills and prospects, benefiting UK employers, and supporting Global Britain’s ties with international partners’ (Dept of Education, 26th Dec)
‘A bid to launch BCP as a low tax freeport is to be launched. BCP Council is working with Bournemouth Airport and Poole Harbour Authority aiming to become one of the ten freeports about to be created by the government. Freeports allow firms to import goods and then re-export them outside normal tax and customs rules, and are expected to bring long term economic benefits and employment to the area’ (BCP Press Release, 9th Dec)
Some Stories You Wont Hear On The BBC …….
‘Inter-faith activist Lord Indarjit Singh has quit BBC Radio 4 after three decades, accusing it of ‘behaving like thought police’ ….. The BBC tried to prevent him discussing a historical Sikh figure who stood up to Muslim oppression, in case it caused offence to Muslims; despite a lack of any complaints. The Sikh peer said: ’I can no longer accept prejudiced and intolerant attempts by the BBC to silence key Sikh teachings on tolerance, freedom of belief and the need for us all to make ours a more cohesive and responsible society …… the need for sensitivity in talking about religious, political or social issues has been taken to absurd proportions, with insistence on trivial textual changes right up to going into the studio, making it difficult to say anything worthwhile. I believe Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism) and Jesus Christ … would today not be allowed near ‘Thought For The Day’ (Andrew Ash, Gatestone Institute, 30th Oct)
‘That evening, Ribbentrop (Nazi Germany’s Foreign Minister), hosted a farewell party at the German Embassy …… At the party was the Director-General of the BBC, John Reith …… Reith was a puritanical crusader whose admiration for both the Nazis and Mussolini was reflected in his own, rather more benign dictatorship at Portland Place. One of the few people to seem genuinely sad that Ribbentrop was leaving, Reith asked the German Foreign Minister to assure Hitler that ‘the BBC was not anti-Nazi’ and that if they were to send his German opposite number over for a visit, he would fly the swastika from the top of Broadcasting House’ (’Appeasing Hitler‘, Tim Bouverie, Vintage Press)
‘White working-class children could fall even further behind at school because of ideas like ‘white privilege’, an expert has warned. Professor Matthew Goodwin (University of Kent), told the Education Select Committee that boys from such backgrounds are the worst performers in education and do not receive as much attention as other groups. He warned that such pupils face a ‘status deficit’: ‘My fear is that with the onset of new terms: toxic masculinity, white privilege; this is going to be even more of a problem as we send yet another signal to these communities that they are the problem and they should make amends simply for being who they are ..… that would be a very dangerous turn of events‘ (Daily Express, 14th Oct)
‘A new poll by JLL Partners has attempted to settle the question of which recent former PM in the last half century would have been best at dealing with today’s twin crises of Covid and Brexit. Perhaps surprisingly for many, Margaret Thatcher leads among every age cohort, bar 25-34 year olds. Even those aged 18-24 put Maggie first, as do every social grade and region, including Northern England and Scotland.‘ (Daily Express, 20th Nov).
‘Britain sent only one illegal migrant a week back to France last year, despite thousands making their way across the Channel. According to Home Office figures, just 53 (out of 495 requests to France) were returned during the whole of 2019 ….. Britain‘s efforts to send back migrants are being hampered by French rules which state that only 20 can be returned in one go ….’ (Daily Mail, 29th Aug)
‘A Mail on Sunday poll shows that public faith in the BBC is ebbing away ….. 28% watch no BBC TV; 57% never listen to any of its radio stations; 52% think the BBC is too politically correct; 59% do not consider the BBC reflects their values; 70% consider political correctness has gone too far; 67% consider the BBC has become less relevant because of online media’ (Daily Mail, 29th Aug)
If Fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the guise of Liberalism’ (Ronald Reagan, 1975)
Don’t forget to check the monthly Dorset Digest (via e-mail) locally, as well as checking our branch website www.ukipmiddorset.org
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