No Deal – Is this the end of civilisation?

Here I am again, oversimplifying something that I can not possibly understand as I am a xenophobic fascist that put the tick in the wrong box…

The whole ‘No Deal’ thing is a ploy by the media and many in the government to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. The EU has made it impossible for the UK to leave with any deal at all.

If we sign the withdrawal agreement and leave tomorrow we have no future trade agreement. The EU has said that it cannot negotiate a trade deal while we are still members.

If we leave with no deal then we have no future trade agreement either.

So, what is the difference? Oh yes, we get a two year transition period and everything stays the same until then. But we have to pay around 10bn a year for this privilege.

Now, under article 24 of the WTO rules we can agree a transition period with the EU whereby nothing changes for up to 10 years. During this period the UK would not be required to pay any membership fee to the EU.

So, to this uneducated ticker of the wrong box, it would appear that the EU has offered us a withdrawal agreement that is less favourable than leaving under the terms of WTO. It has manipulated an arrangement that already existed under WTO to allow it to extract further membership fees from the UK and offered no additional benefit for this. Then it has added the Irish backstop as a lever to try to force the UK to take its solution on board.

It is interesting to note that the backstop is not an implementation of existing EU or WTO rules but a whole new idea specially formulated to gain an advantage in future trade negotiations.

It is the authors opinion that the backstop is not legal under article 5 of the human rights act as it attacks the liberty of those residing in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Border Illusion

Several years on and we sit waiting to hear our fate. Will we leave the EU as an independent nation or as a vassal state.

The current rhetoric is that our options are limited by the practicalities of maintaining a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. It would seem that the EU has weaponised the concept and intends to beat us to death with it.

One has full sympathy for the people of Ireland and their wish to ensure that there is no return to the hard border of the times of the troubles. The issue arises because goods flowing into Northern Ireland from the UK may not have had customs duty applied for the EU. As the UK will have different tariffs from other countries this could compromise the integrity of the EU single market by providing a route to smuggle goods into the EU without the correct duty being paid. If no free trade agreement with the EU were in place this could also be true in the opposite direction allowing goods from the EU into the UK.

If the UK had a free trade agreement with the EU then this would be less problematic

And so some method of controlling goods crossing the border is required. In order to achieve this the UK has suggested that goods can be electronically tracked in order to negate the need for a hard border. The EU is not completely happy with this arrangement and prefers that Northern Ireland remains within the EU customs union and a border is created in the Irish sea to require all goods flowing into NI to be customs cleared. Essentially this would mean that Northern Ireland is annexed by the EU and becomes a powerless region that follows EU laws with no influence and could be prevented from importing goods from the rest of the UK. I’m pretty sure the EU raised a big issue with Russia when they annexed Crimea a few years ago.

There is, and always was, a simple answer to the Irish border but would allow a border to be avoided. If Ireland was treated as a special case it could allow goods from the UK and EU to come in and move across the border. If goods are then exported to the UK or the EU then they may need to be customs checked on their way in but this could be made very simple. The integrity of the single market is preserved and the problem is no more.

Are We Leaving the EU or What!

There is a growing noise from some in power that they believe they know better about what the referendum result in June actually meant. Most (all) of it seems to be from those that believe we should not leave at all and since Mrs May has made it clear that she will invoke Article 50 before the end of March 2017 they all seem to have gotten even more excited.

To me this is all quite simple. The question asked of us all was “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Now there is no ambiguity there in my book. The answer they got was that we should leave the EU. All the talk of remaining in the single market is mute, we leave, simple. There was never a question of remaining in some parts of the EU and denying ourselves the ability to make sovereign decisions.

The news is now full of stories of Hard or Soft Brexit. In the words of Mrs May “Brexit means Brexit”. And it seems bizarre to me that the media have been hounding for and answer of exactly what Brexit means. Brexit means we are leaving the EU. There you go, that was not so difficult. There really is no Hard or Soft about it. What comes after is still open for debate but the mandate given was to leave the EU and then it is up to parliament to secure the best trading position possible, but this position must be from outside of the EU. Why are they all in denial? Leave the EU means leaving the EU. I am no scholar and I do not profess to literary genius but these are not complicated words.

Mr Miliband and Clegg (and plenty of others) seem particularly vocal and believe they have a right to manipulate the result to suit their own interests. All very laughable. They have both proved hugely unpopular amongst the populace and somehow still seem to think that they represent someone. Let me put it in clear words “Nobody that matters cares what you think”.

This week (13 October ’16) there is a court hearing that is trying to prevent Theresa May invoking Article 50 without a vote in the house of commons. At first sight this seemed plausible as invoking it will lead to the overturning of other parliamentary acts and this should not be possible without a subsequent act. Then it occurred to me that there has already been one. The 2015 EU Referendum act went through the commons with a considerable majority and the Conservative manifesto was always that the result would be abided by. It all seems pretty implicit to me. Unless, of course, they all want to admit that they were misled and didn’t realise what they were voting for. In fact, I’m surprised they have not asked for the commons vote to be rerun to overturn the act of running the referendum in the first place. You heard it here first…

I just hope the Judge sees it the same way. Whatever the result it is almost certain to end up in the highest court in the land upon appeal. More red tape that one hopes will not result in delay but must accept that it is the logical conclusion.

If the judge insists that this goes through parliament then we are going to be in for a long waiting game. With the current conservative majority of only 12 seats it will be bumpy to say the least. And the house of Lords is not exactly in favour of exit either. The way I see it is that the only logical conclusion will be a general election, despite promises this will not happen. If we were to vote now the Conservatives would likely end up with a very much larger majority that would make parliamentary accession considerably easier. This is assuming, of course, that the Conservative manifesto pledged to take us out of Europe and there is no absolute guarantee of this. As I said in a previous post, the jury is still out on Mrs May for now. She certainly seems to be making the right noises but in a general election may feel that she has more room to maneuver her policies to gain support.

And Now, Let the Game Commence

Well, it has been a while since I last posted. Lets call it Post-Brexit shock. A period of reflection has been required.

I have to admit that I did not think we would come this far. the odds were not in our favour and pretty much the whole of the establishment was against it. But we are here now and traction seems to have taken hold. If one is to believe the Prime Minister, we are really going to do this!

I must admit that I feared the new Prime Minister would opt for a much softened version of leaving the EU. My expectation was of little change and a Norway type compromise. So, Mrs May’s speech at the Conservative conference was quite something. She made all the right noises and I hope she follows through the way she appears to have started but for me the jury is still out until the words become actions.

This last week, following the speech, has seen some market turmoil. It appears that many in the money markets thought that the UK would not really leave and have now been battered with a great big reality stick. Anyone with half a brain should of seen this coming but, I guess, banker and brain is a bit of an oxymoron.

It seems clear to me that Mrs May is planning to execute the will of the people! Much has been said about hard or soft Brexit of late and many of the more liberal in our society were hoping for the soft version whereby we leave in name but maintain full membership rights and obligations. WTF are they thinking? There was a simple question on the ballot paper: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” and a majority chose the leave option. Leaving the EU always entailed us not paying into the EU, leaving the single market and repealing all EU law and governance. This is what leaving the EU means. A Norway, Switzerland or other concoction would not be leaving the EU at all. It would merely be changing the conditions of membership.

I am currently in Germany, working. The value of my pound here has taken a bit of a bashing so I speak from a personal experience when I say it is worth every penny. I read an article long before the referendum that stated the pound was 10% – 15% overvalued and that sooner or later there would be a correction. It seems we are being corrected. The fall in currency will not have an immediate effect on most people. The price of imported goods will go up and holidays abroad will be a little more expensive but overall I suspect the correction will be a positive thing. If we now leave without a trade deal and face tariffs with the EU it will not really raise the price of UK goods in Europe but will kill the imports from the EU as we will have the exchange rate and the tariffs to add to yesterday’s prices. I’m sure the 800,000 cars we imported from Germany last year will be not be as popular this year.

Interestingly, I am working out here with guys from Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Belgium and generally they have the same tolerance for the EU bureaucrats that I do. But they are not generally expecting to follow our route to freedom. I think they just accept that is the way it is mostly and are so reliant on the EU that they do not see life without it.

The current noises coming from the EU seem to echo the sentiment of the establishment before the referendum with tales of gloom and doom if we do not do as we are told. Talks of punishment for having the audacity to not want to be part of the EU anymore are exactly why many wanted to leave. The EU is demonstrating that it will do whatever it takes to control the masses and has made it clear that the UK must be punished to prevent others rising in protest against the elite few.

I am struggling a little to comprehend the mindset of those in the EU that think they have a right to control their people in such a manner. It can only be a matter of time before the populace realise that they are being controlled and it seems that this will inevitably lead to an uprising. There are a few EU countries that have hard right candidates that are gaining proper strength and whilst some of these (maybe even most) are not conventional politicians that does not seem to be as much of a barrier as it was yesterday.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not favour anarchy as it is not in the best interest of all. The EU elite need to wake up and listen before the whole thing implodes on them. A trading partnership between sovereign states is a good thing but forming a superstate with a ruling elite is really not so different to the way of the royals of old, and look how that ended…

George Osborne – Are You Scared Yet?

I just sat through the Andrew Neil interview of Mr Osborne and am thinking that the end of the world is nigh…

I must admit I am more than a little bored of the rhetoric from both sides now and I hear I am not alone. Tonight Mr Osborne pushed me that little bit further away giving them the time of day.

I understand, and appreciate, that he may have a genuine passion for his beliefs but for me that is not at all how it came across. From where I sat it was nothing more than a blatant attempt to scare anyone listening into voting remain on the basis that if they did not their lifestyle would be lost forever in the biggest recession that had ever happened in the UK.

I thought Andrew Neil did a good job with the interview and he did an excellent job of pulling some old footage of Mr Cameron making various statements that he would now wish nobody had ever recorded. I chuckled as David told of how the UK would be OK outside of the EU and we did not need to be concerned. My chuckle picked up a notch to hear him say that he was going to Europe to negotiate free movement and that he would not be taking no for an answer. By the time he was declaring that he would stop child benefit leaving the UK and being sent home I was finding it hard to contain myself. But Mr Osborne just sat there and did his very best to defend his boss. He really didn’t seem to see the irony of it in the slightest. He was in complete denial and if I hadn’t of seen it I would have assumed he was deaf, blind and totally unaware of anything around him.

Anyone that watched that could not have seriously believed that he has any integrity at all. As far as George is concerned it does not matter in the least what promises his party have made, it does not matter how blatant the lies and how misleading the numbers. We just must do as he says because he has listened to a whole bunch of people that have never managed to get it right about the economy before. If we don’t, we face a 6% hit to growth (that is not as bad as the 7.2% we lost in GDP in 2008). Just to make sure he appealed to a wide enough audience he then claimed an 18% drop in house prices.

One thing that troubles me. Why do we need a chancellor that obviously could not run the UK budget post Brexit. He has made it perfectly clear that he feels a Brexit economy is beyond his capability.

Andrew Neil then drew his attention to a poster with his face on that had a backdrop claiming each household would be £4200 a year worse off after Brexit. He stood by this and made every effort to support the numbers even once it was pointed out that his own treasury has stated that the number should not be used as it was not at all representative of the facts.

Definitely a man you can trust then, a true man of integrity.

Just to balance the argument, Brexit have quoted a somewhat ambiguous number on the side of their bus. I am not defending it but at least I can see where it comes from.

If this is how the game will play out over the coming weeks then I think remain is digging an ever deeper burial pit for themselves. I hope that the public can see this for what it is and not be railroaded into a vote of fear. The tempo has been rising over the last week and it seems to be the remain campaign that is clutching at straws.

It seems unlikely to me that Brexit will come out of this on top for the same reasons that the Scottish referendum was lost. Many people will vote to stay because they worry that Brexit might change their way of life for the worst. I have heard a number of people quote some of the distorted remain campaign reasoning to qualify their intended action. Before you do the same just consider that a vote to stay does not mean a vote to stay the same. There are many things occurring in the EU that will affect life in the UK and the longer we stay the less recognisable the UK will become.

Whilst I support exit, I have friends that do not agree. All I hope is that everyone will look at the facts (if they can cut through the spin) and make their decision based upon their belief and not their fear. Whatever happens on June 23 2016 the country will still be here on June 24 and our elected leaders will do what they have been elected to do.

 

The £350 Million per Week Debate

I watched Mr Gove tonight on Sky News and was a little surprised at the reaction to the question asking him to explain the claim that £350 million a week is sent to the EU.

It would appear that this has touched a raw nerve with the electorate. After all, this number has been disputed and ridiculed by a large number of people on both sides of the argument.

So, I thought I might offer some words to hopefully clear up some of the ambiguity. First and foremost it is true that this is a gross figure. In a word that means it is the amount that we commit to up front. We receive a rebate on this and a portion of this money is also spent back in the UK on various subsidies such as farming. The nett figure is around half of the headline number and this is the amount that is left to pay after the numbers are adjusted.

It is true that if Brexit would have quoted the figure at £175 million per day then it would not be questioned now and would not be an issue. As Brexit have quoted the higher figure then it has created some distrust and this is unfortunate because the lower figure is not a true reflection of the cost. The rebate that we receive is not a given right and there are 27 countries in the EU that have to agree that we should carry on receiving it, only a fool would believe that it will always be there. And the money that is spent in the UK is also negotiable and we have no choice on where it is spent.

The best way I can think to describe it is that I am your energy supplier and I am going to charge you £350 a month for your energy. I will give you a monthly rebate of, say, £75 but I get to decide how long I will keep giving you the discount and how much I will give you. Your actual energy bill is £175 a month so I still have £100 of your money and I choose to give it to someone to come and clean you house for you. You have no say in what I spend it on but I have decided what is best for you. Oh, and next month I might decide that I am not going to pay for your cleaner anymore.

On this basis you are paying a gross amount of £350 but as the net amount is only £175 a month you should be grateful…

This is the difference between the numbers that Brexit have been touting and the numbers that people think they should of used. You make you own mind up, are you giving me £350 a month or is it only £175?

 

Does Anybody Know the Facts?

The Facts

If you are looking for facts on the EU referendum I fear that you are never going to find them. There is only one fact and that is, quite simply, that nobody knows the facts. It is in the interest of those that hold the aces to make it that way. It worked in the Scottish referendum and old dogs do not learn new tricks.

I genuinely would prefer to be a part of a collaborative group of countries that worked together as fair and beneficial trading partners. The fact is that the EU is striving to remove the partner element of this to become a single federalist entity. This really is a fact, the EU is not hiding anything and is heading ever closer to its unstated goal of becoming, essentially, the United States of Europe.

At the next general election who will you vote for? It is getting the stage where it really does not matter as the elected government is essentially only executing the directives that are issued from Brussels. A quick look through the upcoming intended legislation will show you that we are only going to see more of this in the next few years.


 

Remian

The Remain Campaign would have you believe that you can vote for the status quo. If we vote to stay then we are led to believe that we are voting for the safety of things remaining the same. This is a fatally flawed assumption as it does not need a great deal of insight to see that the EU is changing. Many European countries are struggling and the European Union has a ticking time bomb in the Euro. The economies of Greece, Italy, Spain and others are in turmoil and there is no end in sight. The UK has managed to distance itself from some of this by our abstinence from the Euro, imagine if that had been different. It is highly likely that the whole Eurozone will end up under a highly controlled Eurozone regulator that will remove the ability of the members to have any local control of their economies. If we stay will this end up as a millstone around our necks? Absolutely! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that an under-performing Europe will hold back the UK.

The Remains argue constantly that if we want reform we can only do it from within. This is just not true. Many years have been spent trying to change the direction of Europe. David went to the other European leaders to bring about just a few small changes and mostly failed when you look at what he actually achieved.


 

Brexit

The Brexit Campaign cannot answer the question on most people’s lips either. What will life be like after the EU? There is no definitive answer to this because the government never had any intention of this being a fair and reasonable contest. A responsible government would have explored options before a referendum was even called in the same way that a responsible government would be planning right now in case they do not get the answer that they want. But no, Mr Cameron does not even seem to have considered that he may not get his own way. Only a few months ago he was leading us to believe that he would lead the UK out of the EU if he could not negotiate a better deal. Today he tells us that leaving would be big mistake and that we would be taking a leap into the dark.


The £350M per Week

There has been much talk of the money that we pay to the EU from Brexit and much defence from Remain. It is true that the figure often quoted is a gross number and does not include the rebate that we receive or the money that is returned to the UK for various reasons such as the common agriculture policy payments made to our farmers and various other funds that are distributed. So it would seem that the number that should be discussed is our nett contribution? Well, not quite. We do receive a rebate, negotiated by our very own Iron Lady, but this is not a given right and is due for review in four years time. Of the cash that is returned to the country we have no say in where this goes and how it is used. How would you feel if your employer took a chunk of your wages and distributed it to things they thought were good for you?


The Economy

The stories of the economy crashing on exit is a complete scam. It is likely to have some impact until the dust settles but the smart money already knows that this is not going to happen. If it was really a likely scenario then the smart money would have already left. It has not…

The most likely outcome is that very little will change. It is not in anybody’s interest for the UK to totally detach from Europe. We are the world’s fifth largest economy and we consume a lot of product from Europe. Our financial markets are among the biggest in the world and we are not playing on a European stage but on a truly international one.

As part of the EU the UK can only ever hope to muddle along with it and stay at the front. By tying our future to the stagnant economies that for the EU it is unlikely that we can raise far above it. The EU may have 550 million consumers but they are not exactly affluent right now and  there are many growing economies that are not part of our club that we can not trade with without the rules imposed upon us by those looking after their own interests.


Immigration

The immigration figures last week were not what anybody wanted to hear. The truth is that the figures are probably a lot better than they could have been as they are not telling the whole story. The number of national insurance numbers that were issued in the same period is a much bigger number and gives a better idea about the number of new people that came to the UK to work. Of course, the details of this statistic is not available.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Only Six Weeks Until We Vote

Well, the last few months have been interesting. Oh no, what am I thinking. The last few months have been incredibly frustrating.

Our elected leaders have been playing with us. Should we believe the Remain or the Brexit camp? The only truth is that neither know the future, irrespective of the decision the electorate take on June 23.

It seems to me that the Remain campaign sees the reliance on our insecurities as the route to victory and are hell bent on attacking their opposition by claiming that the Brexit brigade cannot provide a definitive answer as to what the future will look like outside of the EU.

If we decide to stay there are absolutely no guarantees what the future holds as a minority participant in a growing superstate. How will other member states now consider the UK once it has rolled over and complied with its wishes? How long will our EU contribution rebate last once we declare that we are not going anywhere anytime soon? How long before the hand is held out for a greater contribution to help fund the growing financial downfall that the EU seems to want to ignore and pretend is not happening.

If we elect to leave then it is true that we are walking into the unknown. Mr Cameron knew exactly what he was doing when he called the referendum as very short notice. The biggest decision that the country will make in a whole generation and only a few months to try to prepare. There was never any hope that anyone could organise a clean exit in that time frame and it was a more than safe bet that the public could be persuaded that it was safer to stay the same. Exactly the same sort of tactic was used to persuade the Scottish that they were better off with the devil they knew as they did not know what might come next.

As I said in a previous post I am actually pro-Europe in principle, just not at the price of becoming a tiny cog in a growing and out of control machine. The union is looking to grow further and the next generation of cheap immigrant labour will soon be upon us. Integration is a good thing but the pace needs control, have we learnt nothing from the past?

But, what am i Thinking? Mr Cameron bought us back a whole new deal from Europe and we are now to benefit from reforms that make the whole deal a whole lot better. It must be true or David would not be asking us to remain. He did say (well as much as any politician ever actually says anything…) that if he could not reach a deal he would lead us out. That may not of been his actual words but it was certainly the impression he was giving. Well he got his deal, the EU told him that he cannot choose how he spends the tax revenue that the UK collects from our citizens but they did agree that we could be excused from ever closer union. That is a relief, but I am not sure how we can avoid ever closer union when the EU makes laws that we must comply with and turns over the decisions of our judges and elected representatives.  How long did it take us to extradite Abu Hamza? and how much did it cost us all?

Of course, if i was a cynic I might point out the the referendum result is not actually legally binding and if we vote to leave I will not be at all surprised to see some serious swerving. Technically speaking, only a vote in the house of commons can start the exit process and while it might be political suicide it is not beyond imagination to think that there might be thorn or two that will stand their ground to show us who is really in charge. Or maybe a defeated leader might just call an early general election to allow a chance to claim a new mandate if they are voted back into power.

I’m just getting started now. Keep an eye out over the next few days….

To EU or not to EU?

Well, on June 23 2016 the UK will vote to decide our future in the EU.

Now, I am not a Eurosceptic and have always been Pro European but I cannot dent that recent events have tainted my previous position to the extent that I have serious doubts as to whether we are in the right club.

Like many others I have often despaired over the news stories that have surfaced that have highlighted our inability to make decisions as a sovereign country but I always assumed that if our leaders wanted or needed to act then they had that power.

Mr Cameron showed us last week just how little power the UK government has to govern our country. Don’t get me wrong, I think he achieved more than most thought was even possible but in the end he was told that he could not make a decision on how the UK spent its tax revenues without approval from the un-elected state heads of Europe. That does not sit well with me.

And today, Boris Johnson has joined the game. It will not influence my decision but it will certainly make the contest more interesting. Yesterday Mr Cameron could argue that his opponents were mainly fringe politicians that were not terribly credible. Now the twice elected Mayor of London and a fellow Etonian stands with an opposing view on one of the biggest decisions the UK has made in decades.