Germany (still) calling
Chancellor Merkel is struggling to put together a coalition government and many experienced EU commentators believe that little progress can be made with Brexit negotiations until Germany is able to make the decisions – it could take months. This tells us a lot about the distorted power structure of the EU, which would hardly wait for any other national government to re-form following an indecisive election. We described the situation in some detail in May this year (see Germany calling the shots).
Sir James Dyson says, “I don’t think they’ll do a deal. You can’t negotiate with that lot, as I’ve found out from 24 years of sitting on European committees for Dyson. No non-German company has ever won anything, and nobody has ever been able to block any suggestion from the German cartel. Never. They stifle innovation, the EU. And the European Court of Justice, well, that’s frankly crooked.” (The Telegraph Magazine, 18 November 2017). Sir James is also the owner of the largest farming business in the country (33,000 acres) and receives £1.6 million in CAP subsidies, “peanuts once you’ve followed the demands Brussels makes of farmers”.
Is the EU Trying to Steal Your Money?
What could you do with £1,000? Whatever it is, that’s about equivalent to how much the EU seeks to squeeze out of every one of us for daring to leave the club. What would you do if your circumstances changed and your income dropped? Would you think about spending less or try to rob your neighbours so you didn’t have to?
Back to James Dyson, “I do not see leaving the European Union as a disaster at all. It’s a very minor blip if you’re exporting to Europe; that’s it. It’s actually a disaster for Europe, because it’ll cost them a lot more to export to us.” Dyson is a major British manufacturer and exports 90% of its output. Lord Bamford (Chairman of the JCB excavator company, another major exporter) takes a similar view: “The CBI really only represents 20 companies in my view and they are multinational and not British – something like Unilever, Royal Dutch Shell,” he said, castigating the pro-Remain lobby group. Both are examples to others who need to see the opportunities beyond the diminishingly-important EU market.
Yet the UK Government is thought to be about to offer a big increase to the £18 billion divorce settlement May suggested at the EU’s Florence summit meeting. At least they are saying that this will be dependant on the kind of deal agreed.
Peace in One Nation
The most passionate Europhile would surely agree that the EU has its flaws even if they think those are minor, or will get fixed, or are outweighed by the benefits. But the flaws are extremely serious and the benefits are arguable. The European Union (and its forerunners) was conceived as a project for peace but built on the premise that a ‘unified’ continent would abolish the tensions between nations because there would only be one nation, and how could that possibly be at war with itself? Civil wars are often the most brutal however. Of course if we were all exactly alike we would have no reason to hate each other (arguably). So the goal has become to create one nation with little to distinguish its parts. This is unrealistic and fraught with danger; it is also clear that it’s not happening.
Papers from the EU’s Brexit working Group reveal that the Irish are demanding a solution to the border issue as a pre-condition to starting trade talks. The UK must continue to abide by the “rules of the internal market and the customs union” and there must be “no emergence of regulatory divergence” from the rules. That of course is not Brexit, very little would have changed except that we would have no say in future laws and regulations and no representation at the ECJ that would rule over us. This is impermissible. The suggestion that Northern Ireland, at least, remain in the SM/CU would precipitate a Unionist/Nationalist face off – what are they thinking of? The EU has proved adept at finding solutions to problems it wants to solve. Only if a trade deal is being considered can we see what border problems would still need to be fixed.
Britain and Ireland could sort this out between themselves if the EU got out of the way, they managed that very well for decades. The Irish must look after their own interests, not just self-interest but enlightened self-interest; our mutual interest, not mutually-assured damage. Why anyway is Ireland so keen to remain welded to countries they do less trade with than countries like the UK and US that are their major partners?
Keep on voting
Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, wants a referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal. It’s a far more complex question than IN or OUT so presumably the ignorant public, who didn’t understand what they were voting for in the 2016 Referendum, will be even less qualified the second time. The point of referendums is to ask the voters to decide broad questions, but they expect Parliament and the Government to sort out the implementation details. The Lib-Dems were critical of the Tory decision to hold the first referendum, claiming it was too complex – what hypocrisy.
Allegedly ignorant locals hanged a monkey, the sole survivor of a sunken French ship of Napoleon’s fleet, because it was dressed in a French uniform. They thought it was a French spy, never having met an actual Frenchman. Now the makers of War Horse have created a play insulting the intelligence of the people of Hartlepool for overwhelmingly voting to Leave the EU, thus showing they are as stupid now as 200 years ago.
But why did people really vote out? Can surveys give us the true answer? Or do they get answers according to the prompts they give? Do people choose an easy, simple explanation rather than struggle with their inchoate ‘feelings’ that the EU doesn’t work for them and threatens who they think they are (their culture)? Can they be persuaded to agree that it’s about something they can put a finger on, like immigration, even if the cause lies deeper?
One size fits all?
European Commission documents show that Brussels has more than £2.7million to fund 84 projects across the UK and continent that aim to “reach out to citizens who reject or put in question the EU and its achievements or remain indifferent”. The report states that the “general objectives” are to “contribute to citizens’ understanding of the Union, its history and diversity; to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level”.
It adds: “Such debates or activities are expected to enable participants to deepen their knowledge of the EU… [and] understand the cost of not being part of the EU.”
One project in Wales, worth £136,276 (€150,000), warned that Brexit had “jeopardised the fundamental structure of the EU” and that “Euroscepticism is on the rise” with “phenomena like ignorance towards European programmes”.
The application said: “Activities are planned in a way that a large number of citizens who represent the basis for a long-term co-operation network will be included.”
Outrageously, the aims of this particular project refer to a “possible EU exit” and seeks “ways in which the current European political situation can be preserved”.
Another High-morality Deception
Tory MP and rebel leader, Dominic Grieve QC, tabled an amendment to the Government’s EU Withdrawal bill seeking to keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law; we have to ask why, since he used to oppose it. The UK is already a signatory to (and was the principal author of) the European Convention on Human Rights which is not an EU treaty, nor is its court an EU institution. So what are the benefits of remaining under the EU version? Well, it adds complexity and would keep us under the jurisdiction of the ECJ which is closely interwoven with the Charter, so this looked like a subterfuge by a key Remainer.
It is also a typical subterfuge by the EU. It was originally part of the proposed EU Constitution, rejected by the French in a referendum but incorporated in the Lisbon Treaty. The UK negotiated an opt out, or so it believed until the ECJ ruled that we didn’t.
The purpose of the Charter is to support the drive towards Ever Closer Union; the purpose of the Convention is to support human rights. Fortunately the rebels agreed at the last minute to withdraw their amendment on a promise by the Government to show how our common law and Supreme Court are all that’s needed to uphold citizen’s rights. This is all explained in detail in a paper by Lawyers for Britain, a link to which can be found here.