Category Archives: independence

Is the Brexit penny finally dropping?


Probably not – but there are some hopeful sign that cracks are beginning to appear in the solidarity of the Fourth Reich.

Last week, a report was leaked saying that attempts to punish Britain for having the audacity to want to be an independent nation could backfire on individual EU nations and cause them ‘economic difficulties’ as our contributions fill a dirty great hole in their budget that would have to – surprise, surprise! – be made good by raiding the coffers of the remaining 27.

Poland is concerned about reduced exports ‘especially agricultural and agri-food products’ not to mention the employment prospect for their builders, electricians, plumbers and fruit pickers who frequent the UK market place.

Holland’s fishing sector is very worried about the prospect of losing access to UK waters, with the provinces of Flevoland and Overijssel predicting a potential drop of 60 per cent in fishing business. Ditto the Spanish trawler operators. Hull’s fishermen are understandable quite happy at the prospect of rebuilding their ailing businesses…

In the French region of Hauts-de-France – the birthplace of President Emmanuel Macron – they’re worried a punishment Brexit deal would harm their car manufacturing sector. VW and Mercedes in Germany are equally worried given the large percentage of their sales that are made in the UK.

And while all this is going on, the Germans can’t form a government leaving the poor old Great Germanian project floundering around like a headless chicken.

Indeed, it seems to be dawning on the EU that the failure to strike a deal with Britain is going to hurt them a lot more than it’s going to hurt us. The mystery is why it has taken so long for the penny to drop. We’ve all known for some time that we have a huge trade surplus with the EU and that the imposition of WTO tariffs after Brexit would bring in billions in extra tax revenues. We’ve all known that we are a huge contributor to the EU budget.

So they need a deal. The reality is that frankly we could do quite nicely without one…

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Labour is painful…

Corbyn and Watson - together forever (or maybe not...)

Corbyn and Watson – together forever (or maybe not…)

Yes, indeed labour is painful. My wife will bear me out on this point. Once was enough. But that’s not the labour I’m referring to. I’m referring to the Labour Party.

Now call me naive, but I thought the whole point of the Labour Party was to protect workers rights and stand up for the working man against unfair treatment by employers. You know, protecting their members’ jobs and that sort of thing. Indeed they seemed to be doing exactly that when they took the government to task for not stepping in to prop up the ailing Welsh steel workers. I dislike Labour intensely, but to be fair to them they were doing what their members pay them to do.

So why is it that when the government talks to Nissan to persuade them to build two new models in Sunderland and to invest in a post Brexit UK that Labour’s Shadow Chancellor feels he has to take them to task over it. Bit contradictory isn’t it?

And the latest joke came today when Jeremy Corbyn threatened to force a General Election unless Theresa May reveals details of the Brexit strategy. Speaking yesterday, Corbyn outlined his red lines for supporting Brexit.

Single market access (You don’t have to be in the single market to access it)
No watering down of EU workplace rights (Nobody is suggesting there will be!)
Guarantees on safeguarding consumers and the environment (A bit vague)
A promise to fund any EU capital investments lost by Brexit (Already promised)

So not really anything to worry about really, is there? Mind you, it sounds good that you’re demanding these things as long as you don’t mention that they’re already in the pipeline.

And when he was asked whether he would call for an early election if his so-called demands weren’t met, he got all shirty, complained of press harassment and did a runner.

Within hours of this Whitehall Farce, his deputy Tom Watson was already shooting him down on flames. Watson said “We’re not going to hold this up. The British people have spoken and Article 50 will be triggered when it comes to Westminster. We want to protect workers’ rights, we want to protect companies’ right to trade in the single market, tariff-free, we want to support jobs, we want to make sure people don’t lose out, but we’re certainly not going to hold up Article 50 if we don’t get the deal.”

That’s the deal Mr Watson’s actually already got, but still it does sound good. And what about Mr Corbyn threatening to side with pro-EU Tories to bring down the government? Well, no Tory MP is going to bring down his own party in government no matter how pro-EU he or she is. It would be political suicide. And even if Labour apply a three line whip, Corbyn has defied such a whip himself as a backbencher so often that the majority of the PLP would laugh at him. That’s the same PLP, remember, that passed a vote of no confidence in him earlier this year.

The fact is that this is all showmanship. He’s demanding something he’s going to get anyway and losing sight of the fact that he simply doesn’t have enough votes to force a confidence motion even if his entire party voted as he told them. It’s a simple numbers game.

Yes, Labour really is very, very painful…

£350 million anyone?

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It irritated the hell out of me during last night’s EU debate how Remain banged on about the £350 million on the side of the Leave battle bus.

As Boris explained, this is the amount we pay over without any control over how it’s spent. Yes, we get some back, but the point is we have now control over how that is spent. The bus clearly says – ‘We send the EU £350 million every week” which in my view is unambiguous if you can read and understand basic English!

We send it to them (look at the picture above!). They decide how much we send them. GDP goes up, the EU ups our ‘contribution’. Remember the £1.7 billion they demanded that Cameron and Osborne said they wouldn’t pay – and then did?

We get a rebate. That’s not guaranteed and can be withdrawn at any time by the EU. There’s no control over that. Kiss it goodbye overnight if Brussels says so.

We get money back from the EU. We have no control over where it is spent. They put up lots of signs telling us they fund this that or the other project. They’re very good at self publicity. But the fact is that the EU decides where we spend our own money in our own country. So much for sovereignty!

And Sturgeon’s claim that for every £1 we hand over we get £10 back was the most ludicrous claim I’ve heard so far from Remain…

Scotland and Project Fear

Let me say I’m not Scottish and I’m not an Englishman living in Scotland. I’ve only visited there once in the last 40 years and that was this year. I liked what I saw. I have a couple of friends that live near Glasgow. So – end of affinity with the place and, hopefully, a fairly unbiased view on the independence issue unveiled yesterday.

Right up front I have to say that I’m a little concerned about the code for the campaign for the ‘No’ vote : Project Fear. This seems to rather sum up the attitude of the ‘No’ team and strikes a chord with the campaign against UKIP. As Farage puts it “If you can’t win the argument then you need to discredit the other side.” On other words, brand them as a bunch of hapless irresponsible lunatics who should be written off out of hand.

Such tactics are unworthy of our elected representatives. But then, what’s new?…

Let’s look at the issues that have so far been thrown up by the ‘No’ team and see if they hold water.

The SNP say that they want to retain Sterling as the Scottish currency. The ‘No’ team say this won’t be possible. Why not? There’s lots of smaller countries still using it. There was a time when most of the Commonwealth used it. It’s a better choice than the Euro. Call it something else if you like and then peg it at par to Sterling, what’s the difference?

Ah, yes – that would mean that the Bank of England wouldn’t have overall control of the currency. Well, we already have a Bank of Scotland that issues its own notes. They already have devolved authority. Lots of diverse countries use the Euro. It’s the same principal.

Then there’s the bitching about keeping the Queen as the head of State. Why is that such an issue? She’s a constitutional monarch not a President. She’s good enough for the Commonwealth nations. She’s good enough for Canada, Australia and New Zealand so why not for Scotland? Have we forgotten that she’s directly in line from King James VI of Scotland? I can’t see the problem.

Then there’s the nukes. We want to keep the nukes in Scotland, but the Scots want them out. However, they want to stay in NATO so again, what’s the problem? They’ll just lease the bases out to raise money and we’ll carry on as usual, won’t we?

On the EU, Scotland says it wants to remain in the EU. The detractors say that might not be possible. The important word here is ‘might’. It’s pure conjecture. Remember Yugoslavia? Well Croatia and Slovenia used to be one country. Now they’re part of the EU. Montenegro used to be part of Yugoslavia but as a small country needed a strong currency so it adopted the Deutchmark – so why shouldn’t Scotland adopt Sterling? When Germany joined the Euro, Montenegro went along so now they’re in the Euro but not in the EU. So explain to me why it ‘might’ not also be possible?

Danny Alexander – the token LibDem at the treasury – has warned that Scottish taxpayers face a £1,000 a year tax increase if Scotland breaks away. But that’s based on the way things are at the moment and surely the entire point of Scottish independence is to change the way things are at the moment, isn’t it? Looks to me like scare tactics and pure conjecture based on meaningless supposition.

And while we’re at it, click to see Alastair Darling’s comments on the publication of yesterday’s SNP white paper. Read it carefully – and then think back to the opening comments in this post. There’s not one single solitary fact in the entire piece. It’s pure scaremongering coupled with rubbishing Alex Salmond, the SNP and the ‘Yes’ campaign. Gutter politics. Discredit the other side because you’ve nothing to say.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface and discussed a few issues, but Scotland deserves a proper debate and it the ‘No’ campaign carries on like this, then they’ll hand votes to the other side on a plate.

And it will serve them right. ‘Project Fear’ indeed! Bloody idiots!