Saturday, 31 August 2019

The EU No One Voted For

The following is a tweet thread that was written on Twitter by a Tweeter called "StatisticusCollegium" (@verumandverus) and is reproduced here with that person's kind permission. 
In 46 years the UK electorate has been allowed 2 votes on EEC/EU matters. Over the same period the EU has changed beyond recognition. Here are just some of the things no-one voted for:
No-one voted for the UK to leave EFTA in 1972. EFTA did not affect agriculture or fisheries and did not operate external tariffs. Countries were free to establish individual customs duties or FTA
No-one voted for the UK to join the European Economic Community in 1972. There were 4 countries in the Accession Treaty and the other 3 were given a referendum. Denmark and Ireland voted yes while Norway voted No 
No-one voted for enlargement of the Community which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 1979 whereby Greece joined the EC 
No-one voted for further enlargement of the Community which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 1985 whereby Spain and Portugal joined the EC
No-one voted for further enlargement of the Union which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 1994 whereby Austria, Finland & Sweden joined the EU. All 3 had a referendum as did Norway who again voted No 
No-one voted for further enlargement of the Union which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 2003 whereby a further 10 countries joined the EU. The Treaty also included changes to voting weights and Qualifed Majority Voting  
No-one voted for further enlargement of the Union which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 2005 whereby Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) was used in the EU parliament and no-one voted for that mechanism either.
No-one voted for further enlargement of the Union which resulted in the Accession Treaty of 2011 whereby Croatia joined the EU. Croatia had a referendum though and Slovenia's objection to the Accession was bought off to the tune of approx €170m. 
No-one voted for the proposed further enlargement of the Union whereby Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey are recognised candidates to join the EU. Serbia and Montenegro are expected to join before 2025.
No-one voted for the Single European Act in 1986. This paved the way for the introduction of the Single Market in 1992 and was the first major revision of the Treaty of Rome 1957 which no-one voted for either.
No-one voted to give the European Parliament an increased role in decision making nor for the change from unanimity to QMV in 12 policy areas. The Single European Act allowed both.
No-one voted for the UK to sign up to an external economic and monetary policy via the Exchange Rate Mechanism in Oct 1990. The UK crashed out less than 2 years later with £ devalued by 17% & interest rates increased twice in one day from 10 to 12 to 15%.
It is estimated the government spent 40% of the our currency reserves trying to prop up the £ and the total cost in lost GDP, jobs and businesses was £700bn. You'll recognise the names involved - Major, Heseltine, Clarke, Hurd.
No-one voted for the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Most Tory MPs hadn't seen the Treaty before being forced to sign it by the government. Douglas Hurd, our chief signatory, admitted he had not read it before signing it.
Maastricht gave birth to the European Union and reinforced the irreversibility of the progress towards 'ever-closer' political union. The Treaty paved the way for the introduction of the Euro and also further economic union.
"Economic" was removed from the EEC's title, fundamentally changing the Community's approach to the Treaty and the ideals of the EU. The European Parliament's powers were increased again by the introduction of co-decision with the Council.
The Social Chapter was tacked on to the Treaty & would enshrine the commitment of Member States to the separate Social Charter of 1989. This gives the EU Commission powers to impose social legislation. UK secured an opt out despite Labour's opposition.
No-one voted for the move to qualified majority voting (QMV) of a further 30 new and existing articles. This brings the total to 42.
3 referendums were held on Maastricht: Ireland yes (69.1%) France yes (51%) Denmark no (50.7%). Despite the margin of victory being almost identical in France and Denmark, inevitably only Denmark was forced to vote again.
Portuguese Foreign Minister reacted by saying "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark" and "only donkeys don't change their minds". Inevitably Denmark voted again and this time 56.7% voted yes. This is a pattern that will emerge.
No-one voted for the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 whereby Member States devolved to the EU, powers in immigration, civil & criminal law and foreign and security policy. Institutional changes were also introduced to prepare for adding new member states.
No-one voted for the Schengen Agreements to be admitted into EU law. And no-one voted to allow our opt-out from the Social Chapter to be given up but Labour allowed it anyway. 24 more areas moved to QMV making a total of 66.
There were 2 referendums held in Ireland (61.7% yes on 56.2% turn out) and Denmark (55.1% yes on 76.2% turn out). Neither were asked to vote again.
No-one voted for the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The institutional structure of the EU was reformed to enable expansion into Eastern Europe. Weighting of votes in the EU Parliament was changed and the number of seats was also increased.
The size of the Commission was reduced and the UK was one of 5 countries to give up its 2nd Commissioner. Another 46 articles were changed from unanimity giving a new total of 112 areas under QMV. "Closer" became "enhanced" co-operation.
As is now the norm Ireland had a referendum on the Treaty. To the surprise of the elite, the previously compliant Irish stayed at home and the majority who voted said No (53.9% on t/out 34.8%). As is now the norm the Irish were forced to vote again.
In the 2nd referendum Ireland voted 62.9% yes on turn out of 49.5%. That was good enough for the elite but Ireland did win a guarantee that the state would not enter an EU mutual defence pact and therefore preserved its neutrality.
No-one voted for the Draft Treaty Establishing The EU created by Altiero Spinelli, an Italian Communist, in 1984 . It was passed by 78% of the EU Parliament but did not pass into law as it was rejected by the Council.
The treaty is in effect a draft constitution and is arguably one of the most influential docs in the development of the EU. It formed the basis of negotiations for the Single European Act in 1986 and Maastricht in 1992.
Some of the principles included in later treaties up to and including Nice: creation of the EU & EU citizenship; subsidiarity; investiture of the Commission; co-decision between Parliament and Council; European Monetary System.
Other main principles not included in Nice were later incorporated in Lisbon (which no-one voted for either). More of that later.
No-one voted for the draft Treaty establishing the Constitution for Europe in 2004 although Tony Blair and Jack Straw saw fit to sign it on our behalf. 4 referendums were held with Spain & Lux voting yes and France & Holland voting no (54.7% & 61.5%).
The ratification process ended and further referendums, including in the UK, were cancelled. This is not the end though. Many of the main objectives miraculously re-appear in Lisbon. Peter Hain's tidying-up exercise would not be swept away easily.
If the Constitution had been passed, 2 principal and 5 accession treaties (which no-one voted for) would be repealed and consolidated into a single document. A new EU with legal entity status and legal personality would be formed.
EU law would have *primacy* over that of the Member States. Charter of Fundamental Rights would have been included in the main text and given legal status. Formal introduction of EU symbols: flag, currency, anthem, motto & Europe Day.
A new Minister of Foreign Affairs; accession to the European Convention on Human Rights; a newly *appointed* President of the Council who would be in post for 2 1/2 years; laid out the distribution of powers between the EU and Member States.
Defined areas of policy where the EU would have *exclusive* competence & those where competence would be shared with Member States. Despite these very major changes ("tidying up") Tony Blair signed up without any consultation with us. Onward to Lisbon.
No-one voted for the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 although Gordon Brown and David Miliband saw fit to sign it on our behalf. The purpose of the Treaty was to finish off what was started by Amsterdam/Nice and to continue the debate on the failed Constitution.
The 3 pillar structure introduced in Maastricht (1. Economic Community 2. Common Foreign & Security Policy 3. Justice & Home Affairs) was removed and with the exception of pillar 2 now come under the legislative procedures of the Union.
This means pillar 1 & 3 (renamed Area of Freedom, Security & Justice) are now, only with certain restrictions, justiciable in the European Court of Justice (which no-one voted for).
There are 71 *major* amendments included in Lisbon. 39 are new provisions but crucially 32 were introduced in the failed un-ratified Constitution of 2004 but transposed into Lisbon anyway.
Giscard D'Estaing, President of the Convention that drew up the failed Constitution said "the institutional proposals of the Constitution are found complete in Lisbon, only in a different order".
"To my surprise and in truth, to my great satisfaction, the 9 main points are repeated word for word in the new project. There is not a single comma that has been changed"
Major areas transposed from the failed Constitution into Lisbon. Explicit statement that Member States confer competence to the EU; Union would accede to European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. 
Number of MEPs defined as min 6 and max 96 per MS; *Appointment* of President of the Council for 2 1/2 years, renewable for 1 term; Defined QMV as at least 55% of MS representing at least 65% of the population (UK 73 MEPs = 9.7% and population = 12.5%).
No. of Commissioners reduced to 2/3 the no. of MS; EU will have legal personality and becomes a separate legal entity; move towards changing method of ratifying treaties from unanimity to QMV; distribution of competences or powers between EU/MS defined.
Measures introduced for cross-border health issues, space policy, energy policy, tourism, civil protection; increase in power of the EU Parliament in passing legislation through co-decision; 46 areas now QMV under co-decision. 
Only 12 provisions in the failed Constitution were not transposed into Lisbon. And most were not in the main text, rather were declarations or protocols.
New provisions in Lisbon: The Union replaced the Community; measures incl on border controls, asylum, immigration & crime; Charter of Fundamental Rights given legal force, becoming EU law with equal status to treaties but is *not* inserted into the text.
European Central Bank now an institution of the Union. Provisions for QMV in Council; Declaration that EU Law has *primacy* over that of Member States; symbols of the Union acknowledged by 16 states. And still no-one voted.
Despite the magnitude of the changes introduced, a number of UK redlines & the Treaty being almost a mirror image of the failed Constitution, the text was agreed by Heads of State, including Gordon Brown, in less than 3 months. A miracle in EU terms.
The next step was to ratify the Treaty. In 2004 Tony Blair offered a UK referendum on the Constitution. Despite Lisbon being almost a carbon copy of the failed Constitution, Gordon Brown reneged on Labour's election promise to hold one.
A High Court case was brought. The court agreed with the Govt in its assertion the referendum was only promised on the Constitution and Lisbon was only a treaty. A further appeal also failed. Still no-one had voted.
All references to the Constitution were removed in the Treaty to make it look like it had been abandoned. MS who had previously rejected the Constitution via referendum also decided to not have another one. France and Holland signed up this time.
As is now the norm Ireland had a referendum on the Treaty. As is now the norm the Irish rejected the Treaty (53.2% no t/out 53.1%). As is now the norm the Irish were forced to vote again. Irish Govt concluded voters had a lack of knowledge. Ring a bell?
So as is the norm Ireland voted again and this time said yes (67.1% yes t/out 59%) but also secured guarantees on abortion, taxation and military neutrality. Perhaps it wasn't lack of knowledge after all. Power to the people.
In fairness to the EU not everything in Lisbon is bad. The Treaty introduced Article 50 which defines voluntary withdrawal from the EU of a Member State. 17.4m of us voted to trigger it in 2016 👏 
No-one voted for the introduction of the Euro as single currency of the Union. Maastricht obliged Member States to replace their currency with €. Of 12 MS at that time 3 had a referendum, UK & Denmark opted out meaning the other 7 replaced their currency without asking.
No-one voted to abolish the Purchase Tax and replace it with VAT. This was a condition of our entry into the EEC and was achieved via the 1972 Accession Treaty & the 1972 Finance Bill which no-one voted for.
The Purchase Tax was introduced as a 'luxury tax' during WWII & applied to items like jewellery, china, porcelain, fur, silk, lace, cosmetics etc. VAT was applied to a much broader range of items & also businesses and services including many essentials.
Examples: clothes & footwear; electrical goods; fruit juice; prams; fuels; water; sweets; alcohol; CDs & DVDs; nuts...VAT is an indirect tax and is now the 3rd largest source of govt revenue. (20b)
We are subject to EU law whereby the standard rate of VAT *cannot* be lower than 15%. Also the EU Council must approve any temporary reduction in the public interest. Even tho no-one voted for it we pay over €3.6bn in VAT to the EU every year. (20c)
In 1975 Referendum pamphlet, Govt used as justification for Remain that Britain had a new deal which wld see us receive £125m back from EU funds w/out mentioning what we would pay. Between 2010-16 our *net* contribution was €80bn. No-one voted for that.
The Govt also said we "would not have to put VAT on necessities like food" But it didn't say what it would be put on (see 20b). "We have also maintained our freedom to pursue our own policies in taxation..." (see 20c above) 
No-one voted to hand over control of our fishing grounds to the EEC. Council regulation 2141/70 was drawn up by the original 6 members just hours before applications to join were received from the UK, Ireland, Norway and Denmark in 1970.
This ensured the issue became part of the negotiations on the Accession Treaty in 1972. The UK first refused to accept the rules but gave way and signed the Accession Treaty anyway. Norway refused and therefore did not join the Community at all.
No-one voted for the Common Fisheries Policy which sets quotas for Member States. Quotas are based on 1970s hauls and as Britain fished extensively outside EU waters up to 1976, arguably our quota is lower than it should be. 
No-one voted to allow policy and decision making to be shared with the EU. It is estimated Britain provides 13% of the water in the EU but is only allowed to catch 30% of the fish in that water. Norway's total quota is 2.5× larger despite being non-EU.
When the UK joined the EEC in 1973 we had 36/198 seats in what is now the EU Parliament. That's 18.18% of the vote and the same as Germany. 
Due to the multiple Accession Treaties, which no-one voted for, the UK's vote has been reduced to 76/751 seats or 9.72%. That's a reduction in voting power of 47%.
Over the same period Germany's vote has been reduced to 96/751 seats or 12.78%. That's a reduction of voting power of only 30%. And no-one voted.
The UK is 2nd highest net contributor to EU budget with 3rd most voting power. Poland is 2nd highest net *recipient* with 5th most voting power. Spain is 3rd highest net *recipient* with 4th most voting power. EU fairness in action.
No-one voted for a system of Proportional Representation to be used to elect our MEPs. This is at odds with our FPTP system but is a rule mandated by the EU (note AV was rejected in a UK-wide referendum in 2011).
This is important as our EU Parliament voting power of 9.72% is split across 10 different parties, some of whom do not speak for the UK (SNP, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru) and therefore our vote is diluted further.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Withdrawal Agreement Votes

It looks increasingly likely that the United Kingdom is heading for a No Deal exit from the European Union.

There are many politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Ian Blackford, Hilary Benn, Dominic Grieve, Sarah Wollaston who are loudly claiming that they are against what they see as a disastrous outcome of No Deal and who say they will stretch every sinew to prevent that outcome.

The only trouble is that they did not stretch every sinew to prevent No Deal. The one thing they could easily have done is to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement. Before getting into the votes let us remind ourselves of what Article 50 actually says:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. 
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period. 
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
For the purposes of this Post I am only interested in the wording of 50(3) above.

To be fair to Mrs May who I thought was a dreadful Prime Minister she repeatedly told the House of Commons that if they did not want No Deal they had to vote for a deal. They declined to do so.

The House of Commons declined to support a deal on 3 separate occasions. Here are the votes

Noe Votes WA1 WA2 WA3
Green 1 1 1
DUP 10 10 10
Labour 253 252 247
Lib Dems 11 11 11
Plaid Cymru 4 4 4
SNP 35 35 34
Sub Total 314 313 307
Conservative 118 78 37
Sub Total 432 391 344
Tellers Noe 2 2 2
Total 434 393 346
Vacant Seat 1 1 1
Speakers 4 4 4
Sinn Fein 7 7 7
Aye 202 242 286
Tellers Aye 2 2 2
Grand Total 650 649 646
The Treaties SHALL CEASE to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

Mrs May and the European Union have unanimously agreed that the period shall be extended to 31st October 2019. Therefore unless Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson requests a further extension AND the EU 27 UNANIMOUSLY agrees to such a request, the United Kingdom shall leave the European Union on 31st October 2019 with or without a deal.

I have little time for our Members of Parliament at present. The Conservative Party actually put in its manifesto (page 35):
The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough and there will be give and take on both sides but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK
Members of Parliament can't really complain. They either did not read the Article 50 and Withdrawal Acts OR they thought that if they voted against the deal Mrs May would revoke the Article 50 notification which to her credit she has declined to do.

No Deal was in the legislation. All the House of Commons had to do to avoid No Deal was to vote through the Withdrawal Agreement. They declined to do so. The consequence of those three separate and deliberate actions is NO DEAL

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Defeat your Conservative MP

According to the article linked here:

Daniel Hannan says:
Under the proposed withdrawal terms, the United Kingdom would remain in the EU’s customs union.
"THE" Customs Union is defined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (Article 28 onwards)

Article 28

1. The Union shall comprise a customs union which shall cover all trade in goods and which shall involve the prohibition between Member States of customs duties on imports and exports and of all charges having equivalent effect, and the adoption of a common customs tariff in their relations with third countries.  
2. The provisions of Article 30 and of Chapter 3 of this Title shall apply to products originating in Member States and to products coming from third countries which are in free circulation in Member States.

Article 30
Customs duties on imports and exports and charges having equivalent effect shall be prohibited between Member States. This prohibition shall also apply to customs duties of a fiscal nature.
Thus if the PM and the Cabinet sign off on the UK staying in "THE" European Union's Customs Union then quite simply the United Kingdom will not have left the European Union and Brexit will not mean Brexit. 

I very much hope that if Mr Hannan's prediction comes to pass and this Prime Minister and the Cabinet sign off on betraying the votes and will of 17 million electors that this will cause real problems electorally for the Conservative Party. 

Put simply it is up to leave voters to vote tactically to unseat those Conservative MP's that have small parliamentary majorities. There are 57 Conservative MP's with majorities of less than 4000 votes.

Aberconwy, Angus, Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock, Banff & Buchan, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Bolton West (Anna Soubry), Calder Valley, Camborne & Redruth, Carlisle, Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South, Cheltenham, Chingford & Woodford Green (Iain Duncan Smith), Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers), Cities of London & Westminster

Clwyd West, Copeland, Corby, Crawley, Derbyshire North East, Finchley & Golders Green, Gordon, Harrow East, Hastings & Rye (Amber Rudd), Hendon, Mansfield, Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East, Milton Keynes North (Mark Lancaster), Milton Keynes South, Morecambe & Lunesdale

Morley & Outwood (Andrea Jenkyns), Northampton North, Northampton South, Norwich North, Ochil & South Perthshire, Pendle, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Pudsey, Putney, Reading West, Richmond Park, Rossendale & Darwen, Scarborough & Whitby, Southampton Itchen, Southport

St Ives, Stevenage, Stirling, Stoke on Trent South, Swindon South, Telford, Thurrock, Truro & Falmouth, Vale of Glamorgan, Walsall North, Watford, Worcester.

Since the Conservative Parliamentary Party is intent on holding the settled wish of 17 million voters in contempt, it is up to the electors to return the compliment.

Please vote tactically and strategically for that candidate most likely to unseat the sitting Conservative MP 


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Deadly Earnest

If there was any doubt by anyone that the European Union is not serious in its Notices to Stakeholders then they should remove those doubts now. The European Union (EU) is most definitely serious. 

The EU has published more documents such as this one on  
"Communication on preparing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU"or this one on "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019"
which again lay out the position in various scenarios. 
Main consequences of scenario 2: withdrawal on 30 March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement 
  • The United Kingdom will be a third country and Union law ceases to apply to and in the United Kingdom.  
  • Citizens: There would be no specific arrangement in place for EU citizens in the United Kingdom, or for UK citizens in the European Union.  
  • Border issues: The European Union must apply its regulation and tariffs at borders with the United Kingdom as a third country, including checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Transport between the United Kingdom and the European Union would be severely impacted. Customs, sanitary and phytosanitary controls at borders could cause significant delays, e.g. in road transport, and difficulties for ports.  
  • Trade and regulatory issues: The United Kingdom becomes a third country whose relations with the European Union would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation. In particular, in heavily regulated sectors, this would represent a significant drawback compared to the current level of market integration.  
  • Negotiations with the United Kingdom: Depending on the circumstances leading to the withdrawal without an agreement, the EU may wish to enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom as a third country.  
  • EU funding: UK entities would cease to be eligible as Union entities for the purpose of receiving EU grants and participating in EU procurement procedures. Unless otherwise provided for by the legal provisions in force, candidates or tenderers from the United Kingdom could be rejected.
The legacy media has reported some of this but with no real analysis and with the sub text that somehow the European Union is being spiteful to the United Kingdom. 

As EUReferendum says in the latest blogpost:
Hardly anyone in the politico-media nexus, it seems, is prepared to lay out with any clarity the full extent of the consequences of a "no deal" Brexit, the overall impression being that it is somehow tolerable, with maybe a few problems round the edges.
The European Union is publishing these documents because Mrs Theresa May, the Conservative MP for Maidenhead, the Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister said in answer to a Scottish Nationalist Party MP in the House of Commons recently "unequivocally" that the United Kingdom will leave the Single Market, the European Economic Area (EEA). 

The Prime Minister is doing this because she has been persuaded by her former Special Advisor (SpAd) Nick 'Rasputin' Timothy that the EEA equals the European Union. It doesn't. Rather like the Tsarina Alexandra however, Mrs May cannot be persuaded that her 'Rasputin' is in error.

The European Economic Area (EEA) is a vast geographical area from Iceland to Greece and Portugal to Poland of which the European Union is part.

In leaving the EEA, the United Kingdom leaves the regulatory union. Various Conservative Politicians like John Redwood, Peter Lilley and Jacob Rees-Mogg have said that this makes no difference because the UK will have the same standards on Brexit day as it did before.

This is true. The point of leaving the single market (EEA) though is so that the United Kingdom can unilaterally deviate from those standards the day after Brexit day if it so chooses and it is that situation that the European Union wants to guard against. Thus it is enforcing the Non Tariff Barriers. 

The blogger Pete North has recently published a "Janet and John" tweet thread. It is superb and I reproduce some of it below:
A strange disease stalks the land. When a person is confronted by well documented consequences of leaving the EU without a deal they simply grunt "Project fear!". This is odd because we are not talking about Brexit economic projections... 
You see, at the moment we have a deal. We have EU membership. We are part of the treaties. And if we leave and we do not secure a withdrawal agreement and subsequent arrangements for trade then we do not have a deal. The Treaties shall cease to apply. 
For the hard of thinking, that means that we leave the treaties of the EU. No formal agreement exists between the EU and the UK. We will have left the EU. One turns to zero. On becomes Off. What was once permitted is then not permitted.
Mrs Theresa May who represents the United Kingdom has said the United Kingdom is leaving the Single Market

Mrs Theresa May's "Chequers" White Paper states that the United Kingdom is "proposing the establishment of a free trade area for goods". Services are excluded from this imagined free trade area. As reported before this is cherry-picking by the United Kingdom Government and the European Union has continually said that cherry-picking is not on the table, it is not possible.

It cannot be repeated often enough. The European Union is NOT doing this to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is doing this to itself. 

The European Union is not unreasonably taking the White Paper as the UK Government's final position. The EU is consequently making contingency plans based on this position. The impact on the United Kingdom of its self imposed decisions are enormous. It is going to be a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride.

Be in no doubt, the European Union is in deadly earnest.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Disaster Darling

The United Kingdom Government has now published its White Paper "The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union". In this document the Government states that it wants a new trading relationship that ensures 
continued frictionless access at the border to each other’s markets for goods.
In order to deliver this goal;
the Government is proposing the establishment of a free trade area for goods. 
The White Paper does not mention services. 

The only land border between the United Kingdom and the European Union is the Irish Border. 

EUReferendum posted a blogpost about this on 13th July 2018 quoting Michel Barnier, the European Union negotiator thus:
the UK "chooses to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. It will be a third country in two years from now". And, by making this choice, the UK "will naturally find itself in a less favourable situation than that of a Member State". It will not be possible, Barnier said, "to cherry-pick and be a participant in parts of the Single Market".
By stating that the Government wants a free trade in goods, the Government is cherry-picking.

I find the diagram on Page 86 of the White Paper headed "structure of the Future Partnership" reproduced at the head of this post very troubling. Under 'The Governing Body' it states the following:
"The Governing Body would provide for leaders and ministers from the UK and EU to give direction to the development of the future relationship - making decisions about how and when changes to the relationship were necessary and ensuring accountability to our parliaments."
If EU leaders and ministers are on the Governing Body giving direction and making decisions, surely the United Kingdom is still subject to the EU. In what way is this "Brexit means Brexit" or the United Kingdom leaving the European Union?

I would like much more detail and clarity on what the Government is saying but I think that might be a deal breaker for some leave minded politicians. It certainly ought to be if the text means what I think it means.

According to "The Sun";  'Ministers draw up secret plans to stockpile processed food in case of 'no deal' Brexit':
The Sun can reveal that includes emergency measures to keep Britain’s massive food and drinks industry afloat - including stockpiling ahead of exit day on 29 March next year. More than £22 billion worth of processed food and drinks are imported in to the UK - 97 per cent from the EU - in an industry that keeps 400,000 workers employed in the UK. Similar stockpiles are also being prepared for medical supplies amid fears of chaos at British ports next year.
This blogger has warned before about the possibility of issues at the channel ports and in my last post on Brexit Preparedness about the possible dangers to air travel of No Deal.

Now EUReferendum reports that 
However, rather than examples of sensible planning, responses are being cast as gesture politics, to show Brussels that "no deal" is not a bluff. Yet, Brussels is way ahead of the game. With the White Paper being framed by some as the last and best "offer" from the UK government, the Commission is taking it as the most explicit confirmation that the Brexit negotiations are on the rocks.

To illustrate that the European Union does indeed think the talks are in trouble, according to "The Irish Times", the European Union 
Despite an upbeat welcome in Brussels for the UK’s White Paper, the 27 EU member states have been warned to step up their contingency planning for a Brexit no-deal.

The arrogance of the Prime Minister surpasses all understanding however. Having been persuaded by her former Special Advisor Nick "Rasputin" Timothy (falsely) that the European Economic Area equals the European Union (it doesn't) Mrs May is determined to leave the EEA with all the dire economic consequences that presages. 

According to this article the Prime Minister
claims that rival Commons revolts by warring pro- and anti-Europe Tory MPs threaten to sabotage hopes of winning a post-Brexit deal for Britain. And in a hard-hitting message to Brussels, the Prime Minister says she will not budge an inch on the proposed Brexit deal she agreed with Cabinet Ministers at her Chequers summit.
For instance does she really think that she is the only politician capable of delivering Brexit? In not budging an inch from her position what does she suggest if the European Union will not budge an inch from its position? 

This does not feel very good at all. Quite the contrary actually

As Craig Revel Horwood might say in a different context:

This is a Disaster Darling 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Brexit Preparedness

The following article was recently posted on Twitter it says in part:
European Union member states should prepare their airports and aviation sector for a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission reportedly told diplomats earlier in June. 
The warning was made during a June 12 meeting chaired by Filip Cornelis, the director of aviation at the Commission's transport department, Politico reported. It was attended by diplomats from the EU27 countries as well as representatives from their civil aviation authorities. 
The European Union has published 66 Notices to Stakeholders. Amongst these is one on Aviation Safety published on 13th April 2018. I quote part of it because it is so comprehensive:

  • Certificates issued before the withdrawal date by the competent authorities of the United Kingdom on the basis of the provisions of the Basic Regulation and its implementing rules will no longer be valid as of the withdrawal date in the EU. This concerns in particular:  

  • Certificates of airworthiness, restricted certificates of airworthiness, permits to fly, approvals of organisations responsible for the maintenance of products, parts and appliances, approvals for organisations responsible for the manufacture of products, parts and appliances, approvals for maintenance training organisations, and certificates for personnel responsible for the release of a product, part or appliance after maintenance, issued pursuant to Article 5 of the Basic Regulation;  

  • Pilot licences, pilot medical certificates, certificates for pilot training organisations, certificates for aero-medical centres, certificates for flight simulation training devices, certificates for persons responsible for providing flight training, flight simulation training or assessing pilots' skill, and certificates for aero medical examiners, issued pursuant to Article 7 of the Basic Regulation;  

  • Certificates for air operators and attestations for the cabin crew, issued pursuant to Article 8 of the Basic Regulation;  

  • Certificates for aerodromes, certificates for ATM/ANS providers, licences and medical certificates for air traffic controllers, certificates for air traffic controller training organisations, certificates for aero medical centres and aero medical examiners responsible for air traffic controllers, certificates for persons responsible for providing practical training or assessing the skills of air traffic controllers, issued pursuant to Articles 8a, 8b and 8c of the Basic Regulation.

If certificates issued by competent UK authorities are no longer valid then no UK authorised pilot will be able to fly after Brexit until their licence is recognised in some other international forum. Permits to fly will be invalid.

If London Heathrow or Edinburgh or Cardiff loses its aerodrome certificate then I am sure their insurers will withdraw any insurance and thus not only will nothing take off, nothing will land either. No air carrier will risk landing on an uninsured aerodrome.

This is massive.  It is also entirely the fault of Mrs Theresa May MP, the Conservative MP for Maidenhead, the Leader of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister. I am convinced that she is still advised and takes counsel from her former SpAd, Nick 'Rasputin' Timothy. He has persuaded Mrs May that the EEA equals EFTA. It doesn't. 

The EEA (European Economic Area) is a huge geographical area from Iceland to Greece and Portugal to Poland of which the European Union is part. In the EEA/EFTA, the United Kingdom would be out of the Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, Customs Union, Common Trade Area, Common Foreign & Security Policy, Justice and Home Affairs, Taxation and Economic and Monetary Union. 

The UK would not be subject to the European Court of Justice (EFTA Court instead) or the Commission (EEA Joint Committee).

Unfortunately, the 'Tsarina' Mrs May is deaf to all persuasion and still seems to think that 'Rasputin' is right. He isn't.

If the dangers that Mr Cornelis point out come to pass
It would immediately ground flights between the UK and EU because EU-issued aviation licenses would no longer be valid.
It really cannot be put more plainly. 

This is happening not because of the European Union's intransigence but because of catastrophic strategic decisions being made by Mrs May. The UK Government is doing this to itself.

Don't book a flight out of the UK for Easter 2019. It may well not fly.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Brexit does not mean Brexit Mrs May

Since my post of 27th January 2018, I have been pointed to another European Union publication (h/t "Britainsfish") which is on the internet here: (

This document has been amended for the Final Version which has been leaked (h/t "Sentinel") and which has been analysed by Professor Steve Peers here (

Paragraphs 9 - 21 deal with "Transitional Arrangements". Paragraph 9 specifically says
the four freedoms of the Single Market are indivisible and there can be no "cherry picking"
which would not be the case if we had chosen the European Economic Area route and unilaterally invoked Article 112.  Then there are paragraphs 12 - 18 which are so awful that I quote them in full:

12. In line with those guidelines, which further specify and develop the core principles laid out in the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017, any transitional arrangements provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement should cover the whole of the Union acquis, including Euratom matters. Notwithstanding paragraph 17 of these negotiating directives, the Union acquis should apply to and in the United Kingdom as if it were a Member State. Any changes to the Union acquis should automatically apply to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period. For acts adopted in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice by which the United Kingdom is bound before its withdrawal, Articles 4a of Protocol (No 21) and 5 of Protocol (No 19) annexed to the Treaties, which allow the United Kingdom not to participate in an act amending a measure by which it is already bound, should continue to apply during the transition period including the possibility for the Union to determine that this non participation would make the relevant measure inoperable and therefore that the measure should cease to apply to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom should however no longer be allowed to opt-in to measures in this Area other than those amending, replacing or building upon the above mentioned existing acts. 

13. During the transition period, Union law covered by these transitional arrangements should deploy in the United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which it deploys within the Member States of the Union. This means, in particular, that the direct effect and primacy of Union law should be preserved. 

14. During the transition period, and in line with the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017, the United Kingdom will remain bound by the obligations stemming from the agreements concluded by the Union, or by Member States acting on its behalf, or by the Union and its Member States acting jointly, while the United Kingdom should however no longer participate in any bodies set up by those agreements. 

15. In line with the European Council guidelines of 15 December 2017, any transitional arrangements require the United Kingdom's continued participation in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) during the transition. The United Kingdom should take all necessary measures to preserve the integrity of the Single Market and of the Customs Union. The United Kingdom should continue to comply with the Union trade policy. It should also in particular ensure that its customs authorities continue to act in accordance with the mission of EU customs authorities including by collecting Common Customs Tariff duties and by performing all checks required under Union law at the border vis-à-vis other third countries. During the transition period, the United Kingdom may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the fields of competence of Union law, unless authorised to do so by the Union.

16. In line with the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017 and the first set of negotiating directives of 22 May 2017, any time-limited prolongation of the Union acquis requires existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

17. In relation to the application of the Union acquis to the United Kingdom, the Withdrawal Agreement should therefore, during the transitional period, preserve the full competences of the Union institutions (in particular the full jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union), bodies, offices and agencies in relation to the United Kingdom and to United Kingdom natural or legal persons. In particular, Union institutions, bodies and agencies should conduct all supervision and control proceedings foreseen by Union law. In line with the European Council guidelines of 15 December 2017, the United Kingdom will however no longer participate in or nominate or elect members of the Union institutions, nor participate in the decision-making or the governance of the Union bodies, offices and agencies. 
18. During the transition period, as a general rule, the UK will not attend meetings of committees referred to in Article 3 (2) of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 or Commission experts groups and other similar entities of the agencies, offices or bodies where Member States are represented. Exceptionally on a case-by-case basis, the United Kingdom could be invited to attend without voting rights such meetings: 

– where the discussion concerns individual acts to be addressed to the United Kingdom or to United Kingdom natural or legal persons; or 

– where the presence of the United Kingdom is necessary from a Union perspective for the effective implementation of the acquis during the transition period.
It is hard to state just how dreadful these proposals are. In effect, the Acquis, New laws and Directives, the Customs Union and EU trade policy (meaning the UK cannot conclude any trade agreements in its own right) will continue to apply whilst the United Kingdom will have no representation of any kind whatever (No MEP's, No Commissioner, No participation in any agreements or committees although we could be invited by the commission to various committees as it (the Commission) sees fit but without a say or vote). The United Kingdom will still be subject to the ECJ and European Law will have primacy (over UK Law)

David Davis (h/t made a speech in Teeside. Part of it reads as follows:
For such a period to work, both sides must continue to follow the same, stable set of laws and rules
Without compromising the integrity of the single market, and the customs union to which we will maintain access on current terms. 
Maintaining the same regulations across all sectors of the economy — from agriculture to aviation, transport to financial services, as part of a new international treaty. 
In keeping with the existing structure of EU rules that will allow a strictly time-limited role for the European Court of Justice during that period. 
During this implementation period, people will of course be able to travel between the UK and EU to live and work. 
And as agreed in December, we will fulfil the financial commitments we have made during the period of our membership. 
With Britain upholding its responsibilities during this period, it follows the European Union will need to respect our rights and our interests too. 
And this means we must discuss how regulators and agencies can best provide continuity and clarity for businesses during this period in a way that benefits everyone. (

So there you have it. We will not have left the European Union at the end of March 2019. We will not have any MEP's, Commissioner or any representation on any committee or any other body and be subject to the ECJ. The United Kingdom will become a Vassal State  It seems the Cabinet, of which Mr Davis is a member, will sign up to this disgrace.

Everything has changed; Everything has changed

Brexit does not mean Brexit Mrs May. The United Kingdom will not have left the European Union until at least 31st December 2020 and since Mrs May's 'deep and special' relationship (which she has so far been unable or unwilling to describe) with the European Union will not have been concluded by then (since Free Trade Agreements with other nations have taken the European Union many years to conclude) it may go on longer than that taking us into the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) period and contributing to EU coffers for another SEVEN years. 

We would be a continuing Vassal State for far longer than 21 months.

This is intolerable and the electorate must not accept it.

There are local elections in May. All Leave voters must vote tactically to get rid of their Conservative Councillors or to ensure that the Conservative does not get elected. If the Conservatives are wiped out completely they might, just might listen to the electorate. 

The United Kingdom is not leaving the European Union. Mrs May is misleading the people and Brexit does not mean Brexit.