The Writing on the Wall


Recently I was dining in London with a group that included a very prominent and well-known political and economic pundit – I shall not mention his name (he may also wish to write about the exchange we had). But let’s call him Fred.

Fred suddenly offered a striking aperçu. “I don’t know why you guys (UKIP) work so hard to leave the EU. You just have to wait, and it will break up by itself”. “All very well, Fred” I replied, “But I’d like to see us out in five years, not fifty years”. (I could have added that I hope to be a free citizen of an independent country in my lifetime). Then after a brief pause, a question struck me. “So what’s your view, Fred? How long before the collapse comes?”.

Fred’s reply was fascinating. He pointed out that we’d just been through a very severe recession, and were now enjoying a modest recovery. But (he added) economies are cyclical. Give it three or four years, and in the normal course of events there’ll be a cyclical downturn. Countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy will go into that recession with historically high unemployment, and burdened by massive debt. The €uro crisis will become a catastrophe.

Fred reminded us that anti-austerity, anti-€uro parties are proliferating.. It’s not just Syriza in Greece. There’s Podemos in Spain, the NF in France. I could add UKIP in the UK, although our solution to austerity is growth and prosperity, unlike the aforementioned parties who want to rely on borrowing, spending and debt. And UKIP is certainly anti-€uro.

So in Fred’s view, it’s nearer five years than fifty. Mind you I don’t for a moment suggest that we should sit back and wait for the EU’s dissolution. I am becoming much more hopeful regarding the outcome of the UK referendum. A few weeks back, I thought the odds were we should lose. But since then, there have been encouraging developments.

Cameron’s poverty of ambition has been exposed. The concessions he’s seeking from his renegotiation would not be sufficient to stay in, even if he achieved all of them – and that’s unlikely. Various groups, notably Business for Britain and Conservatives for Britain, have set out negotiating demands that would absolutely require Treaty change, and will clearly not be met. I foresee Cameron coming back with derisory concessions, which will turn the tide of public opinion against membership.

I’m encouraged that business groups are emerging on the OUT side. I’m encouraged at the apparent willingness of most on the OUT side to work together, without sniping at each other over precedence. The signs are good.

A majority of the public today say that they’d vote “to stay in a reformed EU”, even though we know that material reform is off the table. But this view contains an implicit assumption that somewhere under the EU’s absurd bureaucracy and regulation and interference, there’s a bed-rock of benefit. So, what benefit?

If the EU were simply a Free Trade Area, I’d be all for it. But it’s not even a free trade area. It’s an old-fashioned Customs Union, overlaid with massive, excessive and vastly expensive regulation. There’s no bed-rock of benefit to save. Outside the EU, we’d still be free to trade with Europe. We’d still be a hugely attractive destination for inward investment – indeed more attractive, with lower energy prices, more realistic regulation and, eventually, lower taxes. We would still be free to negotiate and cooperate with our friends in Europe – but from a position of independence and strength, no longer subject to the dictates of anti-democratic, unrepresentative and technocratic institutions.

There’s all to play for. For my part, this has been the primary objective of my political career. Let’s go for it.

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24 Responses to The Writing on the Wall

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I now have had a response from the BBC. BBC News to be precise via Tony Hall to Tory MP’s. Its very minimal as two jpg files of an original pdf mini letter …extremely mini.

    Am working on a way to post the jpg’s up. In the meantime please excuse me while I find a place to throw up.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Subject: BBC Climate Change Bias

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        OK..words are after Hall pushed it to BBC News:

        “Climate change is amongst the most high profile news stories of recent years and while we’re fully committed to balanced an impartial coverage of the issue, the overwhelming scientific opinion is that human activity is increasing the rate at which the earths temperature is rising. As a public service broadcaster we have an obligation to reflect this broad scientific agreement on climate change and we reflect this accordingly; however, we do aim to ensure that we also offer time to dissenting voices”.

        So thats cut and pasted from somewhere?

        “we’re fully committed to balanced an impartial coverage of the issue” – Nope!
        “the overwhelming scientific opinion is that human activity is increasing the rate…” – Nope!
        “we have an obligation to reflect this broad scientific agreement on climate change..” ?
        “we do aim to ensure that we also offer time to dissenting voices”…No you don’t!

        In fact you offer most time to every silly person mainly in London that you like. Not only that but this guy worked for you and has released a book about your foolish broadcasting business:

        Roger Mosey, former head of BBC TV news and explains much of what we suspected.

        end of puke!

  2. davidbuckingham says:

    “If the EU were simply a Free Trade Area, I’d be all for it.” I’ve found myself saying this – and then had the epiphany : it’s makes as much sense as saying ” if an elephant was simply a gazelle….” Thing is with an FTA agreement there would be little or nothing of value to the FTA within the monster Brussels/Strasbourg controlling regulatory edifice; it would instantly become redundant and irrelevant, no role, no raison d’etre, no value, nada, nilch, a white elephant even… Nirvana.

    • I have just read the Five Presidents’ Report and also the Spinelli document. The people who actually run the EU want More Europe for the Eurozone countries – in fact they want to see what they call a Federal State. It is not, they say, a Superstate. (Erm…)
      But for those of us who live outside the Eurozone in the West, they actually propose Associated Membership which would allow us access to the Common Market, a seat on the Council and in decision making bodies, except for when Eurozone Business was being discussed.
      That would be a really good place to be. We could then start working hard for independence and trading agreements with the rest of the world. All the fuddy arguments about loss of jobs, economic bankruptcy etc etc would be stamped out. And – let us assume a Divine Intervention here – if the Eurozone began to prosper, we could apply for membership.

  3. Jane Davies says:

    I have copied this from the Telegraph’s morning briefing…….

    Good morning.

    David Cameron will set out in detail what he wants from the European Union when he meets fellow EU leaders today in Brussels, in a step that marks “phase two” (as No 10 call it) of his renegotiation plans. However, France is already kicking up a fuss.

    Ahead of the summit, French economy minister Emmanuel Macron warned that the Prime Minister will not be able to get the treaty change he seeks, and should not be allowed to follow EU rules “à la carte”, instead settling for Brussels set menu. Cameron, fresh from meeting Angela Merkel in Germany, will be hoping his pre-meeting pow-wow will give him the powerful ally he needs in his fight to get meaningful concessions. If he fails, Britain would find itself drifting towards the EU exit door. Some are blunt about this, with Business for Britain declaring “the EU is stealing Britain’s diplomatic influence – and so we must leave”.

    Macron’s warning is hardly the first sign of French belligerence, with foreign minister Laurent Fabius comparing Cameron’s renegotiation bid last month to joining a football club but then deciding “in the middle of the match we are now going to play rugby”. Faced with such opposition, Conservative MPs aren’t worried about how their party leader will fare. One ardent Eurosceptic told me that the Germans will be the key ally as “they know without us in the EU, France would have too much sway”.

  4. davidbuckingham says:

    Love these metaphors – why are they coming so thick and fast? Shock and awe at the potential threat to a vulnerable-looking EU provoking some imaginative conceptual shifts I hope… couple of alternatives to the above…
    Rather than the ‘a la carte’ / set menu, how about rejection of the rationing? Sporting references? How about ‘opting to leave a rigged roulette table in a gambling den filled with smoke and mirrors’.

    • Jane Davies says:

      “Love these metaphors – why are they coming so thick and fast?”

      Could it be because the Emperor’s new clothes followers have had a light bulb moment and have just sussed out why so many rats are leaving the good ship EU?

  5. Pingback: Cameron’s poverty of ambition | UKIP Hillingdon

  6. Ian Terry says:

    Regarding Freds comment about the next five years I do not believe it will take as long as that.

    As more and more pressure is put on Germany by the southern states for more bail out support the cracks in the system will be the size of motorways.

    The Uk will not get away lightly especially if the lenders start to get restless with the National Debt at £1.5 trillion and start to call their loans in. We cannot afford to keep up the interest payments the way we are going. Something has got to give.

    Manufacturing and world class industries is what will save us when we start exporting to anybody and everybody.

    Sadly that will hiss off the EU. Shame

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Manufacturing may well save us. But we’ve got to solve the energy policy/price problem first.

    • catweazle666 says:

      “especially if the lenders start to get restless with the National Debt at £1.5 trillion and start to call their loans in”

      Ever hear the old saying “if I owe you a thousand pounds, I’ve got a problem. If I owe you a million pounds, you’ve got a problem”?

      Strikes me that the £1.5 trillion comes in the latter category!

  7. dave roderick says:

    If They’ll Go So Far to Keep Greece in Euro, What Would They Do To Keep Britain In the EU?

    by Gerald Warner24 Jun 2015231
    The Greek farce continues its record-breaking run. After 43 last ditches, 28 eleventh hours and 17 late-night drinking sessions in the Last Chance Saloon, the comedians in Brussels and Athens are rehearsing their latest routine.
    The joke, of course, is on the taxpayers of Europe. For Grexit remains a remote contingency, at least for as long as the politicians can contain the situation by throwing other people’s money at a problem they manufactured. If the markets explode, that would be another matter.

    Barring meltdown in the markets, Brussels – which in this context is also an alias for Berlin – simply will not permit Greece to leave the Eurozone.

    The Greeks could be reduced to eating their own children, but still the Eurocrats would cling feverishly to the colony they have impoverished. Brussels knows only one law: ever-closer integration.

    If Greece departed the Eurozone, that would represent disintegration and that must not happen at any price. Once the Eurozone contracts, even by the loss of one country out of 19, the whole European project will be in retreat.

    Brussels is adamant: what we have we hold. Hence the recent brinkmanship, followed within hours by a wholly predictable volte-face, as EU leaders suddenly discovered enormous merit in the latest cynical, wholly inadequate proposals from the Tsipras regime, the ultimate upholders of the doctrine of the free lunch.

    What are these revolutionary proposals from Athens that have so enthused those who, hours before, were supposedly about to eject Greece from the euro?

    Tax hikes on businesses (the markets will love that), some juggling with pensions in the run-up to 2025, a hike in VAT that will also hit businesses and an end to VAT exemptions for the islands that generate the tourist trade, Greece’s last remaining viable industry. It is a socialist blueprint for stifling enterprise and of doubtful relevance in a country where paying tax is regarded as a personal eccentricity.

    The pensions package represents just 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2015, whereas the Troika asked for 1 per cent. Altogether the plan amounts to €7.3bn in fiscal measures. To put that in perspective, it is worth recalling that the ECB shovelled €3bn into the furnace that is the Greek banking system last weekend alone.

    Since Greece already has a backlog of €76bn in unpaid taxes, any tax hike on paper is purely academic and hardly merits Eurocrats dancing in the streets of Brussels.

    But it is well worth the Greeks’ time to play along with the EU charade. What the Brussels hoods are, in effect, saying to Tsipras and his merry men is: for God’s sake, lads, cut us some slack; cobble together some cosmetic deal to justify our throwing more money at you and keeping you in the euro.

    If Tsipras can contrive to do that, there is a good time coming: Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged that if a deal is struck the European Commission will pump a further €35bn of “investment” into Greece. €35bn in, for €7.9bn out, sounds like a good deal, from a Greek Trot’s point of view, if not from a European taxpayer’s. Greece already owes €323bn of debt from past “investment”, so what the hell?

    Since this is “investment” cash from the European Commission and not Eurozone bailout funding, British taxpayers will have the privilege of contributing.

    Which brings us to the crunch point.

    If the infatuated integrationists of Brussels will go to such extreme lengths, draining the European Central Bank and destabilising the European and wider economy, for the petty purpose of keeping basket-case, parasitic Greece within the Eurozone, how desperate would they become if there was the slightest prospect of Britain leaving the EU altogether?

    Britain is a net contributor to the EU, a nuclear power with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, an economy with a growth rate over the past year of 2.4 per cent compared with 1 per cent in the Eurozone. Are we seriously expected to believe that Eurocrats who are willing to break the back of the European economy just to keep Greece within the euro currency would view Britain’s departure from the whole kit-and-kaboodle European Union with equanimity?

    In reality, as distinct from the illusion imposed on us by politicians and the media, we are not supplicants going cap-in-hand to Brussels to beg for a brief delay before unstoppable migrants need be granted benefits – we are in a position ruthlessly to pull the plug on the whole European project. The European Union could not survive the departure of Britain.

    The mere threat – if it were credible – would cause pantechnicons to deliver emergency supplies of brown trousers and bicycle clips to the back doors of the thieves’ kitchens in Brussels and Strasbourg.

    But there is no such threat, for one simple reason: our politicians are all complicit with Brussels. Dave’s re-negotiations are a charade whereby he asks for peanuts and will be given only a small proportion of what he requests. The Eurohoods know that Dave is “one of us”.

    Like all our politicians, across the consensus, he is a politically correct Europhile. He would never allow Britain to leave the EU. There is no prospect of the swarming migrants – 185,000 in the past three months – being halted. The gates are guarded by traitors.

    Yet if Britain had representative leaders, honest media and real political will, we could successfully demand any concessions – including full treaty change – from the ducking and weaving economic illiterates who devised the doomed Euro currency.

    If we held their feet to the fire they would squeal for mercy. That, along with the benefits of Brexit, is what we must bring home to our fellow citizens between now and the referendum.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Well said Mr Warner!

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      In 1975, Harold Wilson could come back from Brussels with trivial concessions and pretend they represented a victory. I think Cameron will find that a difficult trick to repeat. He’s raised expectations of reform, but he can’t deliver. I hope and trust that the voters will understand that, and that they will be angry, and vote OUT.

      • Jane Davies says:

        The voters will understand it if they get ALL of the relevant facts. It’s up to UKIP and the anti EU membership business leaders and politicians to shout louder than Cameron and the rest of the EU trough feeders!

  8. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Mr Farage appears to have got held up slightly at Calais:

    Thats what this EU seems to excel at…delay aka can kicking with attendant yap, yap. With costs of course and although audited are not signed off…for many years. Look out for more fees to Spend Central soon. If I knew any business acted like this my pennies would go elsewhere.

    It appears then that treaty change for our/UK’s sake has to wait until the next treaty review la, la, la. But extending sanctions on Russia is almost at the flick of a switch. So Russia flicked a counter switch PDQ on USA/EU/Australia which brings direct shipping of goods from Latin America to Russia. And so trade deals are swiftly done…nearly forgot how. Think Holland, France and Belgium loose exports of flowers/plants and chocolate, so they’ll need compensation I suppose?

    Greece…well, the very sad joke (can) rolls/clatters on.

  9. DICK R says:

    Let’s just hope ‘Fred’ is right and it happens even sooner !

  10. Pingback: EU - The Writing on the Wall -

  11. Flyinthesky says:

    The latest jape is there’s not enough time to amend the treaty between now and any proposed referendum so we are going to be sold a promise that in the fullness of time they’re going to look at it. Look at it they may, change it they won’t. It’s not even going to be a Chamberlain moment with a worthless agreement in hand, it is in effect a promise to negotiate a worthless agreement in the fullness of time.

  12. Brin Jenkins says:

    Five years is too long, with immigration running at half a million per year plus the illegals this is far from acceptable. This is our genocide whilst we wait in less than joyful anticipation.

  13. Pingback: “No benefits – reform or no reform” | UKIP Hillingdon

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