Daily Debrief Feb 29th – Fury of pro-Brexit ministers denied access to papers


The Times reports the anger of pro-Brexit Ministers, who are now graciously allowed to campaign for Leave — but denied access to relevant Cabinet papers.  It is preposterous and unprecedented that Cabinet Ministers should be denied papers in their own departments.  Not content with splitting the Conservative Party from top to bottom, Cameron now seems intent on driving a wedge between Ministers and civil servants.

The Prime Minister’s provocative, petty and partisan policy on this issue is undermining the respect due to his high office.  It is also reflecting very badly on the Remain campaign which he is leading.  Voters will take a dim view.

Ten years of uncertainty? Not sure about that

Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock has said “Britain will face ten years of uncertainty if we leave the EU”.  He argues that it will take this long to negotiate new trade arrangements.  This contrasts with Digby Jones’ opinion that after Brexit “We will have a UK/EU Free Trade Deal in twenty-four hours”.  Under Article 50, we will have two years of orderly negotiations on a free trade deal with the rump-EU.  We will have the protection of WTO rules.  We have the EU’s obligation under the Treaty to negotiate favourable terms with neighbouring countries.  Most important of all, we have the overwhelming economic logic that as the EU’s largest customer, the EU will be obliged to seek good terms of trade with the UK.

Even if Matt Hancock were right, some might feel that ten years of uncertainty was better than decades of uncertainty and subservience in a dysfunctional and declining European Union which is clearly heading to the scrap-heap of history.

In the case of existing trade deals negotiated through the EU with third countries, we should expect to see those deals grandfathered to the UK in the short term, and subject to renegotiation in an orderly way if and when we and the third party choose to do so.  (But no doubt British ministers will be frantically lobbying those third countries to make negative noises about post-Brexit trade — as they have done with the USA).

And post-Brexit, we shall be free to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world, where the growth is.  Like China.  And the Commonwealth.

Finland: the new €uro victim?

The economy of Finland is in trouble.  Apple has eaten Nokia’s lunch.  Increasing internet use has reduced demand for paper (a major Finnish export).  Turmoil in Russia — plus Russian sanctions — has damaged the Finns’ export business.  If the Finns had kept their currency, they could have adjusted to changed circumstances.  But Tuomas Malinen, an economist at Helsinki University, pulls no punches.  : “The main blame for our economic woes should be placed where it belongs, namely on the euro membership.”

BoJo a hypocrite?

Boris Johnson is “a hypocrite” for backing Brexit at the same time as he celebrates Crossrail/The Elizabeth Line, for which the EIB advanced a loan of £1 billion, fumes the Huff Post. Biting the hand that feeds him.

It may have escaped the attention of the Huff Post that the money we get back from the European institutions is our money, and every pound of it costs the British economy around £3.  So after Brexit, we’ll have more funding available for infrastructure, not less.  They should also consider the fact that the government is well placed to borrow for long-term projects, at very advantageous interest rates.

Meantime the improbably named Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib-Dem mayoral candidate, warns that Brexit could deny London billions in infrastructure investment – making the same point about the EIB.  Same answers apply.  Plus the fact that major investors, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are only too eager to find major, viable infrastructure projects to invest in.  Sorry, Caroline, but another paper tiger just bit the dust.

Norway again

It’s clear that the stay-mongers are going to keep talking about Norway – because there are obvious down-sides with Norway’s position that wouldn’t apply to an independent UK.    I was particularly struck by Thérèse Coffey MP on BBC Any Questions last weekend.  She launched into the usual stuff about Norway.  Paul Nuttall responded in robust terms that we didn’t want to be like Norway.  But poor Thérèse clearly couldn’t find the “Pause” button, and just carried on regardless.  We must shoot this one down mercilessly every time they bring it up.

Cost of benefits for jobless EU migrants to hit £1 billion?

The Express publishes a report  claiming that the annual benefit cost for jobless EU migrants is headed to £1 billion.  Of course these costs will be unaffected by proposed changes to in-work benefit payments.


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12 Responses to Daily Debrief Feb 29th – Fury of pro-Brexit ministers denied access to papers

  1. Nivek Ecyoj says:

    Surely an own goal for Cameron. As ministers can reasonably ask ‘what have you got to hide?’

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Here’s somebody I don’ contribute to because you can buy the same stuff much cheaper elsewhere in UK (might, possibly, could, unlikely, likely, maybe)

    Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and head of the John Lewis Partnership:
    “900,000 UK retail jobs could be lost by 2025, warns BRC”

    So let JLP die off and part of that alleged 900, 000 can get jobs in other/newer companies. Same can be said for the ever lasting loss maker M&S….they sell food amongst all the wrong clothing possible. And their shareholders never stop telling them! Why would you ever follow anything these people say?

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Oh..just got a reminder. JL is where the trougher MPs go to get there very spendy household goods on the taxpayers a/c. Thats all the ones us peasants can get for at least 30% elsewhere.

  3. ian wragg says:

    I think project fear and secrecy are 2 definite plusses for the Leave brigade.
    The more Cameron prevaricates the better.
    He has nothing to offer but bluster. He’s a busted flush.

  4. Shieldsman says:

    The media and as a result the Public are blind to Cameron’s gigantic 21st Century Confidence trick.
    No.10 has spun out of those three little words ‘ever closer union’ the equivalent of Blair’s ‘WMD’
    The claim to have reformed the EU is one big lie, NO treaty changes have taken place. Look at the European Council meeting (18 and 19 February 2016) – Conclusions, there is a binding commitment to revisit the Lisbon Treaty at some future date.
    His reformed EU is based purely on “It is recognised that the United Kingdom, in the light of the specific situation it has under the Treaties, is not committed to further political integration into the European Union.”
    “The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties and the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States, so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom.”
    This is a promise of a treaty change at some indefinite time in the future.

    Even if and when it is incorporated it changes nothing by its self ( the current Lisbon Treaty). It preregisters the United Kingdoms right to be excluded from future treaty changes involving closer political union.

    The Council sewed up the other aspects of closer union:
    “(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”

  5. davidbuckingham says:

    V interesting 3:1 stat for UK contributions to EU Roger. Can you confirm actual figures for our contribution and what UK gets back and the source for verification? Is the ONS stat of £11.3bn UK payment the net figure? I thought our payment is c.£55bn gross – give or take a billion, which would be more like 5:4 ratio, £4 back for every £5 paid.

  6. Jane Davies says:

    I so wish I was back in old blighty to hear all of this bluff and bluster being blown out of the water by the Leaver’s. The more Cameron lies and ducks and dives and denies access to certain documents etc the more ammo is given to those who will vote to leave. Yes the question must be asked, what is he trying to hide?
    Why would it take 10 years to shake everything down? Another figure plucked from the air, as this government is known to do on a regular basis. We knew this would happen but the levels of deceit and deviousness are being taken down to a new level. There must be an election as soon as the result is in whatever it is……this government has proved beyond all doubt that they are corrupt, incompetent and not of the caliber fit to govern.

  7. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Couldn’t resist this…LOL:

    “Spanish Leftists Furious More Migrants Aren’t Arriving”


    Think the dimwits need to look further down the spanish coast toward Gib. Particularly in those vast vacant ghetto building sites..Big swathes of stupid building with the assistance of extremely stupid banks.

  8. davidbuckingham says:

    Thanks Ian. But £55m is c. £20bn a year (both assumed gross). If we get £11bn nett that’s approx 2:1 – still doesn’t fit with Roger’s 3:1…. so still a bit mystified.

    As for the Norway analogy – their deal doesn’t have to be ours.

    The best rejoinder is that post-Brexit we can adopt the same models as the rest of the world vis-a-vis the EU – USA, China, Australian, Canadian, Japanese. The benefits of the EU’s single market only ever applied to a myopic EU, mercilessly mercantilist with surreal mountains of surplus products to fix prices, cynically starving the struggling third world. The damage to EU countries caused by the single market was in its absurd, petty and destructive regulation that distorted the real market beyond recognition and reality, stifling productivity and innovation.

    Added to which in any case Norway ranks as 27th globally by GDP, totalling just 1/6th of the UK’s which is 5th in the world (btw Switzerland is 20th and Iceland 112th).

    We need to break down this blinkered Little European mentality of the Remainders and drum home the perspective of Great Britain in the World, especially the Anglosphere.

  9. Roger, here is a useful way forward:
    “Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock has said “Britain will face ten years of uncertainty if we leave the EU”. He argues that it will take this long to negotiate new trade arrangements.”
    1. Article 50 – 2 year time limit imposed.
    2. EEA Membership affirmed (temporarily).
    3. EFTA – the Norway Option – affirmed but only for as long as we need it. That way, we have an off the peg arrangement which everyone – even the EU – understands. Norway is currently much better off than we are – their fish and oil revenues alone prove this. Their “lack of democratic power” is a myth – Norway is always consulted in fact and she chooses which Directives to put into law. (Mr Cameron wields an enormous influence doesn’t he!!!)
    4. The important bit: Now we start negotiations, knowing that we are safe economically, financially and business wise.

  10. Hi, you have forgotten the fact that most British expats live outside the EU rather than IN. So on they are more likely to vote Leave then expats in the EU and two they are more numerous! I am in Australia and will be voting LEAVE!

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