Daily Debrief March 31st

Today’s story is Steel

There is virtually only a single story on today’s papers: steel.  And the government doesn’t come out looking very good.  The Times writes of “A chaotic steel response costing 40,000 jobs”. The Guardian speaks of “Ministers in disarray”.   The FT quotes Tata as saying “the (UK steel) business is worth nothing” – not very helpful as ministers start looking for a buyer.  Having spent the early part of my career in a sales environment, I can see the problem in a sales pitch which says: “Previous owner believes this business is worth nothing – would you like to buy it?”.  One can only imagine the pain in Port Talbot as steel workers read these headlines.

The EU angle is starting to emerge

The BBC Today Programme this morning specifically cited EU rules as a barrier to a solution for the steel industry.  Meantime the Telegraph runs a headline featuring the EU: “EU row over deal to save steel”. This is a very damaging story for the government.  It reports that the UK was instrumental in blocking proposals in Brussels for more aggressive anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese steel.  If true, steelworkers will surely never forgive the government.  The paper quotes Simon Boyd of Reidsteel: “While we remain in the EU, the UK government can do little to tackle the dumping of cheap steel or unfair state aid rules”.

Ministers in emergency meeting

The Telegraph and other papers report plans for an emergency Ministers’ meeting on steel today.  There is little they can do in the short term on state aid rules or anti-dumping tariffs.  But they could at least remove George Osborne’ iniquitous “Carbon Floor Price” which makes UK energy even more expensive than costs on the Continent – that’s an own goal that should be corrected immediately.  Beyond that, we can expect a dogged refusal by Ministers to recognise that Brussels is the problem, and that the steel crisis is the best argument for Brexit.

UKIP launches by-election campaign

UKIP will launch its campaign for the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough by-election today, appropriately enough in a local steelworks, introducing candidate Steven Winstone, a local businessman and metals trader.  I expect to be there at 11:00 a.m.

Turks “shoot to kill” migrants

Away from steel, the Times reports that Turks have adopted a “shoot to kill” policy as they seek to deter migrants. The paper quotes a human rights organisation claiming that sixteen migrants, including three children, have been shot in the last four months by Turkish border guards.  Of course all decent people will condemn these shootings.  Yet given the massive stress of migrant movements in the region, and the pressures on Turkey, the story seems to have a dreadful inevitability about it, and adds to the urgency of finding a solution in Syria which will allow Syrians to remain there.

“The public must be told the truth about immigration”

The Telegraph carries this story. It reports that the UK Statistics Authority (there’s another quango we hadn’t heard of) has written to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to demand that it clarify immigration figures in the face of widespread speculation that current official figures are wide of the mark.  The UKSA calls for this clarification ahead of the EU Referendum.  Watch this space.

“Migrant sex attack gangs could come to Britain”

Nigel Farage is quoted in the Daily Express warning that the sort of migrant sex attack gangs who caused outrage in Cologne could come to Britain under EU rules. Migrants currently in Germany could obtain EU passports within three years, and the UK would be powerless to deny them entry (unless we leave the EU first).  Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave strongly endorses this view.  Given that the primary Cheer-Leader for the Remain Campaign, David Cameron, is constantly insisting that we need EU membership for our security, this warning is a timely reality check.  It is becoming ever clearer that in terms of border controls, and removing terrorist suspects, and preventing undesirable elements coming to our country, national security absolutely requires that we leave the EU and reassert our independence.

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20 Responses to Daily Debrief March 31st

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Tata Steel and Ministers questioned on Port Talbot job losses
    03 February 2016
    “The Welsh Affairs Committee holds a one-off evidence session on the steel industry in Wales. In January 2016, following a fall in the European steel price, job losses were announced at the Port Talbot steelworks. The session examines the future prospects for the industry in Wales and ask what support is being provided to those affected.”


    Acquire pack rations and water bottle and don’t yawn at the back there. Interesting info in this particular from the Union.

    • I wish someone would explain, please, how some very poor people from the back of nowhere in India were able to set up Tata and take over our steel industry.
      We more or less invented steel. We started some of the world’s first steel plants.
      Why can’t we still do it please?
      And let us not just sit back and blame the EU. why can’t we deal with that too?

  2. Shieldsman says:

    What can I say.
    Now if I was a Labour voter and had any connection with the steel industry and industry using steel would I want to remain in the EU? Definitely not.

    The Westminster bubble with many of its MP’s holding PPE’s , soft degrees and no experience of real life is no way to run a Country and has been a recipe for disaster.
    Cameron’s time as PM must be limited.

  3. Edward M says:

    I agree with you and I increasingly wonder where Cameron’s and Osborne’s loyalties lie. From what I can gather we have an efficient and high quality steel industry, and given its strategic importance (especially for specialist steels for critical applications) it needs to be maintained – a no-brainer for a pro-British government.
    We don’t know yet if there is a tie-up with Chinese finance for the ruinously over-priced Hinckley nuclear plant – but that is another thing where we would be better of with a cheaper solution as per existing British designed and built nuclear power stations.
    We need a strong Leave vote at the referendum, not only to leave but as a strong signal that we need a government that bats for Britain.

    • Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are both gentlemen. They are also very charming and clubbable. And they make sure that the heads of the tallest poppies are trimmed off too (Gove, Paterson, IDS).
      As gentlemen they are useless in the real world at negotiating. So was Mr Chamberlain. So were the Conservatives as we gave away our Empire in Africa.
      Gentlemen are pretty rare, actually.

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Mandleson Again

    1,700 jobs to go as Corus mothballs plant – 2009

    “The steel industry overall has suffered an unprecedented fall in demand in the global recession,” Lord Mandelson said:
    “The government worked hard with all parties following the cancellation of the main supply contract in May to continue the agreement but a commercial solution could not be found.”


    One steel train from P. Talbot passed nearby today…likely the first in 2 weeks. Used to be about twice a day back and forth…great long things!

    Italy and France propping up their steel…ummm, think so! (propping?)

  5. Dung says:

    Important points are being missed on energy costs.
    The Climate Change Act is doing more damage to UK energy prices than any other cause and it has nothing to do with the EU, it is pure Cameron environmental vanity. Fossil fuels CAN NOT be used for power generation when wind or solar is available. This sounds very noble but gas turbine power generation is not profitable if it does not run constantly at full capacity, hence new plant is not being built and much existing plant is mothballed.
    Cameron is also planning to target zero emissions of CO2 by 2030 (again nothing to do with the EU) and this explains why he absolutely must get rid of steel production along with Chemicals and other high energy industries.

    • catweazle666 says:

      “Cameron is also planning to target zero emissions of CO2 by 2030 (again nothing to do with the EU) “

      Which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his father-in-law’s ongoing investment in bird mincers, of course.

  6. Shieldsman says:

    I have just read Oral evidence: The steel industry in Wales, HC767
    Now D.C.T. Davies was in the chair and as you know Roger he is one of the few MP’s who are anti the so called climate change
    Mr Davies: Mr Rickhuss from Community made a point that I fully concur with on a personal basis: why on earth are we pay ing subsidies to companies that are not using products that are manufactured in our country? Why does a company like Tata have to pay extra amounts of money to support industries that are not buying their goods from Tata?
    Anna Soubry: Because, Mr Davies, my understanding is that they are part of the private sector. They are not within the public procurement rules and, therefore—because I had always thought that you were a free-market Conservative—we believe in a free market, and you cannot—
    Mr Davies: No. Maybe I asked the question incorrectly. Why is it that Tata are paying extra for their energy in order to subsidise renewable energy schemes and companies that produce renewable energy?
    Anna Soubry: I am sorry; I don’t think it is as simple as that.
    Mr Davies: Let me put it very simply: why do we give Government subsidies to companies that are not willing to support British products?
    Anna Soubry: Because you cannot force them to buy British. We are a free-market economy.
    Mr Davies: We hand over the money. If we were a free-market economy we would not have to give them any subsidy at all. This is not a free market; this is a subsidised market. We are subsidising these companies, paying them up to £150 an hour per megawatt, and they are not even buy ing our steel.

    Further evidence of just how incompetent Cameron and his cabinet are.

  7. Shieldsman says:

    Where the Government planning to have HS2 built with Chinese steel?
    Looking at TATA’s purchase:
    The difference between Tatas’ winning bid and Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional’s (CSN) offer was a mere five pence.
    It turned out to be the most costly five pence for the storied Indian business conglomerate.

    Corus Group Plc, code-named ‘Project Colour’ by Tatas, was won by the Indian group in 2007 after a gripping seven-and-half-hour final bidding. CSN, codenamed ‘Cardiff’ during the bidding process, outbid the Tatas by 10 pence a share at every round, while the Tatas, code-named ‘Truro’, pursued the target by increasing its offer by five pence.
    About a decade later, in hindsight, the five pence difference between the two bidders has cost the Tatas dearly, as the commodity cycle went for a toss.

    So the answer: The Government forgets HS2 for the time being, offers TATA a £1 for the Works, Nationlises it, leaves the EU, direct the subsidised windmill makers and the Navies shipbuilders to use its steel. If and when HS2 becomes viable build it with British steel.

  8. catweazle666 says:

    How long will it be until the global price of steel recovers and China and India have us over a barrel for every item made of steel we produce in this country?

    • Dung says:

      Cameron knows exactly what he is doing, he is deliberately closing down big energy users to make his crazy emissions targets possible, I am sorry but he is quite simply a liar.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Just wondering about that flyover collapse in Calcutta (kolkata whatever)


      Probably more snuffed it from living under it than those driving over it?

      • Jane Davies says:

        We are using inferior steel from China for our bridges here as per my comment below. Health and safety flies out the window when it comes to saving a few quid/bucks.
        I shake my head at this Indian construction, how did anyone think this flyover was a good idea anyway, sandwiched between buildings which look as though the slightest vibration would have them tumbling to the ground, and to be building this thing above streets teeming with people beggars belief. Has the world gone crazy…..does nobody have common sense any more?

  9. Jane Davies says:

    Our legacy to our grandchildren could be having to replace infrastructure costing multi-billion pounds/dollars because cheap Chinese steel being used today is not going to last. We already have examples of this here in Canada. When building a bridge one needs to know that the thing is going to be fit for purpose and not fall apart in a few years.

    As for Cameron’s continued insistence on parroting the lie “that we need EU membership for our security” one has to ask why he is so blinkered, what is his real reason for telling all of these lies to the British people? What is the real reason he wants to remain in this corrupt organisation because it sure as hell isn’t in the best interests of the people who have to pay the millions every day to stay in. His days are numbered surely he must see that? An election is going to be needed as soon as the referendum is done.

    Prosperity, Not Austerity—Let’s Leave The EU.

  10. davidbuckingham says:

    I’ve just read in the Architects Journal in a month-old article from Paul Finch that Goldman Sachs has come to the conclusion that the best way to reform the EU would be for Germany to pull out of the Euro and reconstitute the Deutschmark, allowing Euros to float against the Neumark, thereby rebalancing/resetting their economies. Also hadn’t realised that Ireland is our biggest trading partner, btw. I’ve left a comment there and also I hope rubbishing David Chipperfield’s pro-EU article.

  11. roddders says:

    Camerons duplicity is astounding he has no interest for Britain
    or its future for the youth. He is finished win or loose this in/out campaign,if we stay the public will soon realise that civil unrest will follow….sad sad sad

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