Daily Debrief April 1st

Port Talbot: “We’ll do all we can”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid is again hiding behind this meaningless cant phrase “We’ll do all we can”.   Yes, Sajid, but what can you do?  Under EU rules, practically nothing.  A precondition for saving steel (and our energy-intensive industries more generally) is to leave the EU, and to implement rational energy polices, and if necessary rational anti-dumping policies.  The USA can do it.  An independent Britain could do it.  The EU has repeatedly shown itself incapable of doing it.

Cameron has been slightly more honest: “No guarantee that steel can be saved”, he says.

There is much criticism of Sajid Javid for taking his daughter to Australia, but that wholly misses the point. Never mind his daughter.  Criticise him rather for not anticipating the problem (I’ve been writing about the threat to our energy-intensive industries for several years).  Criticise him for failing to set up a task force to find ways of delivering competitive energy prices to industry.  And for failing to address anti-dumping issues (indeed, we now read, failing to prevent the British government lobbying Brussels against anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel), and for failing to address the critical business rates problem.

The Times headlines “Steel Crisis blamed on desire to woo Beijing”.  The FT: “UK accused of blocking move to shut out cheap steel that hurt Tata”.  Meantime the Guardian leads with “Ministers start hunt for Tata steel buyers”.   Good luck with that one, guys.

“EU spends more on spin than on fighting terrorism”

The Express reports that the EU plans to spend €224 million on propaganda this year (something to do with the UK Referendum, perhaps?) as against €204 on counter-terrorism (as Allison Pearson put it, “We have GCHQ – the Belgians have Inspector Clouseau”).  It also employs three times as many people in its media department as in its migration and home affairs office.  Nice to know we’re getting value from out £350 million a week EU subscription.

“Living Wage” starts today

Appropriately on April 1st, the government is introducing its National Living Wage.  Cabinet Minister and Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has warned that a higher minimum wage will increase the immigration pull factor.   It is a significant move which will wholly overwhelm the Prime Minister’s trivial proposals for adjustments in in-work benefits for migrants.  It will also undermine one of the purported “benefits” of mass immigration – the availability of cheap labour.  For many low-paid workers, the mere increase in their wages will be more or less equivalent to average industrial wages in Romania.

The ONS estimates that the policy will cost 60,000 jobs by 2020.  Not many in the overall scheme of things – unless you happen to be one of the 60,000.  Meantime the move will put upward cost pressure on retailers, the hospitality industry, and especially care homes.  Finding a care home for granny might suddenly become much more difficult and expensive.

David Cameron mocks Eurosceptic splits

The Telegraph reports that our Prime Minister (who has a long suit in sarcasm) has mocked Eurosceptic groups for their failure to unite, and criticised “their inability to spell out what would happen after an OUT vote”.  Perhaps it would be unkind to recall that the Prime Minister totally failed to predict what would happen after his famous renegotiation.  He predicted he would come back with a new deal for a reformed Europe.  UKIP predicted he would come back with next to nothing.  Guess who was right.

Of course we don’t know exactly what the new deal will be with the EU after the two-year negotiation specified in the Lisbon Treaty.  No one knows exactly what the outcome of any future negotiation will be.  But we have a very clear picture that a free trade deal will be better than political union.

Let’s turn the tables.  Cameron likes to warn of job losses caused by Brexit.  We on the other hand can point (sadly) to job losses and plant closures happening today, as a result of EU membership, in Port Talbot and elsewhere (I was with a specialist steel producer in Rotherham yesterday, who spoke of fears across Yorkshire of the knock-on effects of the Tata closure).

Let’s ask Cameron to tell us exactly what will happen if we stay in the EU.  How many more plant closures and job losses in energy-intensive businesses?  How soon will the €uro collapse?  How will the immigration crisis play out?  When will Germany give EU passports to Merkel’s million migrants, so that they can head to Oxford Street, or to a town near you?  When will Turkey join the EU?  My estimate is that a million Turks will come to Britain if Turkey joins.  What is Cameron’s estimate?  Will he tell us, please?  Exactly?

Turkey returns migrants illegally to Syria

I wrote yesterday about claims that Turkish border guards had shot sixteen Syrian migrants over a four month period.  Today, Amnesty International is claiming that Turkey has systematically and illegally rounded up Syrian migrants in Turkey and returned them illegally to Syria. They claim that up to a hundred migrants a day have been deported illegally in recent months – meaning that at least several thousand migrants are involved.

This was not the intention of the EU/Turkey migration deal, which had specific clauses regarding protection and rights of migrants.  Nonetheless given the stress in the region, it will not be surprising.  It shows the limits of EU influence in Turkey.  And it reflects badly on Turkey’s EU accession aspirations.

Brexit threat to football hopes

The Telegraph reports that French and German football authorities might seek to ban the British homes nations from Euro 2016 if we vote to leave on June 23rd.  .  Is this an April 1st spoof, I ask myself?  Is football about the beautiful game, or merely about politics?  We’ll see.

Brussels to ban Bubbly?

Driven by its obsession with CO2 emissions, there are stories that the Commission is looking at a ban on sparkling wines, which contribute several hundred tons of CO2 to the atmosphere annually.  This will cause alarm in the Champagne Region, but it goes far wider.  There are sparkling Loire wines from France, Prosecco and Asti Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain.  And beyond the EU, both Australia and the USA are major sparkling wine producers.

Any ban on the import of sparkling wines could of course fall foul of WTO rules.  This should be an interesting dispute.  But there is a bitter irony here.  The nascent British sparkling wine industry has scored some big successes in international competitions, and the growth of the industry has been attributed to warming temperatures.  It would be a sad day if this new British industry, resulting from modest global warming, were to suffer as a result of the battle against climate change.

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20 Responses to Daily Debrief April 1st

  1. colin kay says:

    Camoron`s estimate of the number of Turks that will come to Britain, should it all go his way, will probably be along the lines of the great liar Blair when he claimed tha only 10 to 15,000 poles would come when we allowed them free access to our land and we all kow how that one played out!

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    There is a TV ad running on French TV News (FRANCE 24 – English). Its Turkish Airlines saying now is a good time to visit Turkey…oh really?

    Steel – David TC Davies (Con Monmouth) on the subject:

  3. Dung says:

    The main problem here is not the EU (although that is a huge problem of course) it is David Cameron himself and the Labour sponsored Climate Change Act (written by a Friends of the Earth activist) which he will not amend or repeal).

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Large LOL Alert – Cameron

    Guido and Phones?

    Fools day each and every for him?

  5. F. Hugh Eveleigh says:

    Thank you for these comprehensive and measured daily briefs. I read them all – some times I despair but you presume a nicely balanced touch of optimism so I generally finish them with ‘Let’s hope the people vote for independence’.

  6. Thanks, Roger. I swiped some of your text to post on my Facebook page. I don’t suppose you have a problem with that.

    “Dear Mr Cameron, would you be so kind as to tell us exactly what will happen if we stay in the EU? How many more plant closures and job losses in energy-intensive businesses? How soon will the €uro collapse? How will the immigration crisis play out? When will Germany give EU passports to Merkel’s million migrants, so that they can head to Oxford Street, or to a town near us? When will Turkey join the EU? My estimate is that a million Turks will come to Britain if Turkey joins. What is your estimate, Mr Cameron? Will you tell us, please? Exactly?”

  7. Anyoldiron says:

    I look at what is happening NOW Roger and wonder what that last WAR was all about. So very many gave THEIR lives fighting for our freedom. Not only that, people my age went through a Full Scale WAR, and yes we, as a family were indeed bombed out living not far from the much used Manchester Ship Canal in those days. The only good thing then was that my School was fire bombed and I went Scrapnel picking for while, at least until certain “spoil sports” found us “woodsheds” outside another School which we had to walk there to get to. If we remain in the EU, it surely must be time for NATIONAL Governments and Parliament to be closed down completely and forever-for the European Union is indeed meant to be FOREVER. Two World Wars failed, but now we PAY foreigners to Govern us-which is indeed absolutely contrary to our very own Common Law Constitution-which is exactly WHY we went to WAR to prevent foreigners governing us in the first place. The Act of Supremacy 1559 It included the words:
    “…all usurped and foreign power and authority…may forever be clearly extinguished, and never used or obeyed in this realm. …no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate…shall at any time after the last day of this session of Parliament, use, enjoy or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, preeminence or privilege…within this realm, but that henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm, for ever.”

  8. Dung says:

    Roger, you know that there is much that Cameron can do but he never will.
    He could amend or repeal the Climate Change Act.
    He could protect our high energy industries until the act was repealed.
    He could put the country before his beloved environmental beliefs (and before the EU of course)
    He could (genuinely this time) go for Shale in the UK.
    This country will not succeed until both Cameron and the EU are safely stored away in history.

  9. Shieldsman says:

    Chinese steel may be cheap, but we are not buying that much of it.
    So where are the large imports of steel coming from? Have you guessed it – yes the EU.
    In January, the last month for official figures, the UK imported £202m of steel from the rest of the EU and only £80m from the Rest of the world. The way EU energy, regulatory and procurement policies are enforced in the UK versus the continent allow much more steel to be produced in
    the rest of the EU than here.
    Now Siemens owns a lot of UK companies (having bought them out, I worked for one when I left school) I wonder where they buy their steel from?
    I covered David T C Davies MP chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee questioning of Anna Soubry yesterday.
    This took place on 10 February when Cameron was playing out his ‘I have reformed the EU’ charade. His attention span is limited and he is now doing his Nero act – there is nothing he can do, so he will keep on fiddling along with Georgy Porgy.

  10. Shieldsman says:

    I can only add that as Ministerial posts are filled on a quota system very rarely are they filled by a suitably qualified person.
    The ladies have made lots of silly arguments for staying in and I am sure nearer the referendum we can publish lists of their stupidity.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Of course not all politician’s are tortoises Roger! This describes the other lot!

      A good definition of a politician……

      While stitching a cut on the hand of a 75 year old farmer, whose hand was caught in the squeeze gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.
      Eventually the topic got around to politicians and their role as our leaders.
      The old farmer said, “Well, as I see it, most politicians are ‘Post Tortoises’.”
      Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post tortoise’ was.
      The old farmer said,
      “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that’s a post tortoise.”
      The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued to explain.
      “You know he didn’t get up there by himself,
      He doesn’t belong up there,
      He doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function,
      And you just wonder what kind of dumb fool put him up there to begin with.”

      Best explanation of a politician I’ve ever heard.

  11. MIKE maunder says:

    CRYSTAL BALLS, WELL BALLS ANYWAY ! I received a stay in pamphlet the other day, and without honouring it by its detail, I wonder how many people will see just how stupid it was ? They berate UKIP and others for not giving a straight answer to the question, ‘ How many jobs will be lost if we leave ‘? Although UKIP is a jolly good Party, it is clear that they can’t predict such detail, and don’t believe in any great loss. As yet I have not heard of Nigel Farage’s use of a crystal ball to read the future. HOWEVER. This stay in pamphlet gave figures of 950,000 who will be out of a job. ( One million smacks of guess work, but their figure hints at it, with those who are open to fear, and believing that some deep calculations have taken place ). LIE UPON LIES seem to be all that they can come up with, unless Cameron and his mates have hired a seer, in which case, would it not be better to pass government over to him or her ? The late Neville Chamberlain was not a liar, but he was a fool, and Cameron seems hell-bent on being filed away with him when the people wake up to his lies. JUST VOTE OUT……..Please !

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      My bin is quite close to the Front Door…sort of Auto bin. Only postie won’t do the auto bit?

      • MIKE maunder says:

        Oh, mine went into the bin O.K., but only after breaking out in anger, and then laughter. I just don’t want these lies and total drivel to get into the hands of people with limited I.Qs

      • Dung says:

        It is not the IQ so much as the lack of honest information from the media.

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