Daily Debrief April 16th


Day One of the Official Campaign

Yesterday saw Boris Johnson speaking at a Leave campaign event in Manchester.  As always, he was ready with the memorable phrase, comparing the Remain Campaign to the notorious remarks of jeweller Gerald Ratner, which wiped half a billion from the value of his company.  Like Ratner (says Boris) the Remain Campaign has a dodgy product which they don’t really believe in themselves (as evident in Jeremy Corbyn’s EU speech), and of which they are secretly ashamed.  Yet they still try to pass it off on the unsuspecting public.

Never short of hard-hitting similes, Boris also likened voting Remain to “being locked in a mini-cab with a dodgy sat-nav and a driver who speaks no English”.   The Mirror describes Boris as “a joke that has ceased to be funny”.  Personally I find him hilarious – and also rather effective.

Michael Gove in Nottingham: Michael Gove spoke at a rally in Nottingham, saying Britain would be “stronger, safer and more prosperous” outside the EU.

George Osborne’s broken record:  Osborne repeated his warning that Brexit could cause market volatility (a small price to pay for freedom and democracy) and could also lead to a lower Pound (exporters will be grateful) and possibly higher interest rates (savers will be glad of that). Yes George.  Brexit could also lead to lower prices, cheaper energy, faster growth, more jobs.  And freedom and self-determination.

“Brexit pressure mounts on Cameron”

The FT headlines “Brexit pressure mounts on Cameron”, reporting that Ken Clarke, that old stalwart of the pro-Brussels movement, said “Cameron will not last 30 seconds after an OUT vote”.  For once I’m inclined to agree with Ken.  Meantime Tory Eurosceptics like Bernard Jenkin were issuing dire warnings of the consequences for the Conservative Party if Britain votes to remain in the EU.

The Express nails its colours to the mast

Under a massive headline “STICK IT TO THE EU”, the Express offers a free window poster for Brexit.  No doubt where they stand, then.

The Blair Rich Project

After the Panama Papers, the innuendo about Cameron’s off-shore bonds, and the farce of Corbyn’s failure to tell HMRC about his three pensions, The Times now takes aim at Tony Blair, devoting its whole front page to “The Blair Rich Project”.  If Cameron has recently been choking over his Weetabix, this could well have our Tony phoning his lawyers over the Œufs Bénédict.

Greeks shop for guns as migrant concerns rise

The Telegraph reports that Greeks are buying hunting rifles amid concerns over unrest among the many thousands of migrants building up in the country.  Let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Foreign aid spending set to overtake council funding

It’s forecast that next year our UK foreign aid budget will exceed central government financial support for local councils. The outrage against our disproportionate foreign aid spending is growing.  We’ve seen money given to China (while Chinese steel exports undermine our steel industry) and to India (while it builds a nuclear weapons capability and a space programme).  We’ve seen aid going to corrupt dictatorships.  And apparently DFID are scratching around desperate to spend truckloads of money in the absence of viable projects.  This has to stop – along with our eye-watering contributions to the EU.  This is borrowed money that our children and grandchildren will be paying back for decades.

No more Roundup?

Last week in Strasbourg MEPs voted to ban the use of the weed killer glyphosate in a domestic/home context (they’d tried to ban it entirely, without success).  Glyphosate has been in widespread use in farms and in gardens for decades, with no evidence of harm.  It’s the active ingredient in Roundup, which I have used on my garden.  But the Greens and their allies have seized on disputed reports that it may be carcinogenic.  But then so are wood-smoke and coffee, and no one is banning them.

We need to distinguish between risk and hazard.  Lots of things in daily life are hazardous – paracetamol and petrol, to name but two.  But properly used, the risks are minimal, and we are not filled with terror when we fill up with petrol.  In Brussels, they love to talk about “The Precautionary Principle”.  I’d rather they kept a sense of proportion.

MEPs to spend £8 million on liveried chauffeurs

While we’re on the subject of MEPs, there’s a parliament plan to spend £8 million on “liveried chauffeurs” for the parliament – to “guard against the risk of kidnap”.  Security is always a good excuse for spending money.  The only way to stop this folly is Brexit.  Please vote on June 23rd to give me my P45.

“La menace du Brexit”

I rarely venture into foreign newspapers, but yesterday I was in Paris (for three and a half hours), on a panel at a Conference on Brexit and Higher Education at the University of London’s Institute in Paris, on the Rue de Constantine. and I noticed a headline in Le Figaro“La menace du Brexit se rapproche”.  I don’t think you’ll need a translation.  The message seems to be getting through.

Now the Dutch want a TTIP referendum

Fresh from their success in their referendum on the proposed EU/Ukraine deal, the Dutch are now proposing a new referendum on TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.   But it looks as though the Brussels institutions will simply ignore the Dutch vote.


The Eurovision farago perhaps stands as a metaphor for the EU: set up with good intentions to bring people together, it results in ridicule and rancour, with accusations of political bias – and some very embarrassing performances.  The Daily Mirror, always focusing on the great national issues, reports that the current head of the project (if we can dignify it with the term), Swedish producer Christer Bjőrkman, has claimed that the late Sir Terry Wogan “ruined the show with his mockery”. Personally, I thought that Sir Terry was the only thing that made it worth watching.

One other parallel between the Eurovision Song Contest and the EU – they’re both so last century.




























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21 Responses to Daily Debrief April 16th

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    As regards Roundup Weedkiller that the UN thinks might/may/possibly be carcinogenic….other european authorities don’t believe that. Apart from that a problem lies with the Vine Weevil of which the EU had banned the relevant pesticide. That weevil decimated about a third of my strawberry plants this year. I wondered why the new estate owner (Blackbird) had been digging furiously around them. So its back to pulling plants up and dragging the grubs out…again!

    Bee starvation – CO2 Alert
    Might, Possibly, Maybe, Could?


    Haven’t bees been around for millions of years, when various epochs had higher levels of CO2 and other stuff?

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Meanwhile in a distant looney land:

    Hydro rates going up this summer, Ontario Energy Board says


    Will prepare for incoming?

  3. Shieldsman says:

    What a pity, vote.leave having won the official nomination, they don’t spend a bit more time coaching Johnson, Gove and other speakers on the EU organisation and ghastly failures.
    The media especially the BBC were always going to feature the best known players in the EU battle whether they were expert or not. In fact having a pro EU bias they find it easier to trip Boris up when he suggests the Canadian – EU trade talks are a model to follow.

    Why doesn’t any one go for the real target, Cameron’s claim that we should stay in his non existent ‘reformed European Union’. Many of the Public see it as a lie, a confidence trick, his best of both worlds is a myth.
    Come on some who one who has the medias attention hit him straight between the eyes. Perhaps the Tory eurosceptics are more concerned with healing the split in the Parliamentary Party and not complying with their grassroots.

    Perhaps the EU is a house of cards, a unilateral undemocratic move by one Countries leader and it all comes tumbling down. Angela Merkel opens Germany’s borders to asylum seekers and an uncontrollable migrant invasion of Europe continues unabated.

    Is this the vaunted reformed EU Cameron recommends?

  4. Dung says:

    —-> Ex-expat Colin
    Bees are far too sensible to express an opinion about CO2 ^.^
    A great many people who know nothing about CO2 are however only too anxious advertise their ignorance by speaking about it at every opportunity.
    Some loon at the recent Paris climate conference actually suggested that we aim for zero atmospheric CO2.
    The currently accepted geological history of the planet has it that when the Earth was first formed, CO2 represented 800,000 parts per million of the atmosphere. Without any help from man, atmospheric CO2 has fallen to 400 ppm (although during the last ice age it fell to about 280 ppm), the recent boost by CO2 emissions being a most welcome improvement 🙂
    What people are not shouting about is that there is a minimum level of atmospheric CO2 required to support the life we have on Earth. If atmospheric CO2 drops below 140/180 ppm then all current life on the planet (apart from bacteria) will die out.

  5. Tyro Trainer says:

    UK Column news channel (programme dated 15th April) has some very well informed and well-explained coverage of TTIP. The producers leave one in no doubt that Britain cannot afford to remain in. Brexit is the ONLY option. I’d recommend you to view the channel if you have not already done so, and encourage others to. It is down to earth honest reporting by two superb presenters, with in-depth coverage of the news the MSM choose to ignore.

  6. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Patrick Moore:

    And he has a bet on for anyone: (at Paris Clime Conf and no takers yet)

    Patrick Moore ‎@EcoSenseNow
    To confirm, I raise my bet to US$100,000 that global CO2 emissions will be higher ten years from now than in 2014, based on IEA & GCP.
    6:56 AM – 1 Jan 2016 · Mexico, México

  7. Dung says:

    ——> Ex-expat Colin
    Moore made a great speech to The Global Warming Policy Foundation around Christmas and it was superb 🙂
    Some of the things he said in your video were slightly misleading but not in a way that in any way detracts from his message.
    He mentioned an optimum level of atmospheric CO2 but he did not make it clear that the optimum would only relate to present day life forms. Higher levels of CO2 would facilitate new or currently extinct life such as huge trees, huge leaves and lush foliage. The limit for humans is either 10,000 ppm or 100,000 ppm (forgive my failing memory 🙂

  8. On the business about glyphosate if it is not the substance it is the manufacturer and its terms and conditions, for instance you cannot get the contracts to sow GMO seeds without the tie in to using the glyphosate based week killer – I am trying to see a reason for it when we have done without for so long anyway. It’s being tied into big agri business because they own the ;’rights’ to your product, which itself has to be protected by their chemicals as part of the T&C. The freedom to say yes to big Agri such as Monsanto by leaving the EU is also the freedom to say get stuffed to GMO because its weed killers are broad spectrum herbicides, meaning they kill off all crops as well as weeds and you have no choice but to grow GMO forever once they bind into the soil.

  9. davidbuckingham says:

    Need to emphasise and demonstrate how the redundancy of foreign aid if tariffs and regulations are eliminated. Cynical and fearful EU protectionism has condemned the poorer nations to poverty by shutting out their potential to trade. Added to which aid isn’t sufficiently linked, I think often not at all, to the setting up of free market conditions in the recipient country and reciprocal free trade with the donor country et al. Mercantilist trade deals between pressure groups, fixed by governments, is utter waste of manhours – the bureaucrats’ and business’ – on top of taxpayers’ money which might otherwise buy foreign goods…. The state needs to just get out of the way. Hong Kong not China!

  10. davidbuckingham says:

    plse delete ‘how’

  11. Dung says:

    Spending a ‘fixed’ amount on foreign aid without first establishing the objectives is just one more example of national disasters signed sealed and delivered by Cameron (with apologies to Stevie Wonder).

  12. Shieldsman says:

    Wither the EU
    I can’t say I know much about the EU, but then the BES team know little or nothing either judging by a stupid remark about engaging foreign football players.

    On improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty
    (2014/2249(INI)). Towards a common defence policy
    83. Calls for progressive steps to be taken towards a common defence policy (Article 42(2) TEU) and, eventually, a common defence, which can be set up by unanimous decision of the European Council;
    91. Calls for the creation of a permanent military operational headquarters that would cooperate closely with the existing Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC); calls for the institutionalisation of the various European military structures (among others the different ‘Battle Groups’, Euroforces, France-United Kingdom defence cooperation, Benelux air defence cooperation) into the EU framework, and for an increase in the usability of EU battlegroups, inter alia by extending common financing and by considering, by default, their deployment as an initial entry force in future crisis management scenarios;
    92. Notes that this permanent headquarters could engage in permanent contingency planning and play a major coordinating role in future applications of Article 42(7) TEU
    93. Considers that there is a need to enhance EU-NATO cooperation at all levels in areas such as capability development and contingency planning for hybrid threats, and to intensify efforts at removing remaining political obstacles;

    Could this lead to the formation of a European Army all arranged by QMV. Read 2014/2249(INI)

  13. Jane Davies says:

    ” The outrage against our disproportionate foreign aid spending is growing. We’ve seen money given to China (while Chinese steel exports undermine our steel industry) and to India (while it builds a nuclear weapons capability and a space programme). We’ve seen aid going to corrupt dictatorships.”
    Meanwhile Ros Altmann stands up in parliament parroting the DWP’s mantra that there is no money to pay the 4% an indexed state pension, which is frozen just because of where they live in retirement, even though they are entitled to indexing like everybody else by virtue of a lifetimes NI contributions. What an outrageous slap in the face for pensioners who have worked and paid taxes and yet are the forgotten victims of this illogical lottery.

    • John S Churchill Jnr says:

      It is being said that upon Brexit, we will have to make a payment for Single Market access. If achieved a la Norway, it will be by making payments to poorer states for specific development projects (see “Norway Financial Mechanism” for how it works) auditing the process ourselves. This will be Overseas Aid and would come out of the 0.7% GDP account so will not cost us any extra! A price worth paying methinks?

  14. Jane Davies says:

    I see Liam Fox thinks this aid is government money, somebody tell him the government doesn’t have any, it is taxpayers money. He may well be saying this overseas aid amount is a scandal but typically he is another politician who forgets that it is not his or any other politicians to spend like it’s going out of fashion.

  15. MIKE m says:

    I have to admit that Boris is not my favourite person. It’s personal rather than political, but I went through his video, and I thought it was damned good. Well done Boris.
    I also watched Brexit the Movie. – Wow ! – So well put together, and to my mind impossible for anyone seeing that to entertain voting to stay with the E.U. Any chance of sabotage to the Eurovision time waste, and get this shown ?
    Ken Clarke is right about Cameron. We win, and he’s out. Then again, since all the Party Leaders have backed the wrong side, shouldn’t we have a General Election ?
    I was brought up with my Father taking The Daily Express. – ( Beaverbrook days ! ), and always found it to cover free trade and Empire/Commonwealth preference.
    The Liveried Chauffeurs for M.E.Ps is a beauty, and the waste of £8 million can surely be the route for another few thousand votes out !
    Good news about the Dutch. I thought that TTIP was all but dead, but no doubt Obama’s visit to Germany for a chat, has emboldened the E.U. to put it up again, and the Dutch don’t like it. I don’t think we are that much alone over in Europe !.

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