Daily Debrief May 11th

“Government taking the public for fools over Brexit”

A former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, and a member of Economists for Brexit , Cardiff Professor Patrick Minford says that government, with its scaremongering tactics, is “taking the public for fools” over Brexit.  He argues vigorously that taking Britain out of the EU’s Customs Union would be a shot in the arm for the British economy. He adds that the Treasury’s economic analysis is “a load of complete nonsense” that tries to blind us with science.  The Telegraph article comes with a tasteful photograph in the European parliament featuring my colleagues Gerard Batten and Stuart Agnew.

The same article reports that NIESR, the National Institute for Social & Economic Research, is forecasting that Brexit would “leave everyone in Britain between £500 and £2000 worse off”.  Of course it was NIESR that came up with the old “3½ million jobs” claim, although to be fair they did always insist that the jobs depended on trade with the EU, not on membership of the EU.

The trouble with economic models like that of the Treasury, and the NIESR (and indeed with climate change models) is that you have to input assumptions about how the world works, and if you make wrong assumptions, you get wrong answers.  In the case of NIESR, they simply assume that Brexit would cause the pound to devalue by 20% — and all the bad news follows from that.  But though there will certainly be volatility around Brexit, there is no reason to suppose that the pound will devalue by 20%.  Indeed there is every reason to expect it to appreciate as soon as markets realise that contrary to expectation, the sky is not falling.

The NIESR adds for good measure that “Whatever scenario you look at, UK consumers are going to be worse off”.  But that’s because they’ve only considered negative scenarios.

UK’s trade deficit with the EU hits new high

The Telegraph reports that the UK’s trade deficit with the EU has hit a new record – an eye-watering £23.9 billion in the first quarter of 2016.  This can largely be attributed to disarray in continental economies and the eurozone.

Two vital things we need to bear in mind about the economy: that  EU membership has certainly not done wonders for UK exports to the EU, or for the UK/EU trade deficit; and that the EU economies (and British exports to the EU) are in long-term relative decline.

New Poll: 55% of voters say Brexit is the only way to control immigration

A new Ipsos-MORI opinion poll in the Daily Mail finds that a clear majority of the British public believe that the only way to control immigration is to leave the EU.  Not a surprise, but it’s nice to have confirmation of what we hear on the doorstep.  Now let’s hope that 55% vote to leave on June 23rd.

Farmers for Brexit!

A survey by Farmers’ Weekly on April 29th showed a clear majority of farmers, 58%, in favour of Brexit (apologies that I didn’t flag it up earlier).   A second survey dated May 7th shows 62% of Young Farmers backing Brexit.  This is hugely encouraging news.  I’ve always regarded farmers as patriotic folk who might support the independence of their country – and who are highly critical of the bureaucracy of EU regulations and cross-compliance.  But at the same time, they have very natural concerns about their CAP cheques, without which many UK farms would cease to be viable.

Both I and our Agriculture Spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP have been at pains to point out that agriculture is subsidised in virtually all developed countries, that the UK had a perfectly good farm support scheme before we joined the “Common Market” in 1973, and will have one after we leave.  But it is very encouraging that in the face of genuine concerns about funding, a majority of farmers – and an even greater majority of young farmers – are backing Brexit.

Surprise: Patten opposes Brexit!

Good heavens.  Here’s a former European Commissioner (on a European pension) arguing that Brexit would damage Oxford University’s standing as a global centre of learning and academic excellence.  He bases this on his assumptions that (A) universities would get less money (but if we save £10 billion net on EU contributions we’ll be better able to fund essential UK services); and (B) That we’ll make it more difficult for foreign students and academics to come to the UK.  But there’s no proposal to do that, and it would be a bad move.

Sorry, Chris, but wrong on both counts.

Iraq Report delayed until after Brexit Referendum

In what looks like a cynical piece of stage management, publication of the long-awaited Chilcot Report into the Iraq War has been delayed to July – just after the EU referendum.  It will undoubtedly embarrass a number of prominent Remain campaigners, not least Tony Blair.  David Davis has said that the report has been deliberately delayed “on the thinnest of excuses” until after the referendum.

Turkey: “Europe is cruel to migrants”

Turkey’s President Erdogan has accused Europe of being “cruel” by closing its borders to refugees. European nations, he said, showed “no mercy and no justice”.  Meantime the EU/ Turkey deal on migrants appears to be heading for the buffers following the resignation of former Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu.   I hesitate to say what I think of President Erdogan’s opinion – after all, a German comedian is currently facing trial and a possible three years in jail for disrespecting the Turkish President.

ISIL plan to use migrant routes for UK attacks

The Telegraph reports that Afghan jihadists linked to ISIL are proposing to use migrant routes to launch attacks in the UK.  It also says that Theresa May has authorised additional maritime resource to stop terrorists and traffickers using smaller ports on the South Coast to infiltrate.

Kettle and toaster ban to follow EU vote

The EU is preparing to carry forward plans to ban high-powered small appliances like kettles, toasters and hair-dryers – but not until after the EU vote.  High powered vacuum cleaners were banned in 2014, despite public protests.  Maybe a kettles ban is not the strongest reason to vote for Brexit, but perhaps it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“Ploddy Ridiculous”

“Ploddy ridiculous” was the Sun’s front-page headline on this story.  When I first heard that the police had apologised for a realistic emergency simulation exercise, I naturally assumed that the public had been unnecessarily alarmed by guns and explosions on the street.  I was astonished to find they were actually apologising for potential offence to Muslims because the “terrorist” shouted “Allahu Akbar”. Political correctness has reached absurd proportions when the police have to apologise for staging a realistic training exercise.  Maybe they should have dressed the “terrorist” as Winnie the Pooh?

The fact is that while “Allahu Akbar” may be a sacred phrase to most Muslims, it has become a war-cry for jihadists, and it seems to me entirely appropriate that the term was used in that context.  It is the Jihadists who should be apologising for indiscriminate murder and outrage, not the police for conducting a training exercise.

Cameron accuses Nigeria of corruption

You could almost feel sorry for David Cameron.  For weeks he has been rightly castigated for his increasingly paranoid and bizarre warnings of the perils of Brexit.  Yet today he faces criticism for telling the truth.  Unfortunately he told it while speaking to Her Majesty and the Archbishop of Canterbury – and was caught on camera.  Corruption in certain countries is widespread and well documented.  But in mentioning it, especially in such a high-profile circumstance, he created a diplomatic incident.  It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

Has Boris had a make-over?

The pictures of Boris Johnson in the papers yesterday suggested a new persona.  Serious.  Earnest.  Focussed.  And with hair cut short – the familiar blond shock no longer in evidence.  Is this the new Prime Ministerial Boris, we ask ourselves?



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16 Responses to Daily Debrief May 11th

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I usually utter the call to A. Akhbar at the breakout of the first beer of the day. Not necessarily at the same time each day. Lets face it there has to be a great God where beer is concerned…..providing those natural ingredients and processes so nicely.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    EU Elevator Ban Day – May 13

    So don’t you dare do it, just risk the crowded staircases…idiots::


  3. The excuse/explanation for David Cameron’s election to “Tory” leadership and several of his subsequent policies, including over the EU, must be that he sails under false political colours, untroubled by a political moral conscience: he’s a “misleader” beneath political criticism!

    • Dung says:

      I totally agree Mr wardrop, whatever Cameron ‘thinks’ he is, he is actually of the liberal left. Cameron does indeed sail under false colours but he fails to understand the rules of the game. Sailing under false colours to deceive an enemy (note that the convention assumes you would not deceive a friend ^.^) requires that you maintain the deception right up to the moment of your attack. Cameron sails under different colours as the mood takes him and therefore no longer deceives anyone but himself.

  4. ian wragg says:

    It would be interesting to know just how much is planned for after the referendum.
    I’m sure the 5 presidents have a whole shopping list of goodies to annoy the proles.

  5. Shieldsman says:

    I am so used to Cameron telling lies that I was absolutely amazed that he told the Queen

    I have just been reading Hansard – EU Referendum Leaflet – 09 May 2016 Volume 609 and it makes interesting reading. As I said yesterday the opening statement could be legally questionable

    Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con)
    My hon. Friend is right that the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee has done extraordinarily well. Has he seen the article in The Daily Telegraph today by the distinguished Chairman of the Select Committee on Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis), who comes out very strongly indeed and says that what the Prime Minister is talking about with regard to war is complete and utter nonsense? Surely the Chairman of the Defence Committee must know better than the Prime Minister.

    Paul Scully
    I will leave my hon. Friend to be the judge of that. There is nothing in the leaflet about the actual option available to voters, which is between a UK able to take its own democratic decisions and an EU emboldened by our thumbs up to further integration.

    Paul Scully
    The Five Presidents’ report shows the direction of travel, should we vote to remain. It sets out plans for fiscal and political union, further pooling of decision making on national budgets and harmonisation of insolvency law, company law, property rights and social security systems. It makes it clear that those plans are to be pursued as single market measures applying to all 28 states. The Governor of the Bank of England admits there are risks of remaining in the European Union, in particular in relation to the development of the euro area. We have been roped into bail-out packages before, despite assurances that that would no longer happen. The latest guarantee, I am afraid, is no better. The Financial Times reports that it has seen the German draft White Paper pushing for progress towards a European army. That was due to emerge in June but is now being held back until July. Make no mistake: should we vote to remain, the European club will not be the same as the one we are already in for long.

    Voting to stay in is not the same as voting to stay put. Despite the leaflet having positive headlines on each page, the body of the text suggests, in a number of ways, that the only way is Europe and that we are stuffed if we leave. Some are implied. For example, it suggests that many jobs might be lost, via the dubious claim that 3 million jobs are linked to the EU—a link described by the academic on whose study that figure was based as “pure Goebbels”. That link, by the way, first came about in around 2000 as a reason for joining the eurozone.

    The leaflet claims that, as the UK is not part of the EU’s border-free zone, we control our own borders. We can certainly check passports at our border, and we can refuse entry to those without any valid identity documents. However, that is not the same as saying that we can refuse entry to anyone from other EU countries if they have valid documents, and it is certainly not the same as saying that we can control immigration.

    Mrs Main
    Following a recent answer to a question I asked on how many people are turned away from this country, it seems that 20 times more applicants from non-EU countries are turned away than those from EU countries. That shows that, unless people are particularly criminal outside the EU, we have only cursory checks and a cursory ability to stop people from EU countries coming in.

    Paul Scully
    My hon. Friend makes a good point. My father was born in Burma. I have seen the good side of immigration, but mass uncontrolled immigration has a major effect on our infrastructure and public services—the NHS, housing and school places. We cannot tackle that effectively with one arm tied behind our back. Even the Treasury report uses the assumption that the Government will fail in their policy commitment to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands, not just this year, but every year until 2030.
    Enough is enough. We have the fifth largest economy. We have the fourth largest army. We speak the language of business. We have the ideal geographic location for world trade, and we have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Yes, there are risks on either side, but I am confident that we are big enough, bold enough and entrepreneurial enough as a nation to manage that risk and to thrive if we vote to leave.​
    Kate Hoey
    The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He and other members of the Committee feel so strongly about this matter that they are prepared to take very strong action if we do not get agreement from the Government to take the websites down. What is even more amazing to the public is this. When they talk about “the Government”, it is the Cabinet, and the Cabinet is actually split on this matter. If the Government were really being fair, two thirds of the leaflet would have been from one side and one third would have been from the Brexit side.

    Andrew Percy
    Is not the situation even worse than that? The official policy of the party of government is neutrality.

    Kate Hoey
    I do not normally look at the detail of Conservative party policy, but I am very pleased to hear and to repeat that. I felt very angry when the leaflet came out. I looked through it and saw all the so-called facts that we can go through and spend a lot of time pulling to pieces, but when it comes down to it, I have great confidence in the common sense of the British public. I think they will already have seen through the leaflet and seen it for what it is—full propaganda. Then, of course, we wake up literally every day to another shock-horror dreadful scare story. The stories become ​more ridiculous every day, today’s one being just about the most ridiculous possible—that we are threatened with war. In fact, it is absolutely shameful, because there are some people in this country who believe Prime Ministers and who will be slightly worried about that. It is absolutely shameful that the level of debate from the leadership of this country is so trivial and ridiculous that they come up with scare stories such as that.

    Dr Lewis
    Yes, it is absolutely clear that the Government are and always have been set on remaining come what may. The manoeuvres do not happen by accident. It is ​no accident that there appears to be a total boycott of the debate by Members from the remain side of the argument, other than the Front Benchers who have to be here. It was no coincidence that we had the intervention from the retired heads of MI5 and MI6 just 24 hours before the Prime Minister made his speech today. Such things are orchestrated. I can only assume that the more questionable the Government’s tactics come to be, the less able they will be to find people to stand up and defend them.

    Kate Hoey
    The hon. Gentleman mentioned EU pensions, which is something that really bugs me. There are all those Members in the House of Lords who have worked for the European Union as commissioners and so on and now have big pensions—really, they are signed up to never bringing the European Union into disrepute. Does he agree not only that should they have to declare an interest, which they do not, but that they should not be allowed to take part or vote in anything to do with the European Union? They are deeply committed to it because of their huge pensions and if they say anything wrong they might get that taken away.

    Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
    It is a great pleasure to be called to speak, albeit late, in this well attended, though I must say one-sided debate. I ask right hon. and hon. Members to spare a thought for my right hon. Friend the Minister. He reminds me of one of those renaissance pictures of St Sebastian, who stands tethered to a tree, his body pierced by a multitude of arrows shot by myriad archers. He has been called on many times to defend the Government’s handling of the referendum process. Today he seeks to defend the frankly shabby piece of disinformation posing as an informative leaflet, which has been comprehensively shredded, metaphorically, by the participants in the debate, just as it has no doubt been physically shredded by many of the people who had the unfortunate experience of finding it dropping through their letter box.

    The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington)
    This afternoon, many of the arguments and—dare I say it?—many members of the cast have been an extended reprise of the exchanges that took place following my statement on the publication of the Government’s leaflet on 11 April. The Government’s position remains as I set out then: we believe that the referendum is potentially the most important decision that the British people will make on any political issue in their lifetime.
    Independent polling carried out on our behalf made it clear that 85% of people wanted more information from the Government to help them to make an informed decision. We believe that the leaflet that we have distributed, the footnotes that we have published on the Government website so that the evidence on which we have made the statements presented in it can be examined and challenged, and the other Government publications, deliver on that commitment and help to fulfil that need.
    Yes, as others have said, the Government are not neutral in the debate. The Government have a very clear collective position to support the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union.

    Richard Drax
    The Minister uses the word “collective”. The position is not collective, in that the Cabinet is split and the party is split—it represents, in effect, the Government; we are the party in power. It is not a collective decision at all.

    Mr Lidington
    I am sorry, but there was a collective Cabinet decision. There are and always have been—for as long as I have been in politics—honourable, sincerely held differences of opinion within our party and within the Labour party about the European question. The Prime Minister therefore said that, on this issue and this issue alone, he would relax the normal rules by which Ministers are obliged to support the collective Government position without question and that those Ministers would, in a personal capacity, be able to express their dissenting views.

    So there you have it. I am David Cameron, I am the Prime Minister, I am the Boss, I am the Dictator a I have decided we must remain in the EU at all costs. My part of the Cabinet decided to publish the leaflet stating why we cannot possibly leave the EU, because I have fixed it.

  6. mike5262015 says:

    I have just seen P.M.Qs, and as usual Cameron wins the day ! It is expected, with questions known about and his staff working well with time to prepare good enough responses. I do however, detect a smidget of Napoleon Complex, added to a slightly camouflaged petulance. I have stated before, that Cameron is in need of medical help. Will he last the distance to the 23rd. June, with Polls showing well for VOTE OUT ?

  7. Jane Davies says:

    Here is some light reading for bedtime, I see Shieldsman has posted some bits of it, it would seem the consensus is that the 9 million spent on the leaflet of lies was an outrage, but then I have only skimmed it for now. I think it was Liam Fox who said the PM, as yet, hasn’t forecast a plague of locusts and pestilence if the UK leaves the EU. Perhaps he is saving that until next week!


  8. Jane Davies says:

    There is no money we are told, by this government of this rich country, to uprate the frozen state pensions for the 4% who are just as entitled to an indexed pension as the 96%, and yet there is money for other things. After paying in to the NI scheme for 44 years todays pensioners receive a paltry 6,204 pounds a year, the third worse pension in OECD. Only the state pensions of Chile and Mexico are worse. But it makes one feel warm and fuzzy that some politicians are paying spouses and other family members nearly as much as a full state pension amount ON TOP of the usual salary, does it not?….. no?….. me neither…. nepotism at it’s worse, or best, whichever way you see it.


  9. Matthew Bennett says:

    Thankyou Roger for keeping us informed as to the real truths!! I happily obliged in sending back the EU propaganda that ‘cast-iron Dave’ sent me courtesy of the U.K. taxpayer, but was upset to find out afterwards, that if I’d have sent it to Conservative central office, that they’d have had to pay for postage!! My dad was a former Tory councillor and is now an honourary Alderman, and I’ve convinced him to join UKIP!!! Please keep up the great work you do on behalf of us all. Many thanks to you and your team that keep us all truly informed

  10. Roger Turner says:

    I don`t know about the Govt.taking us for fools, but I`ve got a feeling that branch of the Govt.called the BBC is doing so.
    Just watched the 6 o`clock BBC news cast, part of which was an analysis of what happens to our EU entrance money, how it is divided up and what we get back.
    I know I`m just an average voter re: the finer points of this imposition, but I`m sure I watched a travesty of gobbledeygook designed to baffle rather than inform, but with the overall intent convincing us we get a great deal with the rebate etc. etc.etc. and finishes up saying we`ll lose out because if we leave our GDP will shrink
    Please,please,please, is anybody paying attention and if so can they complain and rebut it
    or at least tell me I`m getting my proverbials in a twist over nothing

    • Jane Davies says:

      Did they, the biased BBC, also say that the EU dictates where this taxpayers ‘refund’ is spent? I would think the majority of hard working citizens would rather keep the whole amount and spend it where it is needed for the British people!

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Mr Helmer and a few others have a formal 300+ page complaint in at the BBC. I linked to it a few pages back on this site.

  11. Pingback: Daily Debrief May 12th | Roger Helmer MEP

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