Daily Debrief May 29th

25 days to Independence Day!

Boris & Gove lash Cameron on immigration

The Times headlines “Boris and Gove lash Cameron on immigration”.  They have a strong point.  Before the last election, Cameron made a clear and unequivocal promise to get net immigration down to “tens of thousands”.  This was (generously) interpreted as “below 100,000”.  He utterly failed.  Immigration figures went up.  But instead of being honest, and admitting he simply can’t keep that pledge while we’re in the EU, he offers some mealy-mouthed hope that it can still be achieved – but no one knows how.

Gove and Johnson rightly claim that Prime Ministerial promises which are self-evidently false “corrode public trust”, and they are not wrong.

In a related story, Minister Priti Patel writes an incendiary piece saying that Cameron, with his wealth and privileged lifestyle, simply cannot understand the  damage which mass immigration does to ordinary people.  The wage compression, the pressure on schools, hospitals, housing, public transport.

And the effect on party management?  It is difficult to see how the Conservative Party can reconstitute itself, either internally or in the eyes of the public, after the vitriolic tone of the Brexit debate.  But that’s Cameron’s problem, not ours.  Tory MP Andrew Bridgen says “Cameron is finished”.

Gove challenges PM to admit Five Key Facts on Brexit

The Sun reports that Michael Gove has written to David Cameron challenging him to admit “Five Key Facts” on Brexit. Gove argues that Remain will hand the EU’s 450 million inhabitants the permanent right to move to Britain; force Britain to admit EU economic migrants whether or not they have a job; give judges in Europe power to decide whether we can expel foreign terrorists and criminals; allow the European Court to over-rule any British government decision about asylum or immigration; and support the EU’s failed policies to deal with the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

“600 economists reject Brexit”

The Observer runs a headline “Massive boost for PM as 600 economists reject Brexit”.  The Guardian qualifies the claim: in a poll, 88% of 600 economists reject Brexit. I make that 528, then.  But it’s the same old story.  Again and again, economists suffer from group-think.  The old joke is that ten economists in a room will come out with eleven opinions.  But on great issues, they largely agree with each other – and they’re usually wrong.  Many of them are in Universities, who are notoriously pro-Remain, in the mistaken belief that Brexit will lose them funding.

I have mentioned before the letter in The Times from 364 economists in 1981 attacking Thatcher’s economic policy – just as the tide turned and she was vindicated.  In the late nineties, large numbers of economists wanted Britain to join the €uro – a course that most would now recognise as disastrous.  And of course many prominent economists support Brexit, not least Roger Bootle, Patrick Minford and Tim Congdon. In 1999, the CBI was strongly in support of joining the €uro (how history repeats itself!). For a forensic rebuttal of the Treasury’s Brexit analysis, read Tim Congdon.

“Key trade deals to stay in place after Brexit”

The Express highlights an explosive report from Lawyers for Britain, who argue that existing trade deals negotiated through the EU would stay in place after Brexit.  This contradicts the Remain Campaign, which insists we’d have to start again with a clean sheet of paper and negotiate new trade deals from scratch – a daunting and time-consuming prospect.  I’ve always argued that we would simply “grandfather” existing EU-brokered deals into bilateral deals – because this would be simple and advantageous for all concerned.  I’m not qualified  to comment in detail on this legal question, but it’s been hailed by the Institute of Economic Affairs as “a game-changer”.

 MEPs vote to keep the Tampon Tax

In Brussels this week, in a “mini-plenary” session, MEPs voted against a proposal to drop VAT on tampons.  This has been a vexed issue which has caused great concern amongst women, who object to paying VAT on a basic and essential sanitary product.  George Osborne recently announced with a great flourish that he’d got permission from Brussels to drop the tax.  Then it turned out that he hadn’t.  And in any case, the European parliament voted it down.  Osborne had cited this as an example of British influence in Brussels.  It turns out to be an example of British impotence in Brussels.  We can’t get a minor tax adjustment, even though it matters to British voters.  Stepping back, it’s outrageous that we even need to go cap-in-hand to Brussels to ask permission on this issue.

Remember that MEPs also get to vote on Cameron’s “Reform” of in-work benefits, as part of his so-called “renegotiation”.  I’m betting they’ll vote that down, too.

HSBC Boss: Seven reasons we’ll be Better Off Out

Mike Geoghegan, former boss of HSBC, has set out seven reasons he believes we’ll be better off after Brexit. Check them out here.

France retreats from NATO, seeks to dominate EU Army

We’ve had NATO Generals and Secretaries General telling us to stay in the EU.  So it’s interesting that the Express reports that France in particular is intent on side-lining NATO, while pitching for a lead role in the new European Army. This is another reason why the EU is a threat to our security.  Without the USA and NATO, there is no way the EU can defend itself – or us – in a dangerous world.

Signage on the highway

On Friday Morning I debated Brexit with Secretary of State Amber Rudd MP, at the Hastings Chamber of Commerce.  Driving back through the day (the bank holiday traffic was appalling), A21/M25/M11, I saw about half a dozen examples of Referendum signage. (Sorry – I was driving too fast to take photos).   It was all for Leave – none for Remain.  And two examples were massive, billboard-sized, in prominent road-side sites.  Impressive, highly professional stuff.

Caroline Lucas’s Dilemma

Pity poor Caroline Lucas.  She wants to Remain, but she hates TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade Deal currently being negotiated between the USA and the EU).  So she’s come up with a preposterous proposition that “Leaving the EU won’t save us from TTIP”.  Nice try, Caroline, but it won’t wash.  Like most Brussels apologists, she stresses that she wants to see major reform in the EU.  But Caroline, we’ve been calling for EU reform for forty years.  Don’t you understand yet?  The EU doesn’t do reform.

Four great articles on Brexit

Worth a read: David Davis: “A Great British future awaits us outside the EU”  Charles Moore: “The Leave Campaign must now allay the anxieties of Mr. & Mrs. Prudence”.  Lord (David) Owen: “The risks of staying in are infinitely greater”  Allister Heath: “Start-up Britain will thrive out of the EU”.




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14 Responses to Daily Debrief May 29th

  1. Hello Roger Thank you for your daily debrief’s, which I find very informative. WhatI would like to ask you is whythere no share facillity so that I would be able to spread the word on facebook, twitter etc.Keep up the good work, needless to say I shall be voting leave on June 23rd. Regards Don Donovan

    Date: Sun, 29 May 2016 10:16:58 +0000 To: donnie_donovan@hotmail.co.uk

  2. Ron leaman says:

    Excellent post Roger, hope we all succeed with Brexit. I am a member of UKIP, and we can add more MPs at the next election.

  3. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    Again many Thanks Roger, but it’s a real lorry load in this Debrief. Although I don’t vote for her Party, I find Caroline Lucas a most engaging lady. – A very nimble mind with the ability to make her point in most debates. However, she has dropped a king-size clanger with her remark on TTIP and GB/UK out of the E.U., and the wish for change within the E.U. Clearly a lady with a natural optimistic character !
    As for France and NATO, well what is worth saying ? I remember Charles De Gaulle, very publically saying, ” We owe Great Britain a debt that we will never be able to pay.” Yeh, right. I personally cant think of anything they have done to assist our Nation. NATO can be left to look after itself if there is a chance for French Officers to be in charge of some British Army units !
    Economists ! The very word used to be a joke for some shiney ass with a calculator, and soft, well manicured hands. – Understood generally to be one, who makes nothing, and is a total dead weight expence to any business, or business study, daft enough to employ such a waste of space. So there are 600, or correctly 528 if 88% is reconed to have said that leaving the E.U. would be wrong. So what ? – I don’t think that is even worth reporting on. Many years ago I was proudly introduced to a new member of staff, in a firms hub depot. This was to be his first job, straight from University with a degree in Logistics. I made the comment that logistics used to be called Common Sense ! How on earth have we come this far without you ?

    • Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

      I was teaching a uni lecturer in logistics to drive and she was writing software to help multi drop operations. She did not know what axle and gross weight were. She was not interested in finding out any more than she was interested in learning to drive. Her idea was to take test after test until she got lucky. Portsmouth will be a much more dangerous place if she succeeds.

      You are absolutely right. Total waste of space and a £40k debt to get the degree.

  4. Shieldsman says:

    Reading the comments on the article in the SUN my attention was drawn to POLITEIA 2014
    A Forum for Social and Economic Thinking Zero Plus: The Principles of EU Renegotiation
    Martin Howe
    It does make interesting reading and unlike Richard North and Christopher Booker who say the exit is to accept the single market and then negotiate our way out of the freedom of movement he shows alternative approaches.

    How to Save Sovereignty!
    Friday 5th February: The Prime Minister has now received the EU’s offer of a ‘deal’ on this country’s future relations with the EU, and is prepared to negotiate on that basis. However, so far no answer has been given to the biggest question of all, ‘Who Governs Britain?’
    Here, Martin Howe QC reflects on the law as it stands and explains what would need to change if the British Parliament is, once again, to be at the helm.
    As the Prime Minister seeks to renegotiate our terms of membership of the EU, ideas are also being floated of introducing domestic legislation to shore up the sovereignty of Parliament. Without entering into the fevered politics of how they play into the forthcoming referendum campaign, I want to address what might be done as a matter of law by UK domestic legislation and what if anything it might achieve.

    One of the fundamental features of membership of the EU which sets it apart from belonging to other treaty-based organisations is that EU law, as interpreted by the European Court of Justice, applies directly within the Member States and has primacy over their own laws.

    Staying in has Cameron gagged, and bound hand and foot by the EJC. The EU will steamroller over him.

    Open rebellion in the Conservative party is about to break out and Cameron may not survive the referendum result. Lying to get the results his handlers want is not going down well with many of his backbenchers or the Parties grass-roots.

    Nadine Dorries today called for David Cameron to be replaced as Prime Minister live on TV, saying he had told “profound lies” during the EU referendum campaign.

    • Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

      She is right. His list of profound lies is impressive. Turkey’s accession? Walking away from the EU if he did not get proper reform of movement? Now he is saying anything that pops into his head to scare us into staying.

      The man is a disgrace and is as treasonous as his toxic fore-runners, Heath, Wilson, Major, Brown and Blair. At least Maggie saw the light. Sadly, she was too late to do anything and after being replaced, was muzzled by the party in the interest of unity. I am prepared to accept that she was badly advised by FCO officials and did not fully realise what she was getting into when she signed the Single Market Act. She thought she was assisting trade. The EU knew otherwise.

      I would love to see a concerted movement from senior lawyers who know how to do it to have to get the three left alive in court for treason along with any ministers who went along with this catastrophe. That would send a message about the rule of law.

    • John S Churchill Jnr says:

      The difference between SupraNational and InterNational.

  5. Ex-expat Colin says:

    France retreats from NATO, seeks to dominate EU Army

    France is not new to NATO flip flopping..about 1966 and for a good number of years. If you have ever worked with NATO type procurement you will immediately detect the main country with an open cheque book. So if your own country fails the open cheque book give away game..guess where you can go and is nearby.

  6. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

    France did indeed leave NATO for a while which made command of its forces in southern Germany a challenge. Les Forces Francaises en Allemagne (FFA) was largely staffed by conscripts who once went on strike and marched through Karlsruhe in their socks!

    In WW2, their whole system was a total disaster which led to their downfall. Who would imagine that a French general would think it a bad idea to bomb an invading army when it was caught on tight roads in the woods? His was responsible for building the Maginot Line, most of which was either sub standard or not started.

    The French then blamed the Brits for escaping across the Channel, taking a fair few Frenchmen with them. In the Western Union, the precursor to NATO, General Lattre de Tassigny constantly obstructed arguably the most successful Allied WW2 general, Montgomery and not a lot was done.

    France left NATO in 1966 because it was upset that French generals were not at the top table. Unsurprising really, given that they let their country fall after the briefest of superficial defence. de Gaulle and his staff were a major security risk and were kept in the dark about stuff like Ultra and where the invasion would be. This upset Charlie no end and he never really got over it. Nonetheless, he imagined that he won back France, conveniently overlooking the vast and growing US army that was covering the ground and the British and Canadians doing the heavy carrying round Caen until the breakout.

    Now, as then, the French want to run the show. They will. Straight into the ground. Monty had no time for them apart from the Foreign Legion, which he admired. The rest he felt might be employed as tolerable if temperamental cooks.

    Now France wants to run the EU army. There is a cloud, smaller than a man’s hand on that particular horizon. So do the Germans and in a repeat of history, their army is rather good.

  7. davidbuckingham says:

    The Argument From Authority

    I bought the Observer today for once to learn more about the 600 economists poll which seemed bizarre but was thoroughly dignified by Sky Press Preview by two writers for Remain – they usually have one from each camp – I look forward to the return match with two Exiters – are they that hard to find?? Anyway at the bottom of the article at the bottom of page 7 its authorship was declared as taken from 639 members of the Royal Economic Society and Society of Business Economists who completed the online poll, AT A RESPONSE RATE OF JUST 17%.

    The RES have a paper on the website showing how trade would suffer within the EU if subject to rest of the world rules, by undoing EU integration. No mention of negative effects on prices of protectionism in that calc although interestingly they do say there are mounting pressures for it following the financial crisis. Both setups seem to be a major part of the academic consensus that has kept us in the EU for so long.

    Perversely a quote from Paul Johnson presents a vote to remain as 1. about benefits of free trade and 2. costs of uncertainty. Once again a flat-earther, Little European perspective. They make no distinction between free trade and protectionist mercantilism, with the costs of its tariffs to consumers internally and externally. The drawbridge belongs to Europe, not the UK. We’re trying to climb over the castellations before they pull up the EU drawbridge once and for all.

    I see no reference to the decline of the EU economically, only slower than antarctica, the huge unemployment, the migration issue, the other 168 nations globally who manage to get along nicely without being part of a dysfunctional customs union. And definitely no mention of the democratic deficit. And of course absolutely no comparisons with the economic results of UK Independence.
    So no argument or evidence, just uncorroborated claim.

  8. davidbuckingham says:

    The Mindset of the Remains

    The Observer leader tries to summarise the shortcomings of the campaign so far, whilst 88% blaming Brexit. There’s the usual trope about the failure of Brexit to ‘set out a convincing alternative’, or what it’ll look like. As I remarked online in the Guardian, it depends what you choose to read. But there does seem to be an anarchic hydra-headed approach to Leave and sabotaging mole conspiracy may well be uncovered sometime in the future, like the Tory mis-spending that saw off Mr Farage. They also underline the Remainders’ bewilderment, given the apparent strength of Remain arguments warning against various species of cataclysm, why a referendum was offered at all – implicitly implying it was offered by cynical Remainders. They don’t question the invalidity of the Remain arguments as a possible cause, just implying incompetent pragmatism by politicians like DC.

    However they also interestingly mention what they call “bigger existential questions about Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world, the best way to cooperate internationally when challenges are increasingly borderless,” and notably ” THE PURPOSE OF THE EU” (!). It then criticises the Remain campaign for not addressing “voters who feel left behind by globalisation, who are concerned about the impacts of immigration on their jobs and who feel there is a Westminster elite out of touch with people’s lives.” Brussels elite? No mention. The need for immigration control? No mention. Not sure what they have in mind about the first point but – the single market cutting us off from the world? No mention. Perhaps because – it’s the EU, stupid.

  9. rfhmep says:

    The complaint that “Leave fails to set out the alternative” is a deliberate deceit. After Brexit, there will be a two year negotiation period under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty Article 50. Of course we can’t tell you in advance exactly what the outcome of that negotiation will be, but we can set some parameters. It can be no worse than WTO rules — and therefore perfectly acceptable, if not ideal. But given the fact that we will be the EU’s largest export customer (in both absolute and net terms) after Brexit, I am convinced that we will have a free trade deal (no free movement, no EU regulation, no budget contributions), as dozens of other countries have.

    • davidbuckingham says:

      Remain need to be pressed far harder on what Remain means – they assume maintenance of the status quo – or reform from within. But neither are on offer, except the aspect of being shackled to a corpse. The first is faced with a full spectrum of crises not least the euro, migration and glacial economic growth, which spell either greater authoritarian superstate integration to resolve or total collapse of the project. Reform is even less likely than ever without the leverage Cameron had in the so-called negotiations… and to those who say our democracy here is far from perfect anyway : which is easier to reform, UK or EU?

  10. Anyoldiron says:

    TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade Deal currently being negotiated between the USA and the EU).
    TTIP where the mighty EU would speak on behalf of ALL its Member States on the matter of TRADE to the mighty US of A-forever? No point in having ANYONE IN OUR HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT THEN IF THIS GOES AHEAD, AND I FEEL SURE THAT OTHER HEADS OF STATE IN THE EU MAY WELL FEEL THE SAME TOO. But is TTIP just the first? What about all those other Countries in the once FREE Countries that also trade with EU? Is the EU to become that one GREAT Country over ALL those once FREE Country’s that are at present in the European Union (EU)?

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