Daily Debrief June 16th

Just one short week to go – let’s make it count!

Farage Flotilla for the Fishermen

It’s remarkable that in the forty years since the EU destroyed the UK’s fishing industry, we’ve almost forgotten it existed.  Today we’re worrying about energy-intensive industries, and art auctions, and clinical trials, and our ports – and indeed the City of London – all more or less under threat from Brussels.  But many of us have forgotten the decimation of our fishing industry decades ago, with the loss of thousands of jobs.  Never forget that the EU is a job destruction machine.

But the fishermen haven’t forgotten, and a group of the few that remain sailed their trawlers up the Thames yesterday.  Farage’s flotilla for fishermen.  That would surely have been newsworthy by itself.  But we have to thank rent-a-quote celebrity and Irish millionaire Bob Geldof for maximising the headlines.  He chose to mount a counter-demonstration.  This involved screaming abuse, raising two fingers, and showing the utter contempt of a rich celebrity for decent working people whose jobs are under threat.  Other Remain campaigners on Geldof’s boat left in disgust at his behaviour.

It is instructive that a supporter of Brussels like Geldof should show such bitter contempt for ordinary working people – because as I have often remarked, that is exactly the attitude that Brussels has to public opinion.  Let’s force Mr. Juncker to take notice next Thursday.  And I hope Mr. Geldof will reflect that his egregious rudeness will have persuaded many voters to back Leave.  Worth reflecting that Geldof is Irish.  It may well be better for the Irish if the UK remains in the EU – but it’s certainly not better for the British.

Tory fury at Osborne’s crass threats

The rifts in the Tory Party widen.  Conservative MPs are reportedly furious at George Osborne’s egregious threat to raise taxes and cut spending if we vote for Brexit. There are calls for him to resign (as indeed I called for in my “Open Letter” in yesterday’s Debrief)  Dozens of Conservative MPs are said to be ready to vote against any such budget. It is difficult to see how the Conservative Party or the government will paper over the cracks after the referendum.

The EU Army

Another threat that isn’t always at the top of our minds – but perhaps should be – is the Brussels/Berlin plan for an EU Army.  As with so many policy initiatives, Brussels is trying (not very successfully) to keep these plans under wraps until June 24th.  But Con Coughlan in the Telegraph writes a very powerful critique of the idea.  An EU Army will undermine our security.  It will by-pass NATO.  It will weaken the West’s defences.  And it will be wholly ineffective in deterring Putin’s ambitions.  Indeed the one person to benefit from an EU Army (apart from the supporting apparatchiks) will be the Russian leader.

Coughlan thinks that this threat by itself is sufficient reason to vote Leave.  I think he’s right.

“We’re from Europe – Let us in

The Mail offers dramatic photos and footage of the moment police stopped an Italian lorry in London and found eleven illegal immigrants hiding in the back – and demanding to be admitted to the UK.  The paper uses the story to dramatise a disagreement between Chancellor Osborne and Home Secretary Theresa May.  Osborne insisted that there could be no change in free movement, and current immigration policy.  But hours later May said that there would have to be changes (although as Cameron has already tried and failed to change the immigration rules, this sounds like wishful thinking).  Theresa May’s position is interesting. My take (purely speculation) is that she started out a closet sceptic.  She decided to toe the Cameron line on Brexit when she thought Remain would win, and she wanted to secure her position in the government.  But perhaps, looking at the polls, she is now tip-toeing towards the Leave side.

The difference between Osborne and May in the Tory party is curiously reflected in the Labour Party, where Corbyn in his ivory tower (can an ivory tower be red?) refuses to countenance any immigration changes, while deputy leader Tom Watson, more pragmatic, sees the need to assuage public concerns and has insisted rules must change.

EU leaders: “We’ll do better after Brexit”

Until now, the conventional wisdom has been that Brussels is desperate for Britain to stay.  But now, apparently accepting that Brexit is likely and seeking to get their spin out there early, they are saying they’ll do better after Brexit.  The report quotes a “senior official” saying that “Britain must not over-estimate its own importance” (We’re not – we’re just asking for independence and self-determination).

But you can see their point.  We’re only the fifth largest economy in the world, and the second largest net contributor to the EU budget.  Oh, and set to become the largest member-state by population in a couple of decades. They say they’ll simply respond by pulling in new members.  But the new members will be from the East.  They will be poorer.  They will add to the EU’s economic woes and cultural divergences.

The only way for the EU to benefit (and perhaps the only way to survive) after Brexit would be to pull together a core group of countries around Germany and France and create a closely-integrated entity.  But their historic ambitions for ever-growing hegemony will be at an end.

Scotland rejects Project Fear

The Scottish Daily Mail says a new poll shows support for Remain plummeting as Scots reject Project fear. Maybe those worries about “break-up of the UK” were misplaced.

A mis-step from the Leave Camp

The FT and the Indy report that several major blue-chip companies are annoyed that the Leave Campaign has used their logos in a leaflet, implying their endorsement of the Leave campaign, and are threatening to sue. As I understand it, Leave have taken helpful comments from these companies (“We wouldn’t close our UK operations in the event of Brexit”, for example), interpreted these comments as endorsements, and used the companies’ logos in their material.  Of course they should have sought the approval of the companies first (which would not have been forthcoming).

An aside on the position of large companies.  It is notable that generally speaking large companies that have endorsed Leave have been privately owned (JCB, Dyson).  Public companies have a range of shareholders whom they may not wish to offend by backing Brexit.  Equally they may be intimidated by the patronage powers of the European Commission, whose support they may need on legislative issues.

Switzerland withdraws its EU application

In a sign of the times – and of the regard in which Brussels is held – Switzerland has chosen to withdraw its long-standing application to join the EU.   Coming a week before the UK referendum, it’s difficult not to see this as a very Swiss, very tangential comment on Brexit.

Comments in brief

Steve Hilton, Cameron’s former strategy adviser, says the Remain campaign is becoming hysterical. Multi-millionaire businessman John Boyle says it would be suicide for Europe to stop trading with the UK after Brexit.  Allister Heath writes: “It will all end in tears for the first kamikaze Chancellor in history”

Brilliant audience intervention in QT

An audience member makes the case for Brexit: “The real risk is staying in”. Worth a watch.


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14 Responses to Daily Debrief June 16th

  1. Shieldsman says:

    I can comment on the Spectator, so I have just added the following quite long comment:
    Whatever happened to democracy? Why are we having the referendum? Over two years ago David Cameron said the EU is not working and we will change it. ‘People are worried that Britain is being sucked into a United States of Europe, that may be what some others want, but it is not for us. They see decisions being taken far away, rather than by their elected representatives in Parliament.’

    In his 2015 manifesto he went even further, enumerating all the faults and what he would do to correct them (read the manifesto). We will: keep our ambition of delivering annual net migration in the tens of thousands not the hundreds of thousands. Control migration from the European Union, by reforming welfare rules. Reform the workings of the EU, which is too big, too bossy and too bureaucratic.
    When immigration is out of control, it puts pressure on schools, hospitals and transport; and it can cause social pressures if communities find it hard to integrate,
    No to a constant flow of power to Brussels. No to unnecessary interference. And no, of course, to the Euro, to participation in Eurozone bail-outs or notions like a European Army.

    In November 2015, in a speech to the CBI Cameron said “So today I also want to debunk an argument that is sometimes put around by those who say ‘stay in Europe come what may’. Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country. We
    have got the fifth biggest economy in the world. We are a top ten manufacturer, growing steadily strong financial services. The world wants to come and do business here, look at the record of inward investment. Look at the leaders beating a path to our door to come to see what’s happening with this great country’s economy.

    So what was the outcome of the Brussels charade. A special status in a reformed European Union is a complete misnomer, the same status conditions preexisted prior to the Brussels agreement. Without a Treaty change the UK’s terms of membership of the EU are defined in the LISBON Treaty and opt-outs signed by Gordon Brown.

    The opinion of a group of German professors is – ‘It is not a choice between change and no change. Rather, it is a choice between leaving or remaining in an EU that would remain committed to further political integration, and there is nothing in the EU-UK Agreement that can
    offer the UK any permanent legal safeguards against being dragged along the path of further integration albeit with provisos and reluctantly. The Agreement cannot do so because it does little to reform the EU and does not exempt Britain from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice and the uniform application of its pro-Union approach to judicial decision-making.

    Having changed nothing, our Prime Minister received orders that we must stay in the EU. So who runs the Country?
    If you look at the line up of the people saying we must remain in the EU they all have one thing in common -they personally benefit from our membership of the EU in one way or another. We even have had Company Chairman and CEO’s corralling their workforce and suggesting they could lose their jobs if they vote LEAVE.

    Personally, I want my Country back and will not be blackmailed. The EU is in a worse state today than when Cameron set out on his Grand Tour of Europe.

    Regardless of whether we win or lose there is going to be mayhem at Westminster.

    • Mike FitzGerald says:

      Yes but you are dealing in facts, truth, common sense and the blindingly obvious. Whereas Dave the Inactive exists in a parallel universe of feelings, lies, ideology and denial. When we get this situation reversed in Westminster the UK will rise like a cork in water. Roll on the next General Election, which should be arriving in the next 6-12 months.

  2. David, says:

    That’s why I now call him D Chameleon.

    • Dung says:

      Not a Chameleon because he can not hide after what he has done to our freedom and democracy. He will now have to wear a bell round his neck and hold a sign up saying “untouchable”

      • Ken Dickenson says:

        “Dodgy Dave” is quite sufficient, and when that becomes a widespread term for him, it will soon hit home.

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    H/T OH

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      The numbnut clearly knows little about this and one of the vids in the series is about an Irish Trawlerman who did get severely fined and a spell in clink.

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    What was insulting was the attack by the Guardian on Michael Gove’s father. A story about loosing business due to the EU fishing (UK waters) grab. It blew up a bit in QT last night…with the weird looking Dimbleby at the helm


    Gove was not happy with that and its in the press somewhere..apart from the Guardian

  5. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Remain stitch up Gove:
    “Michael Gove was as emotional as you will ever see on Question Time as he responded to the Guardian story about his father.”


  6. mancunius says:

    I spotted these bits buried in an EU Commission statement on the EU-Turkey refugee deal issued yesterday: As well as speeding up the transmission of the 3 billion euros the EU has promised Turkey:
    “5) The fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap will be accelerated with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016.”
    That’s interesting, because it was originally supposed to happen before our referendum, and then Merkel announced that it wouldn’t now happen before next year. But now – by pure coincidence, the Turks will be let loose on western Europe a week after our vote.

    The other interesting snippet was this:
    8) The accession process [ie for Turkish full membership of the EU] will be re-energised, with Chapter 33 to be opened during the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union and preparatory work on the opening of other chapters to continue at an accelerated pace”


  7. Jane Davies says:

    Once the UK leaves there needs to be a round up of all elitist traitors who stalk the halls of Westminster and then there must be a ban imposed on these people that prevents them having any say in the future of the country. The political career’s of these people must end. We don’t want them, after all they have been saying about the country, putting it down, not being able to go it alone etc is an insult to all the brave souls who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoyed after the war, for a few short years, before Heath sold us down the river. We don’t need these traitors, they need to disappear fast and think themselves lucky not to incarcerated in the Tower of London.

  8. Dung says:


    I agree with all your sentiment believe me but if we aim to be a democracy again then we do not remove democratically elected politicians from politics hehe. I would like to string them all up but it can not be ^.^

  9. Jane Davies says:

    Just heard about Labour MP Jo Cox……words fail me at the downright tragedy that an MP has lost her life over this EU business. Nothing…nothing is worth this.
    Peoples anger and emotions are running high because of this campaign but all it takes is for one sick individual to lose it big time and now a young mother is dead.


    Dear Jane Davies. I wish to register my total agreement with your comments. When evil walks the Streets of the Nation, there is no depth too low for it to sink to. A Husband has had his love taken away, and two little children no longer have a Mother. All Referendum and the Political divide comes to a halt, because with all that we feel for the House of Commons now, an elected member has been murdered, and although I hold views contra to Jo Cox M.P., I am able to see this Lady for what she was. A young bubbly personality, but with the ability to deal with Political items in a forthright manner, and for certain a star in the Labour Party’s future. My prayers for her family, along with my detestation for this crime of hate.

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