Daily Debrief June 18th

Only five days to Independence Day!

Lord Guthrie switches to Leave

Field Marshall Lord Guthrie was Chief of the General Staff (Head of the Army) from 1994 to 1997, and Chief of the Defence staff from 1997 to 2001.  Back in February, Lord Guthrie along with other military figures co-signed a letter drafted by Downing Street calling for Britain to remain in the EU.

However he has now switched to Leave, saying that it was a mistake on his part to sign the earlier letter. He is quite explicit about his reasons.  He is concerned about the formation of a European Army, which he believes (as the Leave Campaign believes) will undermine NATO and so weaken the West in the face of possible external threats.  Well done Lord Guthrie.  It takes courage and strength of character to admit you made a mistake, and to correct it publicly.  Clearly Lord Guthrie has little confidence in the assurances from Downing Street that we have a veto on the plan.

IMF: Doom and gloom all over again

Have they no shame?  The IMF has chosen to issue a new warning of a post-Brexit recession, just days before the Referendum, and during the purdah period.  A cynic might see the hand of Downing Street in this: it is bound by purdah rules, but it can orchestrate interventions from international organisations.  In fact the IMF had previously outlined its findings, but it gets a second bite at the cherry by issuing the detailed report.

Professor Patrick Minford of Economists for Britain dismisses the findings, saying they are based on extremely negative assumptions on trade and investment, and use flawed models.  An economic model is like a computer program – “Rubbish in, rubbish out”.  The IMF concludes that by 2019 the UK economy will be between 1 and 5% smaller than it would otherwise have been.  We should remember that the IMF is a creature of the EU (it has been criticised for trying to bail out the €uro when its focus should be on poorer countries).  And its head, Christine Lagarde, is a former French Finance Minister, and Agriculture Minister.  I suspect her motive is not to protect the UK economy, but to keep British tax-payers’ money flowing to French farmers.  She is currently facing charges and a possible jail term in France for embezzlement and fraud.

A warning from Norway, Denmark and Ireland: In the context of the IMF story, it’s worth noting a letter in yesterday’s Telegraph from prominent NO campaigners in several countries, who have experienced the blast of EU propaganda ahead of referendums.  They point out that establishment scaremongering always proves to be wrong (as it was in Britain’s €uro debate in the late nineties).  Worth a read.

EU status quo?  In the self-same letters column (link above) is a letter from none other than the Duke of Wellington, in which he concludes: “Voters must therefore think very carefully about taking their country down the road of so much uncertainty (i.e. Brexit) against the imperfect but known status quo”.  I resorted to Twitter to rebut this point.  The EU is anything but a “known status quo”.  We have “a tsunami” (Commissioner Sefcovic) of new EU legislation waiting till after the referendum.  Then we have the European Army (see Lord Guthrie above). The €uro crisis.  The competitiveness crisis.  The immigration crisis.  Accelerated Turkish accession.  The EU is no status quo.  It’s a work in progress, a moving target, a runaway train.  Let’s get off before it hits the buffers.

Carney can’t stop scare-mongering

The Daily Mail reminds us that Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, was previously with Goldman Sachs, which has given half a million to the Remain campaign. But Carney claims to be neutral, and “just doing his job”.  You may, if you wish, take a different view.

Daily Star seeks to politicise the Jo Cox tragedy

Generally the media have been pretty fair and respectful in their coverage of the Jo Fox tragedy.  Shock, outrage, anger, but no attempt to score cheap political points.  Several papers report that the assailant shouted “Britain First” as he committed his assault, and some papers link that to a far-right political party of that name

The Daily Star, however, runs a banner headline “MP dead after attack by Brexit Gunman”.  This is disgraceful.  Brexit – the Leave Campaign – is a great, cross-party national movement that seeks to restore the independence and self-determination of our country.  To attempt to smear the Brexit and the Leave Campaign by linking it to a deranged and murderous loner with hard-right sympathies is downright mischievous.  To exploit this tragedy for a political purpose is worse.

Alex Massie in the Spectator:  In a disgraceful piece in the Spectator, Alex Massie makes the same mistake.  Referring to UKIP’s latest Brexit ad featuring the line “Breaking Point”, he says, in effect, that if we say we’ve reached a breaking point, we can’t be surprised if people break.  To paraphrase: if you draw attention to reasonable concerns about immigration, you’re responsible for acts of mindless violence.  Let’s have no political campaigning in case a deranged person misinterprets it.  Sorry Alex.  Wrong.  Cheap. And reprehensible.

And a European Commissioner can’t resist point-scoring over a tragedy: Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration (yes really) posted a Tweet which clearly linked the Jo Cox murder to the Brexit debate. He should be ashamed.

A small technical point that could cost Britain £15 billion a year

This is such a detailed technical point – but with a sting in the tail that could cost the UK more than our net budget contributions to the EU.  Under EU VAT Directive 2006/112/CE Article 402 (yes, it has that many articles), the EU will switch from charging VAT in the country of destination of goods within the EU, to charging VAT in the country of origin.  So what? you might ask.  Won’t it all come out in the wash?  ‘Fraid not.   We currently collect the VAT on all those imported goods sold here.  When the switch occurs, the country of origin will benefit from the VAT.  But because we in the UK have a huge trade deficit with the EU, we’ll collect very much less VAT in the UK.  Of course we’ll get the VAT on UK goods exported to the EU – but that’s a much lower figure.

On the current balance of payments, the loss of VAT to the UK is estimated at around £14 billion a year.  We’ll have to pay it if we remain.  We can avoid it with Brexit.

Angela Merkel and the Top Table

The Times reports Angela Merkel’s aperçu that “Britain needs its seat at the top table”.  She means, of course, in the EU – but that’s a rather quaint idea of a top table.

After Brexit, we shall still be permanent members of the UN Security Council – a real top table.  We’ll be leading members of the G7 and the G20.  And NATO. And the Commonwealth.  And the World Bank. And the IMF.  And the OSCE. And the OECD.  And importantly, we’ll resume our full seat on the World Trade Organisation – currently occupied on our behalf by Brussels.

That’s quite enough top tables to be going on with.  We don’t need to be part of the slowest growing economic area in the world (excluding Antarctica, as Boris has remarked).  I am tired of being told “We need to be able to influence decisions in the EU”, for two reasons: first, we can scarcely influence those decisions as it is.  As an “Anglo Saxon” economy, we’re in a structural minority, and we are outvoted more often than any other member-state.  And secondly, the price for that trivial influence over the EU machine is that we allow foreign institutions to make the majority of our laws.  Not a good deal.  Better to have 100% control over our own country than an 8% vote in Brussels.

You think Brexit might damage the UK? Just see what the €uro is doing to Italy

In recent days the bond spreads of peripheral EU countries have been rocketing skywards.  Don’t imagine for a moment that the €uro crisis has gone away – it’s erupting again in the last week before our Brexit referendum.  Let’s get to the lifeboats before the ship goes down.

Whistling in the dark

As EU politicians start to realise that Brexit is looking likely, they’re whistling in the dark to keep their spirits up.  It will be an opportunity to reshape the EU, they say.  Pity they didn’t think of that earlier.  “We’re not afraid of Brexit” says Guy Verhofstadt. “Sometimes a divorce is better than too many compromises” says Vivian Reding.  Yet they may have a point: the shock (to them) of Brexit may force the EU reforms which we couldn’t achieve as a member.

EU Commissioner sent to UK to campaign

Despite promises by Brussels not to interfere in the Brexit debate, the Express says that Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan is coming over to convince us all of the merits of EU membership. Tough call.  Interesting that they send an Irishman.  While Brexit will be good for Britain, it may be less good for Ireland.  Perhaps he should declare an interest.

The Times declares for Remain

The Times heads it editorial, calling for Britain to Remain, with the words “The best outcome of next week’s referendum would be a new alliance of sovereign nations dedicated to free trade and reform”. Of course – but that new alliance of sovereign nations can only come from a Brexit vote.  It is wholly at odds with the EU as it stands – and the EU doesn’t do reform.  If Cameron failed to achieve even modest reforms when he could wield the threat of Brexit, does the Times imagine we can do better after we’ve run up the white flag?  Brussels will take a Remain vote as the final solution to the British problem, and as an endorsement for more of the same – ever closer union, political and fiscal.

I recently attended a debate amongst (mainly British) academics in Paris, and one of their “experts” castigated me for suggesting that the Times was pro-EU.  Nice to be vindicated by events.

 

 

 

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34 Responses to Daily Debrief June 18th

  1. Ian Terry says:

    At last a mention on the threat to our armed forces. They and they alone are our strength and security. The actions of the senior politicians in most of the parties begs belief.
    Same old Same old. Me Me Me Me Me.

    In the words of the song. “Don’t give a ***** about the green back dollar” I want freedom for my country away from this inept, useless EU.

  2. Ian Terry says:

    The following link on Facebook says it all:

    If we stay in that is the way it is going.

    We cannot trust CMD and all his friends,wherever they work or come from. They are all in it for what is best for them and stuff the rest of us.

  3. Pils says:

    So how’s this country of origin VAT thing going to work?

    The country something’s sold in is obviously easy to determine, but where is its origin? Take Airbus, for example, with four countries involved in making components and final assembly in France. Does France get all the dosh or are percentages doled out all over, requiring yet more civil servants and eurocrats?

    What about German cars where some are made in the non-EU US, South Africa and Brazil?

  4. Alan Wheatley says:

    RE “IMF: Doom and gloom all over again”

    Radio 4 headlines news this morning reported the IMF’s latest broadside and the Patrick Minford response, but the follow-up item mentioned only the IMF. Biased or what?

    At a recent Referendum meeting I asked my MP if Vote Leave had conceded the “economic” argument to Remain. He said “no”, but seems to me Vote Leave are compromised because to win the argument they have to rubbish their own Chancellor. They should be promoting Patrick Minford front and centre, or at least reading Economist for Brexit documents so they can refute the false claims by Remain (typically Labour MPs) made about its predictions for manufacturing following leaving the EU. The post Brexit prediction is good for the economy, including manufacturing.

  5. Alan Wheatley says:

    Re “Whistling in the dark”

    As the UK leaves and the remaining 27 “reshape”, what will Ireland do?

    Could be the only land border with the EU will soon be Gibraltar.

  6. Ken Dickenson says:

    Reference Alex Massie and his disgraceful articles in the Spectator, against the article concerned (Day of Infamy), Massie & the Spectator allowed no comments. However, I and others posted comments about it onto other articles by Massie. These comments were very quickly deleted by either Massie or the Spectator editors, even though they contained nothing rude or particularly offensive. [My post was copied and pasted onto this site on Thursday 16th June]
    I now urge all supporters of the Leave campaign and members/supporters of UKIP, to boycot the Spectator, both hard copy and online.
    My view is that they are following the EU (and snp) line of ‘Guilty until you prove yourself innocent’ rather than the British way of “Innocent until proven guilty”.

  7. martinbrumby says:

    Hopefully it is unnecessary to point out that nothing can justify the brutal murder of Jo Cox.
    But just for a moment, compare the blatant attempts to blame the Leave campaign by the Media and by The Remainders, to the response by the same people to the Leytonstone Tube station slasher in December.
    In that case Muhiddin Mire indisputably shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “This is for my Syrian brothers. I’m going to spill your blood.”
    But seemingly within minutes we were all being cautioned that Mire was a nutjob and the attack was absolutely nothing to do with “The Religion of Peace” (sic).
    On Friday night BBC News at Ten took ten minutes, recounting the story that the Birstall attacker had shouted “Britain First” (which now seems in doubt), before they made a passing reference to the attacker’s mental problems. Last night, the BBC did even better, going so far as to find someone who claimed that he “didn’t look as if he was depressed or mentally ill.” (Great diagnostic skills, evidently.) All together we were treated to half an hour of what James Delingpole rightly calls “Project Grief” and repeated calls for moderated language and calmer discussion and endless shots of Corbyn and Cameron’s day out in Birstall, without even a glimpse of anyone recognisably from UKIP, Leave Now or any other pro Exit group.
    It is clear to any rational person that the intemperate and vicious language has been almost exclusively adopted by the Remainders. Not to mention the bare faced lies.
    Now we learn that there will be no more “campaigning” until after Parliament is recalled on Monday.
    I certainly haven’t seen much from the Brexit campaigners but it is clear that the Remainder campaigners are still at full throttle!

    • foxbarn says:

      How about this? Coincidence? The Daily Telegraph 2003…

      Sweden’s foreign minister, Anna Lindh, was stabbed in the stomach and chest while shopping in Stockholm yesterday, throwing the country’s euro referendum, due to be held this weekend, into confusion.
      Mrs Lindh, 46, the star performer of the government’s “yes” campaign, was operated on for five hours at Karolinska Hospital. Last night her condition was serious. She did not have a bodyguard when a man in a camouflage jacket attacked her in the Nordiska Kompaniet department store near the parliament building.
      Goran Persson, the prime minister, ordered tighter security for key public figures and government buildings. “The attack on her is an attack on our open society and because of this I feel great anger and dismay,” he said, shaking with emotion.
      As the shock waves hit Sweden, the “yes” campaign and the “no” side suspended their campaigns until the picture cleared. Police said it was too early to say whether the attack was politically motivated.

  8. Linda Hudson says:

    Those who say the E.U. will have it’s own army are dead wrong.
    The E.U. will never call it’s army, an army, They will name it anything but and will most likely call it an E.U. rapid re-action force to avoid any public outcry!

  9. foxbarn says:

    Superb summary Mr Helmer. Spot on.

  10. Martin Reed says:

    Times declares for Remain. Pathetic, laughable. How low has the Times sunk. Would they ever have dreamed of such naivete in their heyday? Difficult to conceive now there was once a day when the Times of London was the gold standard for a quality newspaper.

    • MICHAEL R MAUNDER says:

      Turning a noun to a proper noun, and considering my Latin Master’s comment of, – “Utterly beyond his comprehension.” I point out the following oft quoted phrase. – ” Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. ” = Times change, and we change with them. Thank the Good Lord that the Times Newspaper may see fit to change, but we don’t have to follow. – I used to think Latin was the language of dead people !

      • foxbarn says:

        The Times has been very pro-EU for years, the chief idiots being Matthew Parris and Daniel Finkelstein, the new (or perhaps now old) Left of the Conservative Party.

  11. Ian Phillips says:

    “LEXIT THE MOVIE” is now on YouTube. This is the one hour programme, just recently produced by the LabourLeave campaign. It is sectionalised to cover all the major issues of the debate. Interviews are with well known names in the labour movement/trades unionists, and with a considerable overlap of agreement with ‘Brexit the Movie’. A great achievement on a quite modest crowdfunded budget.
    This is another ‘must-see’ and deserves all the promotion it can get, asap…..the message is clear, that British workers jobs and rights urgently need rescuing from the stranglehold of Brussels red tape which is influenced so much by the big corporations. TTIP, the democratically neutralising Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is waiting in the wings to be set up, is explained very clearly.

  12. Shieldsman says:

    Have the Conservative MP’s in vote.leave got their hearts on winning the referendum? I think not. James Forsyth is running two articles: – Boris Johnson backs David Cameron to stay on as PM no matter who wins referendum – Stability will be the number one concern, and that means Dave is here to stay, for now. In the SUN.
    and: – Boris makes it clear he isn’t interested in a coup against David Cameron – This means David Cameron staying on as Prime Minister.

    So does the Conservative party think they can ignore that part of the electorate that has voted to LEAVE, in the hope of uniting its MP’s. The backbench eurosceptic MP’s have a lot invested in seeing a successful withdrawal from the EU and trading agreements outside of the EEA if necessary. The grassroots are very much for Leave, many have doubts about voting Conservative next time. Cameron has insulted the party supporters and the Public at large, he has lost all respect, but that does not seem to matter in politics nowadays.

    A lot of praise has been heaped upon Jo Cox as a hard working MP which I am sure she was.

    What has struck me though is the lack of real knowledge of the workings of the EU Council, Parliament and the Commission shown by the majority of MP’s. Most trot out from their briefing sheets bland statements – 800 economists or the majority of bankers say. Labour say they want to stay in to prevent that rotter Cameron repealing the working time acts.
    The ignorance of Ed Balls and Tom Watson – The UK should demand tougher controls on migration, the deal secured by David Cameron must not be “the end of the story.” WHAT DEAL was that?
    They are blissfully unaware that Cameron’s benefits ’emergency brake’ has not been presented and will not be passed by the European Parliament – Schultz and Lambsdorff will scupper it.

  13. MICHAEL R MAUNDER says:

    THE BRITISH PLACE AT TOP TABLES : We have a plethora of these top table seats. Why would we want any sort of seat at the table of a disgraceful club, called the E.U.? A club that has been built on lies, and with the subjection of all it’s members, is now due to fail. What has come to all sensible peoples notice, is that due to our standing, and our history in the world, our old country is more than able to do well as a Sovereign, stand alone Great Britain. FACT !

  14. Jane Davies says:

    If Cameron remains in number 10 then I hope the British public let their feelings be known. I read a lot of articles and the vast majority of voters a) want to leave the EU and b) want Cameron out, he has lost any shred of credibility he had due to his lies and bullying and he has to go. If I was in the UK right now I would be the first in line to demonstrate on the streets to get him gone. Rise up people, this man is history and whatever the outcome of next weeks vote he must go.

  15. catweazle666 says:

    Excellent piece in The Spectator.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/out-and-into-the-world-why-the-spectator-is-for-leave/

    Incidentally, as it appears that the murderer of Jo Fox was a Nazi sympathiser, that would in fact make him Left wing, not Right wing. National Socialists are xenophobes, not the Right, who are Libertarian.

  16. Martin Reed says:

    Guardian editor Tim Collinson, who likes the EU, has announced he’s voting leave. I like it!

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/06/18/guardian-editor-im-voting-leave/

  17. Jane Davies says:

    Here’s another one too young to remember the independent UK so makes vacuous comments, what is it about the French and Great Britain….. an inferiority complex maybe?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3648044/Britain-isolated-trading-post-significance-GUERNSEY-vote-Brexit-says-French-minister.html

  18. MICHAEL R MAUNDER says:

    THE E.U. AND THE TAMPON TAX.
    As a Thank you to Anyoldiron, who is much better at this than me !

    Cameron’s great negotiations,
    Because he told us it was true.
    But Ladies still pay Tampon tax,
    And there’s nothing we can do.

    Consider our own Government,
    Almost elected Democratically.
    “Ladies, your needs are free of tax,”
    But Europe went, – He ! He! He!

    Osborne, the great Chancellor.
    Said, “There’s nothing I can do.
    All member states have to accord,
    And we must stay in E.U.”

    Take Margret Thatcher now,
    Who no doubt had female needs.
    Her salary masked trivial tax,
    And Heath said, “Let her bleed.”

    If the rules change in the Club,
    And the Ladies are rightly not happy.
    Withhold your Subs. Go down the Pub,
    And welcome new company.

    The future is in our hands at last,
    And it’s Referendum time.
    All Party Leaders have conspired,
    So we LEAVE, and that’s sublime.

    ………. and Osborne gets no Tax change on Tampons, but says we are better off in E.U. ! ! !
    WE HAVE A CHANCELLOR WHO IS BONKERS.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Yes Maggie refused to end the tampon tax to much dismay and protest from her fellow females…..these items were taxed as ‘luxuries’ and I suspect still are!

      Thanks Maggie for nothing.

      Only in the past year have these ‘luxuries’ been free from tax here in Canada and it took thousands signing a petition to achieve this, absolutely outrageous that this was needed to be done because of protests.

      By the way Michael 10/10 for effort for the poem!

  19. Steve Gibbs says:

    Switching VAT collection to the country of origin rather than the country of sale could be a big issue. Does this mean that the prevailing VAT rates and scope of VAT liability in the country of origin is to prevail rather than those in the country of sale ? If that is the case then food and childrens’ clothing sold in the UK will have had VAT taken in the EU country of origin and will be paid for by UK consumers, thus overriding our own VAT exemptions over a wide range of products.

    • Alan Wheatley says:

      One consequence would be that for goods made and sold in a country with a lower VAT rate would be at a price advantage compared with imports from higher VAT rate EU countries. On the face of it this would be a good thing for the UK if we have lower VAT rates, such as on tampons. However, the benefit would be drafted by the trade imbalance impact, at least in the short term.
      And in the longer term EU harmonisation of VAT rates would likely inhibit any VAT rate advantage.

  20. Martin Reed says:

    The Sunday Mail seemingly can’t resist the joining of the exploitation the tragic and senseless killing of Mrs Cox by a man with mental health issues with this headline:

    “‘Vile’: How husband scorned Nigel Farage’s anti-immigration poster just 90 minutes before his wife’s death”

    However perusing the comments to the article it seems readers were not so easily taken in by the paper’s attempted emotional blackmail. In fact it looked as if it might even have been counter productive, Leavers were even more determined not to be swayed. Of course this may simply be a reflection of the fact that those who read the news on line can take in a much wider and perhaps less biased range of opinions than the print media and the BBC provide. One hopes not.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3648574/Vile-husband-scorned-Nigel-Farage-s-anti-immigration-poster-just-90-minutes-wife-s-death.html#comments

  21. Brian Gilbert says:

    How can MPs swear an oath of allegiance ro the Queen and then vote through EU laws without being traitors by definition.

    • Jane Davies says:

      They can’t……to hand over to a foreign power to dictate the laws of the land and to rule from another country comes under the treason laws, I too have been asking for a while now how this is allowed to happen.

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