Monthly Archives: June 2016

We pay but have no say

Paraphrasing David Cameron’s views on Norway and their participation in matters EU, that argument of his leads onto another very important matter.

During PMQs today David Cameron said, in answer to a question from Kevin Holinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con):

……obviously, the term “access to the single market” has many potential meanings. Countries that are outside the EU have access to the single market, some through a trade deal and others through World Trade Organisation rules. Obviously the best access is through membership of the single market. What the country will have to decide—and what the next Prime Minister will have to decide—is what sort of access we want, and what are the costs and benefits of that access…….

Later, during the Q&A session following his statement on the EU Council meeting he attended yesterday, he said in response to a question from Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con):

………I am not saying that there are only four or five blueprints and that Britain has to follow any one of those. Obviously, we can try to amend blueprints and have Norway-plus or Norway-minus or a better trade deal than Canada………..

The point to be made here is that it will be the decision of the new Prime Minister – whoever he or she is – that decides which path we follow when negotiating our future relationship with the European Union.

In that decision we, the people, will have no voice. Yet if the decision to leave the European Union was felt to be one that only the British electorate should decide, then should not the decision about the content of any future relationship also be a decision that the British people should decide?

If we had true democracy, then that decision would be one that the people would decide – unfortunately as we do not have true democracy, but a democratised dictatorship, it means that an unelected Prime Minister will make said decision for us.

The political class pontificate about democracy – just where is democracy when an unelected politician can make a decision without consulting we, the people?

Is not the reason we voted to leave the European Union because we do not – and are unable to – elect those that govern us?

Just asking…………………..

Afterthought: Listening to PMQs I was struck by all the questions about our need to stay in the Single Market – yet not one of these numpties had the gumption to suggest how this might be accomplished and put that idea forward; probably because not one of them have any knowledge of ‘matters EU’.

We pay them how much a year – plus, of course, expenses which far exceed their salaries. Why??????

 

 

 

Why we are where we are

Apropos the preceding article and in relation to the heading of this post, I am reminded of the ‘revolutionary speech’ from the film V for Vendetta; which I now ‘paraphrase’:

Good evening.

Allow me first to apologize for this interruption to your homily routine. I too, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine – the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any of you. However, I thought it appropriate to take  some time out of our daily lives to have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this nation of ours, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censorship and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held to account when we have real democracy in our nation, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. We all know why we did it. We all know we were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease, societal conformity. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt our reason and rob us of our common sense. Fear, through our not understanding the  ‘new order’, got the best of us, and in our panic we turned to our political elite. They promised us order, they promised us peace, and all they demanded in return was our silent, obedient consent.

If you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this and previous governments remain unknown to you, then read no further. But,  if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand with me at the end of September when a movement, which has been cynically buried, will resurface under another name.

If, like me, you have been frustrated with the events of the past 4/6 weeks – more recently, over the last four days – and feel you have lost control of your own lives despite your vote to cease this nation’s membership of the European Union, then enlightenment is at hand.

Stay tuned……………………………….

Sold down the river – again?

Following the result of the leave/remain referendum it  would appear the political class of the two main parties are descending into what will be a bitter fight to decide who is to lead them. Anyone but Boris seems to be concentrating the minds of the Blue team, while the Red team appear to have a faction that believes in a similar idea, namely anyone but Jeremy.

When we look at the verbal stupidity that has been outpouring from the mouths of our political elite on Brexit, not only during the referendum campaign but in the immediate aftermath,  we can be forgiven for thinking just who are these clowns that we have been forced to elect. This report informs us that Boris Johnson has called for a Brexit ‘road map’; followed by the question just what will be negotiated, when and by who. It can be but an indictment of incompetence against both our political class and the majority of the media when neither knows or wishes to acknowledge that such a ‘road map’ (FlexCit) does exist and has done for some time.

There are two other items which are worth a mention: first, David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, has called for Parliament to override the result of the EU referendum on the basis that the referendum was advisory and thus non-binding; meaning that a sovereign parliament can over-ride the will of the people – now were that to happen it really would be an example of democratised dictatorship. The second item concerns a petition that has gathered 2 million, signatures and which calls for a re-run of the referendum and that unless there is a turnout of at least 75s% and a majority of 60% or more, any referendum would be invalid. Only non-thinking idiots would append their signature to such an idea; do they not realize the basic idea that a simple majority of votes cast thus wins; coupled with the fact that voting is not yet compulsory?

Leaving that last suggestion to one side, let us consider the more serious problems we, the people, now face:

  • we are about to have imposed on us (again) a Prime Minister in whose appointment only a minute proportion of the electorate have had any say;
  • we are, eventually, to be subjected to the result of a negotiation to exit the European Union, the content of which we, the people, will have had no say;
  • we are, it would seem, to be represented in those negotiations by people who appear to have no idea about that which they will be negotiating.

The last three points could be considered comedic, if they weren’t so serious. They result from a situation brought about by a decision of the people which has  resulted in them making the decision they have based on falsehoods presented to them by those with vested interests – be that our political class or our media.

Watching the Marr Show and Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil, I was astounded by the array of political figures and ‘talking heads’ that were ‘wheeled on’ but, which soon became apparent, had not a clue about that which they spoke. Nicola Sturgeon in particular seemed to be flailing in the wind in her belief that she might be able to negotiate remaining in the EU on the basis Scotland voted for such in the referendum. She seems to forget that the UK (which included Scotland) voted to join the EU and that the UK (which included Scotland) voted to leave the EU.  Neither did she accept Marr’s suggestion that if she failed, as she surely would, she would have to go to the back of the queue and accept Schengen,  the Euro and ever closer union.

ME Synon writes about possible future problems that may arise through our reliance on our political class – over who we, the people, have no real control – which underlines the point that when the people are unable to control their political class, there can be no real democracy.

Listening to Cameron’s statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, the questions asked exhibited such a lack of understanding about matters EU that one could be forgiven for being extremely concerned about the process of actioning the result of said referendum, especially when it is the House of Commons that will be the arbiter of said process. If an example of that concern was needed, one only had to witness the ‘point of order’ raised by Tom Brake (Liberal Democrat) at 17:38:56.

All in all, troubling times are indeed ahead.

 

Now just what is Efta hinting at – and to whom?

From this article:

According to Article 56 of the EFTA Convention, “any State may accede to the Convention provided that the EFTA Council decides to approve its accession. As regards further formal requirements, any new member state would have to apply to become a party to existing EFTA free trade agreements (Article 56(3))“.

Article 126 of the Agreement on the EEA makes it clear that the EEA Agreement only applies to the territories of the EU, in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Under the present wording of the EEA Agreement, it is therefore impossible to be a party to the EEA Agreement without being a member of either the EU or EFTA.

Reverting to the title of this post, just asking…………

 

 

A European Army?

We learn today that Federica Mogherini has, this weekend, sent an advance copy of the EU Global Strategy on foreign and security policy to the Member States. She will formally present the strategy to the Heads of State/Government during this week’s summit in Brussels. She was mandated to to prepare the new strategy by the European Council in June 2015.

It is noted that the press release states that an advance copy has been sent to Member States, which presumably includes the United Kingdom – we are after all still a full member of the European Union; and so remain until the conclusion of the Article 50 process.

Donald Tusk’s ‘invitation letter‘ to members of the European Council does not list the presentation of Mogherini’s draft strategy. Presumably this will be done on the first day as the United Kingdom is still a full member of the European Union, especially as Tusk’s agenda states that the second day will be taken up with a discussion by the remaining 27 Member States concentrating on the effect of Brexit and how to take forward a depleted union of 27.

Bearing in mind Mogherini states that the strategy reflects the collective views of Member States, that raises two immediate questions:

  • what was the input by the United Kingdom, with what did we disagree and with what did we agree;
  • had we not voted ‘Leave’, in what would we, potentially, now find ourselves embroiled.

As past form shows us that this snippet of news is highly unlikely to feature in our media, I thought it may be of interest to my readers.

 

Confused (dot eu)?

From this site we learn:

  • Accessing markets outside the EU is crucial for jobs and growth within the EU;
  • The EU works to keep markets open and to keep trade flowing;
  • An open and fair international trading system is one of the foundations of Europe’s competitiveness;
  • The EU stands to gain from the further opening of markets worldwide;
  • When tariff or non-tariff barriers block the flow of primary goods into Europe or the access of European companies to markets outside Europe, Europe’s competitiveness suffers;
  • The EU aims to reduce the barriers to the flow of goods and services in the EU’s export markets. The market access strategy designed to target and remove individual barriers in key export markets. This involves negotiating the removal of tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers;
  • The EU regularly monitors and reports on Protectionism around the world in the context of the anti-crisis G20 commitment not to resort to trade restrictions.

So the EU, following Brexit, would ‘make life difficult for the UK‘ – even if the UK wished to rejoin EFTA and maintain membership of the EEA? Really??

Methinks Cameron, Vote Leave and Remain are not the only ones ‘talking with forked tongue’.

 

The fog of ignorance

Yesterday evening I  watched David Cameron being quizzed on a BBC Referendum Question Time programme and  was struck by the paucity of the content of questions that were asked.

On that point, at 18;48, a young women admitted that she did not know which way she would be voting; she found the campaigns very confusing, she did not think either side had made very good points; and that both should feel ashamed [of their conduct]. That young woman was confused and I would suggest she is but one of a great number of the electorate because they have not been ‘informed’; rather they feel they have been threatened, cajoled and hectored. That may well mean abstentions may be high, or conversely, low as members of the electorate will vote without really understanding the reasons for their decision.

The subject of immigration – and how to constrain it – consumed the greater part of the programme and the fact that there were no knowledgeable and thus detailed questions to Cameron on the subject is hardly surprising. There was no mention of the ability of EFTA members being able to arbitrarily control it through membership of the EEA and Article 112.

Cameron continually mentioned his ‘reforms’ and a ‘reformed EU’. Unfortunately the questioner who did mention said reforms was not sufficiently knowledgeable to ‘pin’ Cameron down and refute his claims about them being legally binding.

Another subject which briefly entered the discussion was that of the economy and while Cameron justifiably made mockery of the ‘£350 million figure’ there was not one question about Norway and her reduced, compared to the UK, contribution figure.

Neither was Cameron taken to task about his claim that being in the EU meant we had a place at the ‘top table’ where EU law was made – when a few of us know only too well that the ‘EU table’ is not the ‘top table’.

Cameron made mention that further reform of the EU could only be successful if we were ‘inside’the EU, consequently not one question was raised that having failed dismally in the last 40 years what guarantee could he give that we would be successful in the next 40  years.

Not one question was raised about democracy vis-a-vis the EU and the UK, nor vis-a-vis Parliament and the people.

At the start of this article I remarked on the paucity where the content of questions raised was concerned – but can we justifiably blame the questioners? Some may argue that yes we can as they are able to research the facts for themselves (assuming of course they know what the word ‘research’ means). Others will argue that the questioners are unable to do that due to the fact we have always been led to believe we can trust those we elect to guide and care for us; and in so doing will always be truthful with us, resulting in the current lack of knowledge among the electorate.

This referendum (as in most cases, especially 1975) is  a disgrace and thus an affront to democracy. The electorate has been mislead and lied to by politicians of both Remain and Leave; and who then have the affront to tell us that, of course, it is our decision. We have been manipulated by our political class each for their own ends; while exhibiting their own lack of knowledge about the question du jour.

The reality is it would seem that the current collection of politicians don’t care if we don’t like them as they believe that is not why they were put on this earth – it is time we changed their attitudes.

 

 

 

Incompetence and Incompetents

Like others I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the incompetence of those who portray themselves as incompetent, but who would have us believe they are not where the matter of remaining a member of the European Union is concerned or, conversely, ceasing said membership.

When electing politicians to represent the best interests of our nation is it too much to hope that those who put themselves forward (or are ‘parachuted’ into a constituency by their political party) do in fact know that about which they are supposed to.

Is it also too much to expect that those selected by the Electoral Commission to lead the respective Remain or Leave campaigns should also know that about which they are supposed to? Come to that, should not the Electoral Commission also know that about which they are deciding?

Of course, under representative democracy, those suffering the incompetence of others have no voice in the various appointments; said appointments being made by others who either do not know about that which they should, or do know, but choose to mislead us because they have other agendas unknown to we the people.

Ever since the referendum period began – and even prior to that – we have been mislead by both Remain and Leave, with both sides talking utter rubbish. As an example, we have the ridiculous situation today of ex-politicians on the Leave side accusing the In side of startling dishonesty while at the same time debunking claims by Council leaders and citing the £350m figure, one which has in turn been debunked.

That our current system of democracy is no longer fit for purpose is evident when we have a prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer who both have demeaned their respective offices; and appear to ‘glory’ in their actions. They have both lied, misrepresented and thus mislead those to whom they have a duty of care. In making that accusation I do not excuse other politicians, both local and national. who have done likewise.

Perhaps the greatest misrepresentation that has been committed has been that by David Cameron – and others – in misleading the people about the status of Norway, where that country’s participation in the European Union is concerned. He repeatedly states she pays as much to the European Union as does the UK – she doesn’t; he maintains Norway has no say in the formulation of European Union ‘rules’ – she does; He maintains Norway has to abide by the four freedoms – and as with Iceland and Liechtenstein – she doesn’t. Witness Iceland halting the free movement of capital and Liechtenstein controlling the free movement of people. He also maintains that the UK is better off in a ‘reformed’ European Union – just when has the European Union been reformed other than by those for their own benefit?

Coupled with the foregoing, there is the apparent unwillingness of either Remain or Leave to acknowledge the existence of a sideways move to EEA/EFTA membership. This is an option the UK could pursue yet it is one that has not been mentioned and one has to ask: if our politicians are to fulfil their duty of care, should not that option have been presented to the people? That it has not begs another question: why not?

Where  people live under any form of democracy in which they have no power during the period in which their ‘representatives’ have been elected – and/or appointed – they cannot, in any sense of the word, consider themselves to be living in a democracy. When we have politicians who can demean the office they hold and the people cannot, relatively immediately, hold them to account then democracy cannot exist.

The ex-politicians mentioned in the first link above state: We can remain anchored to a declining economic power with a tottering currency, bound by all the EU’s laws, with little influence. This master-servant relationship makes no sense for Britain. Where the UK is concerned and in particular the present system of democratised dictatorship, the present master-servant relationship also makes no sense.

The people of the UK do not have a ‘free and fair’ referendum and as in 1975, we sheep will be shorn and then start bleating again.

A ‘pot-pourri’ of observations

First a little humour.

Being an avid ‘cricket fan’ I have been ‘glued’ to Test Match Special (on line) during the recent Test series with Sri Lanka. As usually happens during prolonged periods of inactivity on the field, Monday was no exception. Due to extended periods of rain, conversation invariably turned to ‘non-cricket’ subjects; and one of those raised was the query about how many, if any, followers of cricket had named their dogs after cricketers – and it was not long before cats and pet mice were included. One such offering was a cat named Lara, who was not West Indian and whose batting ability was admittedly non-existent (yes the association of name escapes me too). However the one that caught my eye was a cat named ‘Geoff’ (for short) – but whose full name was: Geoffrey Boy Cat.

Turning to the forthcoming EU referendum, much is made by Cameron et others that we should ‘remain’ for the sake of our children and their future. Perhaps the words, attributed to D.H. Lawrence, should be remembered: Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools; and their grandchildren are once more slaves.

It is noted that ‘Luvvies’ are entering the argument about ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’; the latest being three women who have employed the ‘F’ word , both in their slogan and campaign, to prod the young to vote, presumably on the basis that if a swear word is used, the young will take notice. Just who the hell are this group of wealth who, like politicians, have ‘insulated’ themselves from the rigours of life such as that suffered by we plebs – yet deign to hector us?

Simon Heffer, writing in The Telegraph, is of the opinion that if the ‘Leave’ vote triumphs reputations will be broken and careers in tatters – also stating that the British public may just be in the mood to give ‘our masters’ a ‘kicking’; making the point: The referendum will be an opportunity to sack the prime minister, teach other political leaders a lesson, and to make them realise how little they have taken account of the lives of what they patronisingly call “ordinary people. Heffer also offers the suggestion that were a ‘Leave’ vote to ‘win the day’, our politics could be revolutionised in the months ahead. Of course had The Harrogate Agenda not been ‘usurped, thus controlled and then allowed to stagnate, we might well have been on the road to having our ‘politics’ revolutionised, and the referendum won – but I digress, yet again!

It seems to me that wherever we, who wish for termination of our membership of the EU, look for succour – be that the Leave campaign or those that supposedly are on ‘our side’ – we are still being ‘screwed’.

Let it be known that I have registered a url, together with a related twitter account; and if The Harrogate Agenda do not, by early September, extract their ‘digit’, I will extract it for them!

Just saying…………………..

 

The ‘pot-mess’ in which the UK now finds itself

With Newsnight and Huffington giving publicity to FlexCit (possibly unthinkable years ago) one might begin to pose the question: has the ‘Westminster Bubble’ burst? – and if not burst, perhaps has begun to deflate a tad? The BBC deigns to mention something outside of ‘accepted wisdom’? Whatever next!

With the growing questioning about the paucity involved, in regard to the ‘arguments’ being promoted by both @StrongerIn and @Vote _Leave, might there be a surge for Brexit? Probably not while we have Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament who, while claiming to be Bexiteers, fail to accept that they are not the ‘masters’, but who wish us to believe that they are – Owen Paterson; Nigel Farage; Andrea Leadsom; Douglas Carswell; Daniel Hannan spring to mind (and so  the list continues; unfortunately). They all pontificate about the need for the restoraton of democracy; the need for those that make our laws to be accountable. Really? Think The Harrogate Agenda and the Six Demands?

I raise the foegoing query as Members of Pariament only have to open their mouths and what they say – be it normally ‘crap’ – will be reported by the media; whether it be fact or fiction. Democracy and politics in this country are both a farce; and this article by Aditya Chakrabortty in the Guardian sums up the mess we are in. For example: It’s an illusion that we’ve got a say in it. We don’t live in a democracy (extrapolated further by ME Synon here); Months were spent trailing a deal that the prime minister was going to strike with Germany’s Angela Merkel and the rest – a rewriting of the rules that was going to form the basis of this referendum. You’ve barely heard about that deal since. Making the point that political parties (mainly Conservative and Labour) no longer have the mass appeal of old, Chakrabortty writes: a prime minister can no longer come out and say something and expect to be believed. He or she must wheel out a common room full of experts…..No longer claiming the same democratic legitimacy as their predecessors, Cameron and George Osborne have had to borrow their authority from other sources: Mark Carney and the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, the Treasury.

With the acceptance that politics and politicians are now regarded with less esteem than that of estate agents, one can but ponder why, where the referendum on 23rd June is concerned, their views still appear to hold such importance – which can but illustrate the nadir to which our democracy and politics/politicians have sunk.

David Cameron once said that if he did not achieve the reforms of the European Union that he sought, he would rule nothing out – ie, he would be prepared to campaign for Brexit; Cameron and others assure us that this referendum is a chance for us to have our say – yet he and those others appear to be going out of their way to influence us and thus achieve the result they seek; we are assailed with innuendo, myths and falsehoods by both the Remain and Leave camps.

It is not in doubt that in 1975 the people of this nation were misled by those in whom we placed our trust – and 41 years later we find ourselves in the same position. The people’s sovereignty is once again being ‘bargained’ by those to whom said sovereignty does not belong.

Which begs the question: wherefore democracy?