For those of us who keep a ‘close eye’ on ‘developments Brexit’ it will not have escaped the attention of some that amongst all the talk of the United Kingdom ceasing its membership of the European Union – while wishing the European Union no harm, etc, etc- only one voice has asked the question: why do we need the European Union? As an aside there were two voices, but one of them was a politician (of whom more in a minute) who, in the intervening period appears to have changed his tune – presumably because he was handed another ‘hymn sheet’ (you know the one: it contains the phrase: be a good boy, ‘don’t make waves’, following which: behave, ‘fall into line’; and you’ll soon be a Secretary of State again). Oh, how are the mighty fallen – but resurrected once they have had their 15 minutes of ‘rebellious fame’.
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.
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.
….did we realise what it meant?
I wonder how many of the electorate saw Hardtalk, aired on 24th February 2016, which was quite an ‘insightful’ interview of Martin Schulz conducted by Sarah Montague.
Perhaps the most telling comment from Martin Schulz comes (@11:29) when Schulz states: For the first time a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is fighting for Europe and the European Union; this is progress in itself.
For one who has stated that he believes in the United Kingdom, it then begs the question why is he fighting for the European Union?
Together, possibly, with the arguments of the ‘Remain’ campaign who continually maintain that if the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union it would become ‘impotent’ on the world stage?
Speaking to the European Council ahead of its meeting today Schulz said, amongst other things: With its foreign policy experience and clout, its open market policies and its trade and counter-terrorism track record, your country, Prime Minister Cameron, brings a lot to the table. Leaving to one side the point that the ‘table’ about which he speaks is not the ‘top table’, one has to question his reasoning.
I note that Manchester has been chosen by the Electoral Commission to host the results of the forthcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. While it is well known that there is rivalry twixt the United and City factions in Manchester there is also an element of that twixt Manchester and Liverpool. The latter is probably more than glad they did not ‘kop it’, this time.
It is also noted that Chatham House, under their ‘Europe Programme’, have issued a paper entitled: Britain, the European Union and the Referendum: What Drives Euroscepticism? – the paper being authored by Matthew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo. Here we have two ‘professors’ who would have us believe they know all about eurosceticism, but who really know squat-diddley. From the Summary it appears they maintain that: Our analysis of around 30,000 Britons reveals that, broadly, those who would vote to leave the EU tend to have left school before their 17th birthday, to have few or no advanced academic qualifications, to be over 55 years old, and to work in less secure, lower-income jobs. In contrast, those who want Britain to remain a member of the EU tend to be younger, to be more highly educated, and to have more financially secure and professional jobs; and that: These two groups think fundamentally differently about the EU and about the issues that feed into the debate on Europe. Those who are currently planning to vote to leave the EU are motivated mainly by their dissatisfaction with how, in their view, democracy is working at the EU level, and also by their strong concerns over immigration and its perceived effects on Britain’s economy, culture and welfare state. When one considers the manner in which education presently brainwashes children (and has done for yonks), is it any wonder that this divide in voting intentions exists – and I leave to one side the ‘slight’ on we of advanced years who did have what may be termed a good ‘all-round’ education imparted by those free of political ideology.
Tusks, including those of elephants, are used to produce ivory and are highly valued – if only the same could be said about the tusk of the ‘elephant in the room’.
Donald Tusk has published his response to the letter sent to him by David Cameron in which the latter set out the areas in which he wanted reform. Tusk’s letter has been disected by Richard North in this article, which handily saves me the job of so doing.
One of the areas in which Cameron wants reform is that of sovereignty, included in which is the annulment of ‘ever closer union’ coupled with an enhanced role for national parliaments which allows them to ‘club together’ in order to stop unwanted measures. It is ironic that Cameron (and other politicians), who prattle on about the ‘sovereignty of parliament’, understand not the meaning of the word ‘sovereignty’. Whilst the UK is part of the political aspect of the European Union it can never be in the position of having the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. Likewise while the UK parliament is based on representative democracy (as is the EU) the people of the UK will always be subservient to their politicians.
It is always a source of amusement when reading the outpourings of political commentators on the subject of democracy. One only has to consider this from Gabby Hinsliff (and where she is concerned, ‘Gabby’ is so appropriate); or this from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown; or this from Philip Booth.
The first two articles centre on l’affaire Mark Clarke and intimate that young potential politicians, to quote Hinsliff: …..weren’t knifing each other over ways to change the world, but over getting seats, or jobs with MPs, or proximity to power of any kind. Hey, never mind the ‘young’ tag; isn’t that what politicians of all ages do? Alibhai-Brown reckons: degradation of politics by any party disables our democracy, and no party is immune to the effects. Hey, in order to disable democracy, first it is necessary to have democracy. That of Booth’s centres on the fact that: we have representation without taxation and an intrinsic big government bias in the electoral system, while suggesting that: a proper federal structure must be created for the UK.
Yes, you, Philip Stephens Chief Political Commentator of the Financial Times.
An article, albeit a few days old, about Brexit from this font of wisdom begins: What do you mean by “out”? and continues: Would Britain stay in the single market or cut loose entirely? The question goes unanswered. The Vote Leave campaign has turned this silence into an article of faith. A sceptic, in the true senseof the word, might think they had something to hide. As it happens, the government too has not properly considered what would happen if a disgruntled electorate backed Brexit. It then states: A post-EU deal along the lines of that secured by the Norwegians, Icelanders or Swiss would leave the primacy of EU law intact while robbing Britain of any voice. At the other end of the spectrum, complete disentanglement would deprive Britain of preferential trade access to scores of third countries and remove all protection for the City of London.
Well, here’s my letter setting out my demands for a reformed European Union – says David Cameron – and you will notice that, in common with ‘everything EU’ where reform is suggested, it is set out in very ‘broad terms’,; ie, nothing too specific; well one might be but as you can see I am open to diluting that if necessary. You will also note there is no mention of fishing, agriculture/farming, working time directives, energy or taxation in all its forms – to name but a few where repatriation of powers is concerned, which would then enable me to waffle on further about sovereignty – not bad, eh; coupled with the fact that I hope you will agree I have not ‘rocked the boat’ too much.