Posts Tagged 'Better Off Out'

David Cameron’s Impotent Number 10

Over at the paywalled Sunday Times there is a story that anyone who has worked within representative politics will recognise, as subscribers are told that David Cameron often learns of his policies from reading the papers and listening to the radio:

‘David Cameron’s former policy chief has revealed his “horror” at the powerlessness of Downing Street to control government decisions, admitting the prime minister often finds out about policies from the radio or newspapers — and in many cases opposes them.

‘Steve Hilton, who remains one of Cameron’s close confidants, said: “Very often you’ll wake up in the morning and hear on the radio or the news or see something in the newspapers about something the government is doing. And you think, well, hang on a second — it’s not just that we didn’t know it was happening, but we don’t even agree with it!  The government can be doing things … and we don’t agree with it? How can that be?”

‘He described how No 10 is frequently left out of the loop as important policy changes are pushed through by ‘paper-shuffling’ mandarins.”‘

This is what happens when civil servants in government departments and the various tiers of local authorities take their orders and direction not from elected politicians in Westminster or City and Town Halls, but from the various organs of our supreme government in Brussels, the EU.

This is the state of ‘democracy’ in 21st Century Britain.  The likes of Cameron cannot have complaint about this state of affairs, it is what they support and want to maintain.  So any bleating from them should be treated with the contempt it deserves.  But the British people do have cause for complaint.

What is being done by the civil service, following the instructions of a foreign entity that is answerable to one one, has not been elected and cannot be removed by this country’s voters, operating outside of democratic accountability can justly be described as a coup d’etat – albeit one the idiot politicians have facilitated by signing over huge swathes of power without understanding what that entails and without asking the permission of the people they are supposed to serve.  The Irish get it.

This is why the UK needs to become independent again by leaving the EU.

Useful idiots Big business mandarins like Richard Branson couldn’t care less about democratic legitimacy and accountability matters such as these, and certainly don’t want ordinary people to understand the consequences of EU membership for this country.  They prefer to retail scare stories about a departure from the EU threatening our economy and jobs, while deliberately ignoring the fact being part of the single market does not require this country to outsource political control by being a member of the EU.

It is not xenophobic or acting like a Little Englander to want the UK to leave the EU, rather it is an expression of the desire for democracy – people power – that the political class cannot stand and is trying to erode.  We are Better Off Out of the EU.

Roger Helmer writes open letter to Damian Reece

Regular readers will know this blog has had some strong disagreements with Roger Helmer in months gone by.  Credit where it’s due, Helmer finally abandoned his indefensible membership of the europhile Conservatives and defected to UKIP – a party that reflects his eurosceptic viewpoint.

As this blog did on Saturday, Helmer has taken issue with the weekend editorial piece by the Telegraph’s Head of Business, Damian Reece, and has responded with an open letter on the Better Off Out site, a campaign group whose objectives this blog wholeheartedly supports.

While the sentiment of Helmer’s response is spot on, parts of the response leave eurosceptics open to accusations of woolly thinking, such as in this following paragraph (emphasis is mine):

Those of us who believe that we should be “Better Off Out” would argue for full independence, plus a free trade agreement. Such an agreement can certainly be achieved, because it is overwhelmingly in the interests of both parties, and of Brussels more than the UK (since we are a net importer from the EU). It is also required in the Treaties for the EU to negotiate such an agreement with a departing member-state. Even in the unthinkable case that we left the EU with no such agreement, the duties we should pay on our exports to the EU would be a mere fraction of our current net EU budget contributions.

This is ludicrously simplistic and fails to recognise major issues Helmer should be well aware of. For example, if we left the EU without agreements covering a wide range of matters the UK could find itself in breach of international conventions such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which Richard recently outlined on his blog to illustrate the attention to detail needed when exiting the EU.

Unilateral withdrawal from the EU without an agreement is indeed unthinkable – which is why it is unbelievable that Helmer has needlessly opened up a line of attack against eurosceptics with his detour on to discussion of duties and budget contributions. There are literally thousands of different conventions, agreements, protocols and other arrangements like CCAMLR which could be affected by our withdrawal from the EU and damage the UK economy by making it more difficult for this country to export. Comparing export duties with budget contributions is utterly irrelevant, particularly if this country finds itself unable to export to the EU because of the absence of an agreement.

Sadly this is another frustrating heads-in-hands moment caused by a lack of determined focus and a need to ramble.  The withdrawalist argument and pledge to the nation needs be clear and unambiguous and leave the europhiles with no opportunity to scaremonger that withdrawal will damage the UK’s interests.  The manner of withhdrawal needs to be certain and sure-footed, the arguments for it completely positive, and commitment to securing agreement to safeguard the UK’s economic and commercial interests absolute.

There is more than a hint of the Farage UKIP party line in Helmer’s letter, which is only to be expected given Helmer is a party political animal.  But Helmer should know better.  This is another positive argument for a strong and leaderless, organic, grassroots movement that is free of the baggage of a political party and direction set by an autocratic leader.

Compare and contrast

It is often said the BBC’s favourite news subject is itself.  The same is true of Conservative politicians and their bag men. The love being the centre of attention because it takes the focus away from their multitude of broken promises and their rank incompetence.

This weekend we have no less than two articles online that put the 2010 intake of new Tory MPs front and centre.  While the articles hail from different viewpoints, both underline the self referential Westminster bubble’s desire to talk about issues of fascination to itself rather than subjects that matter to the long suffering British public.

First up we have Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome, taking time out from ‘running interference’ for David Cameron in the Sunday Fail, to try and convince readers that he and the Conservative Party are still right of centre, by arguing that the new intake of (supposedly centre right) Tory MPs are pushing David Cameron towards a more robust, more appealing Conservatism.

Any independently minded observer reading Montgomerie’s piece would either be reduced to tears of laughter at the notion of the autocratic Cameron being forced into any position he doesn’t want to adopt, or moved to hurling invective at their screen in response to the sheer vacuous idiocy of his claim.

Which brings us smoothly on to the second piece about the aggressively self serving Tory newbies…  for in the Mail on Sunday we have an anonymous piece, written by a person who indicates they are a longer serving Conservative MP, which explains that while he/she thought the new intake of Tories would clean up politics, the cruel hounding of Mark Pritchard shows they were wrong.

As this anonymous person reminds those who had forgotten the origin of these Parliamentary candidates before they were elected, top of the list were the friends or former schoolmates of Cameron and George Osborne, or those who moved in the same social circle. The candidates lists in many constituencies were cynically manipulated to ensure those who Cameron and Osborne could rely upon to be ‘on message’ were the ones who were selected. Alongside these, the anonymous writer reminds us:

were the ambitious sycophants and plain old careerists who would sell their own grandmother for a pat on the back or a wink from a whip

So how does this insight square with Montgomerie’s article, which one could argue is nothing more than another Cameron-protecting puff piece designed to keep the angered Tory grass roots from turning their back on the left sliding party for good?  How does Montgomerie’s piece square with his own support of the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign to see Britain leave the EU, when he witters on about this new intake, amounting to two thirds of Tory backbenchers, supposedly pulling Cameron towards more Thatcherite positions, and the old Right towards greater pragmatism?

Perhaps Montgomerie’s stomach for principle has now completely evaporated, easily pleased at seeing nothing more a Conservative in name only in Downing Street due to his tribal party loyalty, to be replaced by the coward’s approach – consensus politics and so called pragmatism which maintains the anti democratic nature of politics in this country – which prevents the change we so desperately need.

Tax and EU regulations make HSBC set to move HQ to Hong Kong

According to the Telegraph HSBC is preparing to relocate its HQ from London to Hong Kong due to increasing taxes and extra layers of EU regulation heaped on the City of London.  Thanks to higher taxes and the suffocating bureaucracy being imposed on businesses, the UK is becoming uncompetitive.

Warnings that bankers could desert the UK if the government interfered in their bonus schemes were dismissed with a sneer by the likes of Vince Cable. But while focusing efforts on playing the gallery on that trivial matter, the government seems to have missed the frustration of entire corporations that have the capacity to move their headquarter operations out of the country.

If HSBC decides to relocated the impact will be billions of pounds less in the UK Treasury coffers. It will be this idiotic grandstanding government and unaccountable EU bureaucrats to blame for such a move and the harmful impact on our economy.

Why the EU is putting pressure on Switzerland

The EU’s harrassment of Switzerland covered here and here, because it refuses to stop offering low personal and business tax rates, is put into context today with the news Brussels is dusting off old plans to introduce a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) across member states.

Not content with its objective of directly charging VAT on our purchases instead of letting member states collect the money and pass it on to Brussels, the EU now wants to set a common minimum rate of corporation tax to prevent countries such as Ireland setting competitive rates to attract business to its shores.

The pressure being applied to Switzerland is a concerted effort by the EU to eradicate a ‘local’ tax competitor that could host companies desperate to avoid the EU’s elevated minimum tax rates in a geographically convenient location. The EU measure would spark a stampede of businesses to the cantons if the last democracy in western Europe doesn’t play ball.  It’s a high stakes game worth billions of Euros.

The EU is a customs union with no interest in free trade or competition.  A more accurate description for it would be a bullying, anti democratic tax union. The UK has no place being part of this destructive bureaucratic cabal. Ironically, on the day this news has come out the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, is saying the province’s corporation tax rate should be cut from 28% to attract business to the country – exactly what the EU is trying to put a stop to.  Yet in another breath he will be telling us how beneficial our EU membership is.  It is rank hypcorisy.

No doubt the proposal, which is being met with the usual initial resistance from France and Germany before being accepted by them wholesale after a few concessions, will have senior Conservative politicians sucking on their teeth, planting Eurosceptic sentiments with unthinking cut and paste merchants in the media and expressing anger at this unacceptable interference in British affairs – before meekly surrendering all competence to Brussels and declaring there was no alternative.

Costs will be driven up and consumers will find themselves paying more for goods and services, but the mass sleepwalk will continue as our media tows the party line in return for ‘access’ and fails the public by not exposing the real state of affairs that would have the people in rebellious mood.

That Conservative Euroscepticism in action

Following on from yesterday’s post rubbishing James Forsyth’s news story in the Mail that suggested ‘constantly being told what you can and can’t do by Brussels is driving Ministers and No 10 deeper and deeper into the Eurosceptic camp’, a timely reminder of the depth of that Conservative Euroscepticism in the Conservatives’ favourite rag.  Click on the image below to enlarge then read the text beneath it and ask yourself, does this look like a Eurosceptic Conservative at his wits end with frustration on the verge of calling for an in-out referendum on EU membership?

And when clicking through on his image this is ‘Conservative Eurosceptic’ Foreign Secretary, William Hague’s introduction to the EU Civil Service recruitment section:

5:20PM GMT 25 Jan 2011

“Whatever you think of it, the EU is incredibly important to Britain. Whether you’re angry about red tape from Brussels, interested in what it means for British business, excited about the opportunities it gives young people to work in other European countries or wondering what European countries can achieve on the environment or international crises, you are bound to have an opinion on it.

“If you care about any of these things you should think about working in the EU’s institutions – the EU’s Civil Service. We want to see bright and ambitious British graduates taking up that opportunity. We need people involved who can bring a British point of view and expertise to the EU’s work.

“That’s why I’m backing this campaign for UK graduates to look at the EU’s Civil Service as a career. It could give you the chance to help the countries of Europe shape the European Union’s future direction. If you’re concerned about big policy issues, want to learn about international negotiations or fascinated by European cultures and languages, you may find the job you’re looking for with the EU.

“So do browse this site and leave your contact details if you’re interested in receiving further information on working for the EU’s Civil Service.”

The words quisling and sell out spring to mind.  How ironic the date that page was last updated, 25th January 2011, was the same date the Egyptian people began their effort to throw off undemocratic rule with a protest in Tahrir Square.

Cameron’s useful idiots, Hannan and Carswell

The Critical Reaction website carries a piece this evening which confirms the suspicions of many people that Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell are nothing more than David Cameron’s useful idiots:

In Committee Room 7 at the House of Commons this evening, Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell proposed that Better Off Out should wind itself up. Arguing that the supporters of BOO – whom present tonight included Lord Tebbit – have, in one form or another, ‘sat for thirty years’ without achieving the objective of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the two men, supported by Mark Reckless, proposed that BOO should go out of business and be replaced by a cross-party referendum campaign.

There seems to be no end in sight to politicians seeking to dismember grassroots campaigns while pledging to advance them in another guise. Closing down a grassroots campaign like Better Off Out so it can be replaced by a politicians’ ego club within the walls of the Palace of Westminster, which will wither and die, suffocated by the desire to attain consensus and horse trade over vested interests, is the worst thing that could happen.  I can’t wait to hear what Simon Richards at The Freedom Association has to say about this.

Thankfully the author of the Critical Reaction piece has their wits about them, unlike Hannan and Carswell.  As the editorial rights points out:

If Tory MPs are reluctant to join BOO because of the implications for their career prospects, any group which is established that doesn’t threaten their personal ambitions isn’t likely to be doing its job.  David Cameron has been unambiguous on this point: he fully supports British membership of the EU. A group that he and the whips can tolerate ambitious Tory backbenchers belonging to is, almost by definition, a neutered body. With, in this instance, the proposed distinction of being one that intends to neuter itself.

Perhaps that is Hannan and Carswell’s intention?  Cameron would be very grateful.  After all, despite claiming to want Britain to leave the EU Hannan and Carswell have resolutely stayed within a Conservative party that has vowed to remain inside the EU and also refuses to allow the British people their democratic say on membership in a binding referendum. Perhaps Hannan and Carswell value the trappings of power as MEP and MP respectively more than principle.

Better Off Out should remain.  It should continue to provide a grassroots outlet for those outside the Westminster and Brussels villages who want democratic accountability restored to the UK. It should redouble its efforts to educate people about the consequences of being run by the EU and it should do so without a couple of parliamentarians attempting to play power games within a system that ensures they are doomed to failure.


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