Posts Tagged 'Independence'

Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like

The Scottish independence campaign has, in the last two weeks in particular, shown us the extent to which prestige will be amalgamated with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the effort to influence and persude voters to back the political class’ preferred outcome.

Despite the President of the United States having previously pledged to stay out of the Scottish independence debate, he could not resist chipping in with his comment that the US has a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies the country has remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. To what extent the US will work to ‘make sure’ the Kingdom stays united remains to be seen.

Now His Holiness Pope Francis has passed opinion, reported in the Telegraph, with regard to the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting the case for independence in Scotland is not clear and may not be just:

Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.

There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.

If His Holiness has a desire for unity, he should stick to matters ecumenical.  The Scots people were never asked to vote on union.  Their voice on union or independence has never been heard.  Yet outsiders are trying to push them in a particular direction – and not because it would be in the interest of Scots themselves.

The independence debate in Scotland is a matter for Scots, not for American Presidents, their Secretaries of State, the Vicar of Rome or the Swedish Foreign Minister. It is about a country’s people deciding, to an extent, the nature of their governance and how their country will be organised. It is a matter of democracy, such as it exists.

If the ‘yes’ campaign wins the referendum, what the Scots do with their restored national self determination is up to them.  If they choose to retain that self determination and represent themselves in the world, using their own voice and promoting their own interests, that is for them to establish.  If they regain ultimate decision making authority over their country, yet then choose to give it away again to the European Union, that too is a matter for them.  It is wrong for politicians and religious leaders from elsewhere in the world to seek to exert influence over the Scots’ decision.

This interference gives us a flavour of what we should expect if the Conservatives win the general election next year and a referendum on our membership of the EU is held in 2017.

Leaders of EU countries and the US in particular will be joined by religious figures and politically motivated industrialists from a variety of corporations and nations to spread FUD about what they believe about the implications for our economy if British independence is restored.  They will be joined by media cronies doing the bidding of their owners, who are in bed with the political class.

There will be no fair or impartial hearing for the ‘out’ side.  Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak, so they push voters to the ‘in’ side due to their conspiratorial or frankly idiotic views, or lightweight claims that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny and examination.

To win a referendum campaign the ‘out’ side must not rely on the normal channels, such as the media.  The message that a referendum is exclusively about who should run Britain, needs to be spread face to face directly to voters in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.  It is only then that the positive vision for a successful and independent Britain – as set out in FLEXCIT – can be heard and explained to counter the FUD which will flood the airwaves and print media to paint a false picture of economic armageddon should we free ourselves from the EU.

The ‘out’ side can win the referendum in the face of overwhelming dishonesty and misrepresentation, but it will need to unite around common strategy so the electorate receives a consistent and clear message.  Witterings from Witney has already started putting out feelers, with limited success.  The problem though is that some entities – which despite being nominally against EU membership have done nothing to develop or promote a strategy for getting out – will use the referendum campaign as a career move, with one eye firmly on individual prospects to become MPs or prominent figures in political circles.

There is still time to address this. But whether the individuals involved will set aside their own personal agendas, in order to help secure the exit from the EU they claim to want, remains to be seen.

The arguments that will decide an EU referendum

If you want to defeat your opponent it is essential that you watch him, listen to him, learn about him, understand how he thinks and how he will react. That way you can devise the approach to take to beat him when you engage.  This is the space where anti-EU heads need to be right now.

Ken Clarke is one of the leading lights of the pro-EU side.  He is connected, knowledgable and always engaging with like minded people throughout the EU. When he speaks, EU sceptics should listen carefully because it will provide a wealth of information about the battle grounds the Europhiles will pick and the tactics they will employ.

Clarke gave a timely interview on the Today programme yesterday morning that provides us with an insight into where Europhile thinking is, and the arguments we will be faced with in a referendum campaign. You can listen to the interview below:

We can see from Clarke’s comments that the Europhiles do not see the election results as a setback. For all the media hoohaa, they are making a cold assessment of the facts and contenting themselves that the factors which brought about the result are not a rejection of the EU, but a combination of other gripes.

The Europhiles are reassured that UKIP’s performance, while seemingly barnstorming, really only amounted to one third of a third of the electorate supporting them, less than 1 in 10 voters.  The performance of the Lib Dems is not considered to be a reflection of anti-EU sentiment, rather a combination of the loss of protest vote status, the loss of tactical voters who have returned to Labour and that most pro-EU voters stayed at home last Thursday.

The battleground they will fight on will not be a surprise – but it will require some tightly targeted arguments to counter and defeat the lines the Europhiles will take, namely:

  • Prosperity (the 3 million jobs meme, further opening of single market, access to other markets on better trade terms etc)
  • Political security (stability since WWII, deep and peaceful cooperation etc)
  • Role in the World (more clout as a group, more involvement in world events, increased capabilities etc)
  • Immigration (a feature for all western democracies, need businessmen, students, skilled workers and ability to fill unskilled labour gaps etc)

Counter arguments to many of these points have long been uncoordinated, piecemeal, often badly informed or erroneous – making it possible for the Europhiles to discredit, undermine confidence in and defeat the anti-EU side.  But a roadmap for leaving the EU that provides robust, effective, accurate and attractive alternatives to the Europhile vision now exists with FLexCit. Click on the link below for the latest edition:


Having such a roadmap enables the anti-EU side to reassure voters that the UK can leave the EU and rid ourselves of the political straitjacket, without suffering the economic consequences that are often used to justify remaining in the  union. Having the well informed details to hand will enable the anti-EU side to counter, discredit and undermine confidence in the scare tactics and fatuous claims that the Europhiles will make.

You may be asking yourself, do we really need to be doing this now?  Absolutely.

The local and European election results showed that the Conservatives are actually stronger than supposed and Labour somewhat weaker.  There is a lot that can and will happen between now and May 2015, but as things stand the Conservatives have a better chance of beating Labour than many had previously supposed.

If the Conservatives win, David Cameron has boxed himself into holding an in-out referendum in 2017.  Any attempt to not honour that commitment will result in a backbench assault that would finish his leadership.  Therefore, the anti-EU side needs to prepare for a make or break vote in 2017.

While there are a number of different ‘sceptic’ groups, only by agreeing common ground and working together to achieve a shared objective will we win a referendum against the full might of the political class and their media helpers. The current state of the political landscape shows we need to begin the process now.

If you want to the UK to free itself from the EU, please spread the word.

It’s time to take on and defeat the pro-EU side

Under the section on ‘Progressing the Agenda’ on page 26 of the Harrogate Agenda pamphlet, it says:

One of those objectives, not explicitly stated, is the withdrawal of the UK from membership of the European Union. As it stands, the direct democracy embodied in THA is not compatible with membership of the EU.

The inception of the Harrogate Agenda was to campaign for a transformation in British democracy – namely bringing it about.  It just so happens that democracy, real people power, is utterly incompatible with membership of the EU and its model of governance beyond accountability, which is why THA says it is necessary for the UK to leave the EU.

However, given the significantly changing pace and indeed face of the EU referendum debate, the Harrogate Agenda committee and advisory panel will meet in May to discuss formalising and increasing the link between THA and the EU Referendum issue, in order to give more prominence to campaigning for withdrawing from the EU.

In other words, although THA was not brought into being to fight for withdrawal from the EU, it is looking to re-focus its activity to achieve that end.

This does not mean THA will abandon its aim of demoratic reform in the UK.  Far from it.  Rather it is a recognition that before that can happen the UK needs to be free of the EU and we have a part to play in that.

To achieve that goal of leaving the EU there is a clear need for the anti-EU side to get all the help it can.  Blogging supporters of THA have variously highlighted and lamented the shortcomings of the anti-EU side over months and years.  Therefore the proposal being put before THA supporters – who are currently engaged in building the foundation of the movement before presenting it to the public – is that we now actively get involved in the game, that we devote our attention and focus on EU withdrawal, while formally bringing to it whatever philosophical and technical tools we can.

There are too many things that the public is not being told.  There are too many Europhile lies going unchallenged.  The media is awash with FUD, spin, deliberately sown confusion and ignorant commentary.  Not enough is being done to provide voters with reassurance that leaving the EU can have positive benefits in addition to the UK governing itself and speaking with its own voice on the world stage.

It’s time to tackle and overcome those problems.

THA has something to contribute – not least Richard North’s outstanding, condensed FLexCit plan that provides a definitive roadmap for leaving the EU and dealing with expected stumbling blocks along the way. It’s time to get out of the stands, onto the field and energise the pro-independence side.

Two lessons business today taught those who want independence

(this post may be updated with links and additional information later…)

Lesson 1

Standard Life has broken cover to tell the market that if Scotland chooses to leave the United Kingdom without an agreement covering currency, interest rates, taxation and regulation, it would look at relocating itself to England.

This is little different from the concerns business in the rest of the UK would have if a political party decided to repeal the European Communities Act and simply declare independence from the EU.

Such a political party would be deluding itself to believe that all the complex issues and problems this would cause relating to trade, tariffs, regulations and agreements that have been made with other countries on the UK’s behalf, would come out in the wash and that World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would force the EU to maintain trade with the UK as if we were still part of the customs union.  Exiting in an orderly manner with a negotiated agreement is the only responsible course of action.  Anything else and the actions of Standard Life in Scotland would be replicated many times over in the rest of the UK and on a much bigger scale.

Lesson 2

While speaking to the Today programme on Radio 4 about WPP’s latest results, chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was asked about what the business community – which has been going along with the deludophile nonsense about EU reform – would do if reform could not be achieved.

After explaining that the business community feels there are a lot of positives being in the EU – in other words the single market, as the EU is political and the single market is economic – he said the business community would want to stay ‘in’ if no reform was achieved.

Therefore, those who are most vocal in calling for impossible EU reform will stick with the status quo if the changes they want are not forthcoming.  The fact reform will be impossible was made clear by a German guest speaking separately on the same programme this morning about the visit of Angela Merkel.  He pointed out that Cameron’s reform agenda was going to go nowhere, not least because no one knows what his supposed demands are.

It was pointed out by this guest (name to follow) that the Treaties that would need to be changed were the product of years of negotation and compromise, and so the outcome would be the same compromise, with little or no change.  The Lisbon Treaty would be strictly off limits and none of its elements would therefore be negotiated let alone reformed.

Added together we can see that a grand performance is being played out for the media and public, to give the impression that there will be changes.  But it is just that, a performance, an act, and nothing of substance will be altered.

Cameron famously said about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by Gordon Brown that he ‘would not let matters rest there’. But he did.  Cameron is now on the stage once again, prancing around and delivering a monologue to the audience, gazing imploringly into the stalls and peddling more fallacies, in the shape of a rengotiation our EU overlords have told us won’t happen, and in the shape of a referendum that cannot possibly be delivered in 2017 even if the Conservatives form the next government.

And now we can see that behind him are those people who have given their backing to this drive towards an illusory outcome, but who are now saying that they would stick with things as they are if no reform came about.  EUsceptics need to bear these important lessons in mind.

Scottish independence campaign being used as a guinea pig for EU referendum campaign

For some people this may be a statement of the bleeding obvious, but listening to BBC Radio 4 Today this morning, it seems the media is using the Scottish independence campaign to test out which arguments should be made and lines taken in any future EU referendum campaign (whenever that might be).

Professor John Curtice, wearing his ScotCen Social Research hat, has told the BBC that:

Voters want to hear about the economic and financial consequences of the choice that they make, and it is on the outcome of that debate that the result of the referendum is likely to turn.

This is hardly as surprise when the questions asked focus on economic rather than political matters.

A write up of the story on BBC Online also extracts specific questions that focus on voting intentions based on whether Scots will be £500 better or worse off after independence, or whether the Scottish economy will be better or worse. There is no report on the all-important political factors, which is what the independence debate (and the EU debate for that matter) is all about.

It is important to note that the Today piece included comments from four Scots voters – and only one of them said financial considerations were an important factor to him when it comes to voting on independence.  The other three didn’t focus on economics and instead spoke about variations on the theme of who decides how Scotland is run.  Once this segment had been played, the presenter then ignored the voter contributions and turned the discussion straight back to economics, disregarding what the voters had said; and Curtice himself then introduced identity as an issue rather than politics, to move the conversation further away from the central political dimension.

The feeling is of there being a clear agenda to frame the Scottish debate firmly in terms of economics, while doing everything possible to confine the politics to the wilderness.  While this mirrors the current approach taken to the EU debate by the Europhiles at places such as the Centre for European Reform and the Europlastics at places such as Open Europe, what it does is enable the power of the narrative to be tested on a live electorate and see how effectively the electorate can be manipulated into focusing on issues that are irrelevant to the concept of independence – namely who should run Scotland.

No matter whether one feels the Scots should be independent, or whether the union should be preserved as it is, all should be concerned that the crux of the independence issue is being airbrushed from the discourse by the media, which is taking its line from entities with vested interests in keeping all structures as they are – which suits the European Union perfectly.

Straitjacket of EU membership laid bare over China

Following on from the previous post about David Cameron’s inauspicious jaunt to China, we find a report on the BBC that is helpful in reinforcing why EU membership is a straitjacket for a country like the UK.

Irrespective of whether a free trade agreement of the type Cameron has called for is a good thing or a bad thing for the UK, the fact remains the UK cannot form such a trade relationship with China even if it wants to because the EU does not let member states make such agreements.  Any trade agreement with China would have to be made between Beijing and Brussels.

The UK and its business community can be as outward facing as they like, but unless the EU – with its slow moving bureaucracy, 28 member state bloc and all the competing interests that throws up – makes a deal, the UK is powerless to act.  Even if the EU does make a deal, it may still fall far short of what would give the UK and its economic sector maximum benefit.

It is constraints such as these which demonstrate once again that the UK could only seize all opportunities that are in its interests if it were independent.

There are many positive reasons for leaving the EU and its Little Europe mentality.  Opening up other markets to our goods and services and accessing overseas goods and services more cheaply than we do now is just one of them.  Another is being able to speak with our own voice, in our own interests, and helping to formulate the global rules and regulations concerning trade, as members of the global organisations where we have no seat because the EU ‘represents’ us.

For the UK to be able to maximise its influence and potential and seize opportunities, it has to walk tall on the global stage as an independent nation.

The first step in that process is to recognise the EU is and always was intended to be about centralising political power; economic benefits, where they arise, are merely incidental.  So for the good of our country it is imperative that we free ourselves from the EU straitjacket.

Of independence, protections and democracy

Where’s the benefit in striving to have a new boss, when he’s actually the old boss, and mostly just as bad if not much worse than the new old boss he would be replacing?

Put differently, what is the point of British people seeking independence from the EU, when putting British politicians back in charge to govern us from Westminster results in outcomes that are every bit as bad, if not worse, than what is forced on us by the crowd in Brussels?

Today’s earlier blog post about the squeeze on legal aid forcing some law firms to close down or restructure, focused on the consequences of long term abuse of a system designed to provide protections under the law for this country’s citizens and visitors.  The passing reference to cuts to the legal aid budget having ramifications for the ability of less well off people to have access to justice, really didn’t do justice to the magnitude of the changes being made by the coalition.

So this follow up seeks to put things into greater context.

What the cuts to the legal aid budget will result in was made clear in 2011.  As part of the cost saving plan, the UK informed the EU that it would not opt-in to the proposal for a Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and on the right to communicate upon arrest.  The reason was clear.  Clause 12 of what was then the Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, contained provisions that restrict access to legal advice for criminal suspects, with cost saving one of the reasons given for it.

Ostensibly the provision was to pave the way for means testing of defendants to determine if they should get legal aid, as a step change on the route to removing the automatic right of those arrested and in police custody to have access to a lawyer at the police station.  A director of legal aid would decide which detainees should get legal aid in the ‘interest of justice’ without any right to appeal – leaving the way open for the state to persecute individuals who, if of limited means, would be denied access to counsel.

Note the ‘interest of justice’ element of the clause.  It suggests this is not merely a financial consideration, but the state giving itself the ability to determine whether it’s in justice’s interest to have a defendant assisted by a lawyer if he can’t afford one.  It’s a wide open swinging door to abuse and miscarriage of justice.

By any measure, using the cost savings yardstick, it would be wrong to equate the entitlement to legal counsel upon arrest with the kind of abuses of legal aid that have seen millionaires defended at public cost.  But that was the excuse being used to push through a pernicious and worrying bill.

Now fast forward to two weeks ago in Brussels.  There we find the European Parliament plenary adopting a proposal from the European Commission to make a new law, to guarantee the rights of all citizens to be advised by a lawyer when facing criminal proceedings.  This is what the UK opted out of.

So what we see are protections being afforded to EU citizens that are not available to UK citizens.  Being in a signatory EU member state, ironically, would ensure the interests of defendants are protected far more than here in the UK.

This goes back to a long standing question.  Why bother pushing for independence when that still leaves us at the mercy of politicians and civil servants who are every bit as bad, if not worse, than those we seek to escape from in Brussels?  Out of the frying pan and into the fire.  It’s all well and good arguing for independence, but it is ultimately meaningless unless the UK becomes democratic.  Truly democratic.

That does not mean merely voting every 4-5 years then having no influence or control over the people we send to Parliament.  It means the people holding the power, and politicians not being able to impose on us restrictions and laws, like the eroding right to legal counsel paid for by the taxpayer, without our consent.

This is brings us to the intersection of independence and democracy, where there is a crossroads between the campaign to leave the EU and the embryonic campaign to realise the Six Demands of the Harrogate Agenda.

This post is just food for thought, and a reminder of the complexity that faces us as we seek to define the future of this country and our people.  Things aren’t always as black and white as they seem.  Getting out of the EU isn’t the end in itself, only the means to enable us to formulate the end for ourselves in the future.

(With more time I would probably do a better job of connecting the dots, with far better writing than the jumble above which was banged out in a few minutes of downtime. So this post may be revised slightly over the next day or so, to complete thoughts, add emphasis or generally improve it.)

UK’s New Deal for Somalia

Perhaps the UK will be proud of its role in the New Deal for Somalia which is being discussed today in a bilateral meeting with the Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, as part of a wider conference that is taking place.

Only the UK is not in the room.  Matters such as these are exclusively handled ‘on our behalf’  by the EU.

Therefore, the meeting is between Mohamud and the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy.  This is the reality of our EU membership.  The politics being done is being done for us.  We are bound by treaties to honour any agreements or promises that are made because they would have been made in our name.

A consequence of EU membership is not being allowed to discussing our own interests and make deals with other nation states.  Our interests are diluted and compromised until they fit in with the ‘common position’ adopted on behalf of all 28 member states.  This is one of the reasons why we must leave the EU.

This is all about politics, not economics.  It is about having a seat at the table and doing what is in the UK’s best interests.  Without independence the UK will not have genuine influence on the world stage.  The interests of the British people are not, cannot and will not be put first until we can speak with our own voice.

Boris Johnson thinking small again

When one seeks an example of yawn inducing dog whistle politics, Boris Johnson rarely fails to deliver.  It never ceases to amaze that such well educated individuals can lack common sense and imagination.  But Boris has shown that to be the case once again with his ‘back of the fag packet’ call for a free labour exchange between UK and Australia.

As an appeal to the section of the Eurosceptic community that laments the UK’s change of focus from Commonwealth ties to subservience to the EU, and a piece of flag-waving to those who resent the high level of immigration from non-Anglospheric countries, Johnson’s comments about closer UK-Australian workforce links work perfectly and no doubt prove reassuring, perhaps even encouraging.  For those who want to see politicians suggesting approaches that fit the circumstances of the day, while providing evidence of some deep thinking and imagination, his comments are just so much more waffle.

By way of a quick observation, the Commonwealth was fine back then, but looking at it today as an alternative to the EU internal market would be a retrograde step.  Increasingly, at the time the UK was stepping back and looking closer to home for politicial harmonisation and trade opportunities, the Commonwealth provided as much of a bind for some of its member countries as the EU does to the UK today.  Consider the New Zealand experience, where Commonwealth driven approaches saw the high volume – low margin for lamb hold back and poorly compensate Kiwi farmers.  But as the UK turned towards Europe, New Zealand’s sheep (and dairy) farmers took the opportunity to better serve their own interests by switching to a lower volume – high margin model, which rejuvinated the agricultural sector and increased wealth.

Returning to Johnson, why his comment represents small thinking is that there is a whole world of opportunity outside the EU for labour exchange, trade agreements and – more crucially – establishing new blocs of countries with common interests to negotiate trade deals.

Look at the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations.  There are some large blocs there, such as the US, the EU and the BRICS.  The talks have stalled for years, particularly as the US and EU squabble over agricultural subsidies.  Imagine the UK left the EU –  dispensing with Brussels’ political baggage and instead representing itself on the world stage and truly having a seat at the real global top table – and opted to join EFTA as part of the strategy for retaining access to the internal market.  Some other EU member states could follow suit (thinks Denmark, Sweden and even Ireland).  Suddenly EFTA would have quite some clout.  Indeed it could then progress to become a trade bloc in its own right, sitting in WTO trade rounds like Doha, working for deals in our interests rather than the broader, more dilute interests of the larger EU bloc.

It could be a game changer, as trade with the US, BRICS and tiger economies of south east Asia could be via a genuine trade bloc rather than a customs union, not hampered by political governance issues.  This is just one idea.  It certainly has more vision and aligns better with today’s realities than Johnson’s small thinking and political gaming.

But this should not detract from the elephant in the room, which is the pressing and essential need to extract ourselves from the EU as quickly as possible, while preserving access to the internal market.

For this to happen the British people need to be convinced and reassured that the UK can leave the EU without suffering adverse commerical and economic consequences.  Enough doubt and fear has been created by pro-EU entities who falsely claim leaving the EU means losing access to the single market.  They pretend the negotiation option does not exist, and without providing any evidence for their rationale they reject EFTA membership as a stepping stone or even longer term solution.

The evidence that contradicts and exposes the Europhile claims, and undermines their political motives for keeping the UK under the control of Brussels, is irrefutable.  But it is only a handful of bloggers with their limited reach who are telling the story.  The Eurosceptic cause needs UKIP and every Eurosceptic organisation out there to tell the story and take control of the debate.  By defining the narrative and citing the evidence – namely having something of substance to say – even the media will not be able to ignore the available solutions which can help the UK chart its own course in the world.  It would certainly result in less attention being given to the inane waffle emanating from London’s indecisive and political greasy pole climbing Mayor.

Seeking permission from the European Union…

Remember how the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband keep prattling on about a strong and independent UK within the European Union?

The extent of that strength and independence is shown up for what it is today in the story about a desire to extend a scheme that grants certain rural areas a discount in the amount of fuel duty they pay.  The scheme is designed to offset the additional expense of getting fuel to remote areas with a smaller customer base, so the total paid per litre is not too much more expensive than elsewhere in the country.

So independent is the UK, the government does not have the right to extend the scheme to other rural areas.  Instead it must ask permission from the European Commission.

Despite this being an exclusively domestic matter, the people elect by those who see any point in voting do not have the power to do this without permission from foreign politicians and bureaucrats.  That power was given away, without our consent, by the same political class that now has to go cap in hand to Brussels in humiliating fashion asking to be allowed to do something within our own borders.

If Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Iceland want to reduce the duty on fuel, they can just do it through their own structures.  They don’t need anyone else’s permission.  These four countries are independent and work in their own interests.  They are also part of the single market through their membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), enabling goods and services to flow in and out of their countries without being hindered by the constraints of the EU customs union.

This subject is a superb illustration of what the campaign to leave the EU is all about.  It is about throwing off the political control Brussels has over this country.  It has nothing to do with trade, or employment that is underpinned by it.

David Cameron and his pro-EU sockpuppets at Open Europe, the CBI and Roland Rudd’s PR business, don’t want voters to understand the difference between the political EU and being part of the European Economic Area (EEA).  Leaving the EU and its political control does not mean we have to give up access to the single market and economic benefits that can be realised.  There is an alternative, a stepping stone if you will, provided by joining EFTA.

What’s that you say?  EFTA countries have no say over EU laws but have to implement them anyway?  You heard David Cameron, Concrete Willy Hague, Open Europe, the CBI and even Norway’s foreign minister say so?  Think again.

The reality is very different.  The political class all want to be part of a political union that voters oppose.  So to stop us rocking the boat and preventing them from serving their own selfish interests, they have lied about the reality while their media hangers on have doggedly refused to expose the dishonesty.

The world they want will see the UK having to ask the EU for permission to do things ever more often for ever more activities.  That is what any future referendum is about.  It’s about the politics for sure.  Do we decide for ourselves how this country is run?  Or do we leave the decisions to people who we do not elect, cannot remove and who are not accountable to us?  But most important of all, this issue is about one overarching thing…

It is about democracy.

The most powerful rebuttal yet to David Cameron’s deceitful ‘Norway Fax Law’ claims

If, dear reader, you read nothing else this week, please click on the image below and take a few minutes to read the most powerful rebuttal yet to David Cameron’s claims – also made by others such as Nick Clegg, Roland Rudd, John Cridland and others – that Norway outside the EU has to accept EU laws without having no say over them.


The rebuttal of Cameron’s falsehoods and description of the reality for Norway comes not from a mere observer, but the State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anne Beathe K. Tvinnereim.

Tvinnereim not only shoots down Cameron’s claims with factual reality, she also corrects the previously reported pro-EU motivated claims of Norway’s Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide.  While the pro-EU sycophantic UK press – particularly the BBC – uncritically reported Eide’s claims that Norway has no influence over EU laws (most of which originate at global level where Norway represents itself and has direct influence), it transpires they were challenged in Norway itself and were a personal opinion not reflected by the majority of Norwegian people.

For the reality that Cameron, Clegg, Cridland, Rudd and other EUphiles pretend does not exist, so they can keep the UK trapped in the political clutches of the EU, click on the image above to read the whole piece.

The globalists are worried so they pile on yet more EuroFUD

Methinks the Obama administration doth protest too much.

The scandal-ridden government of the Hopey-Changey one has certainly has developed more than just a passing interest in whether or not the UK remains a member of the EU, as per the American tendancy to stick its nose into the domestic matters of other countries.

As expected the US has taken a side to service its own interests and is spreading propaganda accordingly, with the latest flood of FUD from Obama’s officials saying that the UK would probably be excluded from a trade agreement with the US worth billions of pounds a year if we were to leave the EU.  This follows on from January’s intervention by the US Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Philip Gordon, who articulated the US view of the world as having the UK firmly inside the EU prompting this response from this blog.

On the face of it this threat is a serious impediment for the withdrawalist ‘No’ campaign.  It certainly provides a killer blow to the badly thought-out and dangerous argument of some withdrawalists that we should simply repeal the European Communities Act 1972, reject all EU law and abrogate all EU treaties to which we are signatories so the UK can be sovereign – without having negotiated access to the single market for our exports, or established transitional treaties with countries whose trade deals with us are only applicable while we are an EU member state.

But scratching beneath the surface of the American warning, a look at the detail suggests this is just another piece of EuroFUD dished out from the political establishment in a crass effort to frighten the natives away from the notion of withdrawal from the EU and sovereignty for the UK.   At the very least it underscores the absolute need to carefully negotiate trade and economic agreements before departure from the EU, via the provisions of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Breaking away from supranational entities such as the EU undermines the effort of the political elite to bring about a formal system of global governance (not global ‘government’, the two are rather different).  The globalist vision is intended to reduce accountability to voters and centralise power within a small, more easily coordinated bureaucratic ‘elite’ that can serve corporatist interests of the uber wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

For the globalists it is frustrating enough that Iceland is unilaterally ending its EU membership ambitions.  But a more significant economy and trading power such as the UK leaving the EU would actually reverse the direction of travel and potentially stimulate other countries to follow suit, which is why it is being resisted so doggedly by the political elite in Europe and elsewhere who should not have any interest in our domestic matters, but are becoming increasingly exercised by the growing clamour of voters to get out of the EU.

Their only answer is to flood us with FUD in the hope we don’t see the wood for the trees and lose confidence in being a self governing, independent nation state.  Expect plenty more of the same and be ready with the counter arguments presented by those who ‘do detail’ and have deciphered the game and learned how it can be won.

The Swiss paradox

After all that has been written on this blog about the government’s war to seize other people’s money without legal justification, it was nice to see James Higham’s piece about an interesting snippet of Swiss history.

It’s worth remembering that while western European governments – particularly our supposedly ‘business friendly’ morons in Westminster – strive to misappropriate more money in taxes from individuals and businesses, independent Switzerland is being put under huge pressure by the EU to raise taxes to EU levels and adopt EU law.

This is something we’ve covered before.  The aim is to pressure countries outside the EU to make their tax systems as thoroughly harmful to business and individuals as those inside the EU, so no matter where a company or person goes they will have a government helping itself to copious amounts of their money.  It is tax injustice, a blatant effort to financially imprison firms and people.  It is also naked anti-competitiveness writ large; a transnational war by governments on the people they are supposed to serve.

200 years after Swiss troops fought defensive actions against the enemies of a meglomaniac who sought to unite Europe under his rule, the Swiss people are now on the other side of the fence, fighting a defensive action against a meglomaniac entity that is seeking to achieve the same end… worryingly with rather more success.  Many people who believe in the nation state and people power will be hoping the Swiss win this time around.

Harrogate Agenda countering the false EUphile scare stories about UK leaving the EU

Since yesterday evening I’ve been involved in a couple of Twitter exchanges with fellow EUsceptics about withdrawing from the EU. While you might think this would have been a meeting of minds, it was anything but.

Their views respectively were that:

  1. we should just up and leave from the EU and that the remaining member states will trade with us as if nothing happened because we are in the EEA and anyway the WTO won’t let them stop our exports to the continent, and anyway China didn’t need Article 50 to be able to trade with the EU; and
  2. that the Lisbon Treaty is illegal, politicians are traitors and the Parliamentary oath has been broken and we just need the Speaker to declare such to nullify Lisbon, so we don’t need to exit using the EU’s rules which are designed to trap us in the entity forever, and for suggesting we do I’m a EUphile

To describe the discussions with such conspiracy theorising amateur legal experts as a demoralising frustration is an understatement.  But this evening the antidote to my misery has come forth, as Richard explains the way in which the UK can leave the EU without triggering any legal challenge under EU law and without adversely affecting our trade and economic interests – the excuses given by the EUphiles for staying firmly in the EU.  As Richard writes:

… while some of the europhile claims are indeed nonsense, for a variety of technical reasons, our manufacturing output could be hard hit if we failed to negotiate a sound exit agreement.

This is why, of course, it is vital to promote a negotiated exit based on an Article 50 settlement, tied in with membership of the EEA and the nationalisation of all unadopted EU law and secondary treaties. That way, we can affirm that the day after leaving the EU nothing will have changed.

The main effect our departure would (and should) be to allow us to commence the careful process of transition from being an EU member to full independence – and also to work towards more democratic governance in the UK.

Thus, if the europhiles are going to work on the fear factor, we have all the answers. Given a hearing, we can reassure people that there is no down-side to leaving.

In fact the biggest danger to our exit comes from within the UK itself.  Not from those self professed EUsceptics who want the UK out of the EU, but who will not support an ‘Out’ campaign because they claim our membership is illegal and therefore there’s nothing to campaign against.  Rather there is a very real possibility that a prominent figure(s) aligned to or part of the Conservative Party who claims to be Eurosceptic actually support the mythical ‘renegotiation’ option where we stay in the EU and have some powers returned to us.

By talking up an option which does not exist and can never happen (repatriation of key powers while staying in the EU) because of the acquis communautaire, they play to the fear factor whipped up by the EUphiles and would undermine an ‘Out’ campaign.  This is what Richard refers to as a hijacking by a ‘false flag’ campaign and it is a realistic prospect. Observing who is supported by whom will be important. For example, if Open Europe support a ‘Eurosceptic’ be certain he/she is nothing of the sort and wants the UK to stay firmly inside the EU talking about impossible reform, for that is Open Europe’s policy.

The process Richard outlines, based upon detailed examination of the law this country is now subject to and the trading constraints that could be applied in different circumstances, would enable us to leave the EU cleanly then take the time needed as an independent nation to establish new negotiated agreements that enable us to repeal the EU laws we took with us.

This is what an ‘Out’ campaign needs to get across to the public to successfully counter and defeat the arguments the EUphiles will make in an attempt to prevent this country regaining independence.  This is the sensible, reasoned and carefully thought through argument Harrogate Agenda campaigners have developed and are advancing.  This is another reason for everyone who believes in democracy, personal freedom and independent nation states to look at the Harrogate Agenda, support it and promote it in their area.

The Harrogate Agenda offers a rational and balanced grassroots alternative to the untrustworthy political parties and the vested interests of the establishment.  I’m proud to support it and I hope all genuine democrats will too.  You can read some more about the Harrogate Agenda at the excellent Boiling Frog and Witterings from Witney.

Happy 4th

To our American friends everywhere, Happy 4th!

A very Scottish independence referendum

There is a body of opinion in Scotland that wishes for that country to leave the United Kingdom and become a fully independent nation state, embodied by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

With the SNP having beaten Labour to form the devolved government in Holyrood, the notion of a referendum on Scottish independence has ceased to become a moot point and has become a genuine prospect.  As a result the independence issue in Scotland seems to be coming to life.  There is a feeling that as Scots have become used to their SNP devolved administration they are increasingly warming to the idea of full independence – or enhanced devolution at the very least.

Polls last year by YouGov and Ipsos-MORI showed a majority of Scots voters still opposed to independence, although support for independence was shown to be increasing.  In between those two polls, however, Scotland’s Herald newspaper commissioned a poll by TNS-BMRB that saw more respondants in favour of independence than against it.  Momentum is clearly with the pro-independence argument and it seems to be building.

We have long been subjected to the sight of the main three political parties uniting under a ‘consensus’ banner to oppose any idea that doesn’t suit their wishes.  The same thing is happening in respect of the issue of a Scottish independence referendum.  The main three parties want to lead a government of the United Kingdom (setting aside the EU elephant in the room).  The idea of English, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs running a government that does not encompass rule over Scotland doesn’t fit with their delusion of power.  What the Scottish people may want is neither here nor there, which is why Westminster is holding on tight to its legal authority over binding independence referenda by countries that form the United Kingdom.  And therein lies the problem.  That is why we are seeing non Scots holding forth in front of the media saying what the Scots can and can’t do, must and mustn’t do.

Polling data shows the desire for independence is growing, therefore the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are now pressing hard for a referendum in Scotland to be held sooner rather than later.  The aim is clear – force the SNP to hold the referendum now before momentum builds and more people swap to the independence side.  Understandably the SNP wants to wait until it thinks enough Scots will vote for independence.  The resulting bunfight is now in full swing.

The only people who should decide the future of Scotland are the Scots.  The only people who should decide the timing of the referendum in Scotland and the question(s) asked of the Scottish people are the Scots.  The Scots must be freed of the constraints imposed by Westminster and allowed to decide their future for themselves.

We are now witnessing hypocrisy writ large.  There are people who expressed outrage that Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty referendum was subject to heavy interference by the EU, but who are endorsing similar interference by the UK in Scotland’s independence debate.

The Scots must be free from interference to organise themselves, reap their own rewards and make their own mistakes.  The same must hold true for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish.  That is what democracy and self determination entail.

Never mind the irony that they might secure for themselves independent nation status only to surrender it to governance by the anti democratic European Union, or help bring about the EU’s regionalisation agenda.  Never mind that they may have misplaced assumptions about North Sea oil ownership and revenues.  Never mind the complex issues around fiscal and military (to name but two hugely important matters) separation from the UK.  The Scots must decide for themselves – and they must do so on their terms and at a time of their choosing.

Their continuing ignorance and a very interesting conversation

Another day, another story of the UK political class moaning about the consequences of EU membership.  This time the Daily Mail reports the ‘news’ that:

The European Commission yesterday revealed budget demands which would cost UK taxpayers £10billion.

Well, that is what governments do, they create taxes when they want to raise more money.  And the face is the EU is our government, despite the people of this country never being asked to give a mandate for it. This blog picked up on comments preparing the way for the EU’s new taxation approach over six months ago being discussed right out there in plain sight.  But what is telling about this EU taxation story is the Mail’s observation that:

In what Treasury officials viewed as one of the most outrageous power grabs in recent memory, they demanded the right to raise a Europe-wide sales tax.

What a load of utter crap.  It is not a power grab.  The EU has been given the power to do this by the quisling politicians sent to Westminster over the last three decades by the voters of this country.

Of course no EU story is complete without Downing Street spokesmen and women rushing forth with comments indicating the supposed frustration and/or outrage of the Cameron-run coagulation.  But what will cast-iron Dave actually do about it?  The answer to that is the sum total of diddly squat.

If Cameron truly wanted this country to be independent once again and run its own affairs he need only call a binding referendum asking the British people if they wish the UK to remain bound by the anti democratic EU.  But as Cameron made clear in November last year, he is keeping that firmly off the table:

I do not believe in an in-out referendum for many reasons. I think we are better off in the European Union—we have to fight our corner very hard—but I would grant a referendum if there were any proposed transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels.

At least the first part of that sentence was honest. The second part was a lie, as demonstrated so clearly by East Midlands Tory MEP Roger Helmer, who last week in ConservativeHome reminded people that the Conservative-LibDem cobbleition are transferring new powers to the EU faster than the previous Labour administration did. Did any of you spot a passing referendum asking for your permission?

The timing of this is rather amusing as it follows a week after AM had a long chat with a member of the Conservative Party Board.  The board member wanted to know, over two years on, why AM had walked away from the Conservative Party.  They were familiar with the arguments, after all they have heard them time and again as a third of the membership has deserted since Cameron become party leader.

But the board member implored me to understand that Cameron is a man with a plan.  The plan apparently is to pick a fight with the EU next year and use that to justify a referendum he apparently wants, although he will make it appear to his EU friends that he is doing this with all reluctance.  When it was pointed out to the board member that the Cameron led administration has granted more power to the EU in the last year more quickly than Labour managed, AM was told to wait and see.

The notion of Cameron being a strategic genius who will throw off his cloak of Europhilia and reveal his inner democratic nationalist is laughable given the catalogue of pro EU actions to date.  So it seems the ignorance is all pervasive and the effort to make us buy into it is being reinforced at every opportunity.  The gullible constituency where this idea is being swallowed is obvious to all who look – the British media.

UK needs to be independent to deport foreign criminals

There can be no more clear a demonstration that our politicians do not understand who controls this country, or are content to wilfully misrepresent the truth to continue deceiving many British people who simply do not understand where power resides.

The subject is the unsurprising revelation that 102 foreign criminals and illegal immigrants who were set for deportation have been able to stay in the UK by claiming that they had a ‘family life’ here which is covered in Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The quote is carried by the Barclay Brother Beano and was made by Conservative MP, Dominic Raab:

Before the Human Rights Act, no criminal had ever claimed a right to family life to frustrate a deportation order in this country.

It is high time we changed the law, to restore some common sense and retain public confidence in our border controls.

If one wants to change something it is essential to understand the nature of the thing and honestly describe what must be done to change it. We do not have legal control over our borders.  It doesn’t matter if the Human Rights Act is kept or repealed. In order to rectify the situation of failed deportation efforts this country needs to take back control of its borders by having primacy over the law in this land.

The nature of the thing is clear. The UK is not independent, because UK politicians have subsumed it into the European Union without the permission of the electorate.  All the while the UK remains signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and remains part of the EU, the law in England and Wales and that in Scotland and that in Northern Ireland, will never have primacy.

Until the UK is truly independent people will be able to appeal decisions beyond our Supreme Court in London to the European Court of Human Rights. Thus te UK will remain beholden to its real government in Brussels and its real seat of legal authority in Strasbourg.

That is the only answer . We need to take back the power our politicians have given away to European bodies. But Raab does not say that because he either does not understand it (unlikely), or (almost certainly) he knows he would fall foul of the man who controls his Parliamentary career prospects, the Europhile quisling overlord David Cameron.

Thus Raab is just another of Cameron’s useful idiots.  He is either too stupid to be an elected representative because he does not understand who runs this country, or like most of his Parliamentary colleagues he puts his own interests and the tribal demands of his political party before the interests of the people he was elected by – and is handsomely paid to serve – namely the British public.

Increasing the strength of the independent blogs

The importance of independent broadly political blogs cannot be overstated. The time invested and dedication shown by a number of devoted individuals – who strive to break news ignored or missed elsewhere, expose hypocrisy and idiocy and analyse the spin doled out to the public – is incredible. They should be cherished.

Recent months have seen something of an attempt to organise part of the blogosphere. While the content, voices and personalities of the independent bloggers is what will always matter, two initiatives are working to benefit a good number of relatively small or little known blogs. They are Orphans of Liberty and Independent Political Bloggers.

One seasoned blogger I have spoken with has correctly identified that: ‘the essence of blogging is the individuality… people will do it for their own diverse reasons and the people who are any good will not be marshalled. Readers go for the person.  That being so, the greatest value of Orphans of Liberty and Independent Political Bloggers is that they provide a bigger stage for independent bloggers, the opportunity for them to be supportive of each other and offer encouragement and referrals by cross linking to each other.

It is the willingness to link to each other, helping to drive traffic to each others’ content and enhancing search results in engines such as Google, that is key to increasing audience share.

Mutual cooperation is the only way to build a greater profile as independent bloggers cannot rely on the likes of the so called uberbloggers or hacks in the mainstream media to provide credit where it’s due for good or informative content or add links to excellent content. Richard North at Independent Political Bloggers hits the nail on the head:

Inexplicably, though, the independents often help the corporates out, linking freely to their parasitic clogs – who will never reciprocate – and ignoring their fellow independents. Thus does some fine writing in the independent blogosphere struggle for an audience, while the clogs prosper.

In what is a battle for survival, therefore, independents can help each other out, by favouring other independents in their links, and being extremely sparing in their links to the clogs, the claque and other parasites. Basically, the convention of reciprocation should be a guide, leaving the parasites to feed their own.

While it is easy to talk about this issue, all independent blogs have it within their gift to do something tangible help each other.  For my part that effort starts this weekend.

I will be updating my blogroll to ensure it only contains good independents and those who do actually link to ‘Division 2′ blogs (done). I will also make an effort at least twice per week (hopefully more) to link to good content on blogs I’ve rarely or never linked to before to bring to your attention informative or entertaining content that is worth reading. As someone with posting rights to both multi-author blogs I will also make an effort to at least cross post to them once per week. Hopefully other independent blogs will do something similar.

It isn’t a new idea, many have done this before. But hopefully it will become part of a more concerted effort by a good number of independent bloggers to make a lasting difference and prevent themselves being subsumed by the claque and the clogs which, in order to stay in with the movers and shakers, rarely deviate from the ‘approved’ narrative.

EU plan for UK-French military merger inches closer

In September 2010 this blog explained to readers how plans for a Royal Navy aircraft carrier share with French Navy is nothing more than an element of a much bigger Tory idea dating back 14 years. We posed a question:

But what will be Cameron’s excuse when the deeply unpopular plan for the Royal Navy and French Navy to share aircraft carriers and integrate operations is confirmed?  After all, as EU Referendum reminds us, this is nothing more than the realisation of a long standing European military cooperation agreement signed by the Conservatives under John Major in 1996.

The Barclay Brother Beano, for reasons passing understanding, is still the Tories’ rag of choice. And it is there that the latest instalment in the drip feed of confirmation has been positioned…

(Note the date of the piece – 6 June – a typo error, or carefully timed release to fit with an announcement that has gone pear shaped?)

It has long been the EU’s plan for the UK and France to share military hardware in this way.  The article is a measure of the contempt in which the political class treats us, and an underlining of the ignorance/complicity of a fawning media that props up this worthless parasites.

What we are seeing is the end game, the execution of a long standing plan to bring about interdependence between the UK and French armed forces, which means Britain’s capability to undertake unilateral military operations will no longer exist.  We can only act militarily with the permission and active cooperation of others. The next stage will be the gradual assimilation of other elements of armed forces from other EU member states, operating under the blue banner and gold stars of the EU, giving Brussels its dream of a military capability under a unified command structure taking orders from the unelected and unaccountable mandarins who rule over us.

All this has been planned and delivered, hidden in plain sight of the electorate and the media, yet even now many in the media are still unable or unwilling to connect the dots and explain to our population what our political class has done. They are sickening quislings to a man and a woman.


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