Trade in food with the EU after Brexit

This article, a personal opinion, was written for the agricultural press.

It has been suggested that independence campaigners like me should keep quiet about the possible problems of Brexit so as not to be accused of “Project Fear” . But a realistic appreciation of the known consequences of leaving the EU under present government policy is essential for businesses.

The more prudent amongst them are already taking precautions against the possibility of things going wrong .  That is surely to the nation’s good. So far the government has neglected its duty of keeping businesses informed . So here is the fruit of some light research and of experience in the animal feed  industry.

At present the considerable volume of British food exports to the EU is not subject to inspection at the border because the UK authorities which enforce food standards are monitored by the EU.

Once we become a “third country” outside the EU and  EEA, that will no longer apply and food exports to the internal market will be subject to the same controls at the border as non EU goods, presently arriving in this country – which are described in this HM Revenue & Customs guidance notice.  There are presently no adequate facilities or preparations like staff training to deal with the work load on either side of the Channel.

The volume of EU food exports to the UK is considerably larger. In event of a no deal Brexit, It is very likely that HMRC would simply have to let everything through without controls or face the certainty of empty shelves in the supermarkets. That would open the possibility of considerable public health risks as unscrupulous traders would take the opportunity to offload sub standard goods. If continued as more than a short temporary expedient, it would also be in breach of the UK’s obligations under WTO rules .

When we become a third country, independent from the EU and outside the European Economic area, firms which were previously able to deliver trailer loads of perishable food products in both directions across the channel without inspections and controls will be subject to the regulations listed here and the delays which they will impose – unless that, as yet undisclosed  “deep and special” partnership, advocated  by Mrs May emerges from the realm of her secret imagination to the reality of common day in a workable form.

 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/port-health-authorities-monitoring-of-food-imports

THE STRANGE ACQUIESCENCE OF TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

At some point  reality will surely come crashing in from concerned businesses and must eventually have some effect on the parliamentary and public discourse. But it has been an awfully long time coming. The way in which trade associations work may have something to do with it.

Soon after Mrs May’s Lancaster House speech (Jan 2017) I started to approach various business groups to point out the likely effects of Third Country status and to see if we could create some publicity to alert people – principally business and government-  to the foreseeable consequences. The business areas I picked were food and animal feed products, aviation and pharmaceuticals. I did not get very far – even with my old trade association ( grain, seed, feed,food, etc) . They did not want to put their heads over the parapet and become ” political” . I had forgotten how the staff of such associations actually work. They have an interest and locus standi of their own which is not generally recognised. They do work hard to represent their members to government but that is only half of it. They need to be able to demonstrate their good connections with government to convince the members of their usefulness.

To do that they have to stay well-in with government, so not cause any political problems. Their usefulness to government is as a channel of communication to their members. In this, they are almost part of the para-state.

During all the food health scares – salmonella, listeria, BSE etc, my trade association became an advocate (almost an unofficial enforcer) of new regulations which were very onerous for smaller firms but welcomed by larger ones as raising the barriers to competition.

So whilst our then Director General (a former senior civil servant but a decent enough bloke) listened to me, I could get no change of policy. The standing of our trade association with government depended on helpful, demonstrable cooperation with government policy and that was more important than the smaller member firms.

I was not involved with poultry food but heard this after the event from people who were (circa 1988 onwards) . With the salmonella scare, so ably stoked up by Edwina Currie, the government introduced regulatory proposals which would have made egg production extremely difficult and expensive ( without being able to impose similar conditions on eggs imported from the EU). The National Farmers’ Union was so keen on cooperating with the government that it was prepared  to accept the lot. So the egg producers had to get together their own representative group and were able to bring sufficient scientific and technical evidence to bear to get the worst aspects of the proposals amended. As a consultant they had a public health expert whose PhD was in the epidemiology of salmonella – a certain Dr Richard North.

The interesting thing to me was that the apparatchiks of the NFU were quite prepared to sacrifice the interests of their egg producing members to stay well-in with officialdom.

A similar mindset, I think, probably prevailed with my old trade association in early 2017 – plus inertia. They would doubtless have had assurances from their highly placed contacts in DEFRA that everything was under control, ” nothing was settled until everything is settled” etc  and that “everything will be all right on the night”. A degree of secrecy was needed on the government’s negotiating position “so as not to tie our hands” etc etc. In any event, the whole thing was then two years away and there were more pressing matters to deal with… Now that great day is only ten months away and coming rapidly closer …..  Mrs May can put it off for a while with an “implementation period” but, as Rabbie Burns put it

 ” It’s coming yet for a’that “.

A letter to the Archbishop

At a church conference in Novi Sad, Serbia, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made the following extraordinary statement:-

The EU has been the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It has brought peace, prosperity, compassion for the poor and weak, purpose for the aspirational and hope  for all its people.”
We felt that His Grace was in need of more accurate information, so have sent him the following letter:-
The two articles attached with the letter were
and

Brexit – the current state of play

Edward Spalton gave this review of the Brexit situation at CIB’s annual rally on 14th April 2018. In view of the need for a simple summary of the progress (or lack of it) regarding Brexit, it is may be of benefit for readers to study his assessment of the present state of play.

2017 was an intensely frustrating year for independence campaigners. Looking back at my last annual report, it is remarkable how little has really progressed. Yet we are now less than a year away from Brexit on 29th March 2019 when, as it says in Article 50, clause 3, of the Lisbon Treaty, “The treaties shall cease to apply…unless the European Council in agreement with the member state concerned unanimously decides to extend this period”.

This is one part of the “cliff edge” to which Mrs. May occasionally refers. Much of the law on which we rely for our protection now comes from our 46 year sojourn in the EU. We would be in a legal vacuum at home, if the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill were not enacted by Brexit day to repatriate EU law to the British statute book. For instance, there would be no laws at all protecting food safety.

It is nauseous hypocrisy that Europhiles in Parliament, who never raised the least objection to the outsourcing of huge swathes of our law to the foreign power in Brussels, have tried to hinder the Bill’s passage. They suddenly discovered a devotion to the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty. The Bill, they claim, gives too much power to the government – “Henry VIII powers”- they say. Yet Parliament can sack the government, something it could never do with the European Commission – or with Henry VIII for that matter!

One other great aspect of the “cliff edge” is the interface between ourselves and the EU countries with which we have very close relations on which many people’s livelihoods depend. Mrs. May gave notice that the UK would become an independent country outside the EU and European Economic Area. So all sorts of things just cease to exist, if there is no new agreement with the EU in place by Brexit day. For instance, your driving licence will no longer be valid for EU countries. Neither, of course, will EU driving licenses be valid here – unless it has been specifically agreed, along with thousands of other matters great and small – and there is less than a year to do all this.

After Mrs. May made this intention known in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017, the EU pointed out that all its regulations for dealing with imports from foreign countries outside the EU would apply to British goods after Brexit, if no other agreement was in place. The British government knows exactly what these regulations are because Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs plus the Port Health Officers and Local Authorities apply these same rules already to goods arriving here from countries outside the EU. The port of Southampton deals with 1,300,000 containers per year. So the government has full information about all the procedures.

There is no excuse for delay in informing export businesses of the rules which they will face – particularly the need for firms to appoint an EU-based representative to take responsibility to the authorities for the compliance of goods with EU health and technical standards, a far more onerous business than an easily computed tariff.

The EU itself has been issuing “Notices to Stakeholders”, setting out the requirements sector by sector . But from Her Majesty’s Government to British exporters, there has been no advice at all.

It seems that the government has been deliberately avoiding consultations with business. Theresa May set up a business advisory council which, at the time of writing, has not met since October 2017. Chris Brannigan, the key Downing Street official responsible for communicating government policy to business, left in June after the general election and has not been replaced. It seems that nobody wants the job. (Edward Malnick, Whitehall Editor, Sunday Telegraph 4 March). In spite of the need to have a confident and well-informed business community, there is a black hole at the centre of government communication. It is as if they are frightened to tell business the likely outcomes of their policy – insofar as any coherent policy yet actually exists. It ought to be known in considerable detail 21 months after the referendum.

Last year I wrote “If we leave the EU without an agreement, British goods will be treated as “third country” origin, That is, from a country outside the EU which is what we want to be! The EU will not be “punishing” us by treating us as an independent country”. The EU has been very clear all along that it would maintain the integrity of its common external border, one of its main institutions. Even countries with “deep and special” free trade agreements, like South Korea and Canada, accept that. There are ways of making compliance less onerous and more “frictionless”, such as electronic pre-declarations for customs and “trusted trader” schemes. The government has conspicuously failed to come up with specific, detailed workable suggestions and has so far neither recruited staff for training nor placed orders for necessary infrastructure. So the EU has developed its own policies which are very unpalatable and in parts completely unacceptable, especially with regard to the Irish border and the so-called “implementation” period after March 29th 2019.

Unfortunately British ministers spent most of 2017 deluding themselves, their more credulous colleagues, supporters and eurosceptic media that we could “have our cake and eat it”. That is, “Britannia would waive the rules” – we could leave the EU, make our own and expect the EU to treat our products as if we were still EU members – a piece of monumental ignorance and arrogance., slightly modified in tone by Mrs May in her speech from Florence in the Autumn and by her more recent Mansion House speech which has not really clarified very much else at all.

In researching these matters, I hunt for various sources of information to get as good an all-round picture as possible. The following short article from Private Eye summarised things so well that I am grateful to the editor for permission to publish it. Whilst it is not comforting reading, it is necessary information for mature campaigners to know.

DExEU DESPATCHES.

The Department for Exiting the EU, aka DExEU, has never been a happy place. David Davis’s fiefdom took several months to find a formal home in Whitehall. It was able to attract hundreds of bright young things, keen to serve their country in its hour of need in negotiating Brexit. But the sheen soon wore off. Officials privately concede that their ministers are being comprehensively outgunned by Michel Barnier’s European Commission team.

The place also “leaks like a sieve from top to bottom” says one former official.

“Olly Robbins (Theresa May’s Brexit adviser) is basically being left in a room to negotiate without a mandate” says another.

Eighteen months after its creation, 3 per cent of officials are leaving DExEU each month and 44 per cent are likely to leave in the next year, says the Institute for Government.

Even though several thousand officials have been reshuffled across Whitehall to support the creation of DExEU and Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade, the 600 strong DExEU still has 143 vacancies 18 months after it opened its doors. Many of its staff are on short term contracts, either loaned from other departments or from outside the civil service.

If many DExEU staff are on the Whitehall equivalent of “zero hours” contracts, Davis’s team has at least been flashing the cash at management consultants. Deloitte helped set up DExEU in Summer 2016 and others who have benefited from its largesse include Boston Consulting Group, Accenture, KPMG and McKinsey.

McKinsey was paid £1.5 million last September to lead DExEU’s “Brexit Planning”, a move that achieved little other than see McKinsey’s executives pocket inflated salaries while rubbing shoulders with lowly civil servants, safe in the knowledge that they will return to the private sector when all the Article 50 unpleasantness is over.

Needless to say that had nothing to do with Tom Shinner, the department’s director of policy and delivery coordination whose job is to lead “DEXEU’s work to coordinate the domestic policy implications of Brexit across government departments, to seize the opportunities and ensure the smooth process of exit……….”

So it is not very surprising that the EU is able to outrun them by just standing still.

Having failed (if it was ever intended) to have a workable Brexit up and running by March 2019, it is not surprising that Mrs. May is a desperate supplicant to the EU for extra time to get her house in order after all the wasted opportunities of the previous year – not least two months taking her eye off the ball to fight an unnecessary election after Article 50 notice had already been served and the clock was ticking remorselessly down to Brexit day.

Naturally the EU is demanding very severe terms which will place the UK in the position of a vassal state with no rights and Parliament not actually recognised as a real Parliament in the eyes of the EU. Every EU law will apply, including any new ones they choose to spring during this period of “implementation”. Ominously our own government has asked to be able to extend it beyond the originally intended 21 months.

Looking back on our labours since our last AGM, I cannot report much significant progress on three of the key issues which we identified then. Although the EU itself may unwittingly have come to our aid on one of them!

A Truly Independent British Fisheries Policy.

Edward Heath’s surrender of our fisheries to EU plunder as a “common resource” may well be continued. Our territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone could easily be used as a bargaining counter. Our friends in Fishing for Leave point out that the proposed “implementation” period would imply the continuance of EU fishing rights and of the iniquitous quota system. Ominously in her Mansion House speech,

Mrs May referred to “shared stocks” of fish – in our own waters! That is rather like catching the burglar red-handed with the family silver and conceding he has a right to share it! The EU has since indicated that it intends to do a little “cherry picking” of its own, demanding the continuance of rights for EU vessels equivalent to the Common Fisheries Policy as part of its price for a free trade deal.

The European Arrest Warrant, Europol and the European Gendarmerie

On the presently suggested terms, these institutions will remain in existence with full powers throughout the “implementation” period. Prominent members of the government are known to favour these arrangements. One Conservative minister was on record as welcoming the possibility of deploying these foreign men at arms on our streets. So far, we have not heard that he has changed his mind! However, the EU has indicated that, as a non member, we may not be allowed to take part in these institutions . So the EU rules may actually protect us from Mrs. May’s fondness for subjection to them, developed during her time as Home Secretary.

The European Defence Agency and European Defence Integration

Following the referendum, the government signed up to a whole swathe of EU initiatives, bringing defence forces closer together. Parliament was not awake to the danger. The government did not sign up to the permanent structure (PESCO) but has gone along with a great deal which has the potential to tie our hands in the procurement of armaments for our own forces.

We continue to campaign on these issues and have prepared an informative booklet for MPs and others. This includes detailed information and suggestions for avoiding the trap of the vassal status of the presently proposed vassal status of the implementation period.

It will be available on the website as a PDF.* A number of copies will be available for sale to members .

Edward Spalton – Chairman

* Brexit Reset In pamphlets section of publications.

 31st May 2018 – Supplementary Note.

I can well understand the exasperation felt concerning the lack of progress. Some have suggested that “No deal is better than a bad deal”. If that turns out to be the case on 29 March next year, then the government has followed Mr. Cameron’s precedent of “no Plan B” and Britain and British business are totally unprepared. The Dutch appear to be further forward than us, having begun the training of extra customs staff and allocation of space for new port facilities. Trading with post Brexit Britain, they say, will be procedurally the same as trading with Morocco.

Some companies are already making their own precautionary arrangements. Rolls Royce, for instance, is preparing to move its regulatory compliance operation to mainland EU. EasyJet has moved its headquarters to mainland EU and has plans to change its Articles of Association so that a majority of its shareholders must be EU nationals. This will enable it to keep flying in the “No Deal” situation.

If there is no agreement, Rolls Royce aero engines would have no valid safety certification and cease to be saleable. By leaving the EU and EEA, the government also leaves the European aviation safety agency EASA which produces the safety certification. There is no present provision for non EU countries to belong to EASA. The British Civil Aviation Authority has said that it would take some five to ten years to build its operation up to the required global scale and standard to replace it. There are other similar EU bodies for different industries where the government is trying to get back in on some sort of associate status. Whilst Britain negotiated opt-outs whilst an EU member, it is now trying to negotiate various opt-ins as an independent country. That is somewhat ironic!

When Britain joined the EEC in 1973, our family firm had already received over a year of thorough briefing from the government and so were prepared. We had some problems but could nonetheless get on with making our living from day one. Businesses have to pay their bills and wages every week so a smooth transition is essential. Once businesses close they very rarely reopen. I describe the experience of joining the EEC in the series “The Miller’s Tale” at the end of Episode 2 and all of Episode 3. To give the sort of guidance we then received, the government had to know exactly what it was doing. That does not appear to be the case today.

The origins of the EU – a new booklet by our Chairman

Because of my work, it was the European Common Agricultural Policy which puzzled me from 1972 onwards. The whole thing was so utterly strange in comparison to the common sense system we had before. It was not until 2002 when I received a copy of “European Economic Community”, published in Berlin in 1942, that I really grasped the ideological framework behind it. I translated the introduction and lead papers which form part of this pamphlet.

In 2017 I recorded an interview with Lord Walsingham, who was a Third Secretary in the Foreign Office of 1950 when Britain stayed out of the European project. He revealed that British Intelligence then knew of the hostile intent towards Britain of former fascists and Nazis in the post war French & German governments – their plan of subsidising each other’s heavy industries when in competition with Britain, to weaken our defence capability and assure their eventual ascendancy over the continent of Europe.

Like Lord Walsingham, the perspective of years leads me to the view that today’s EU is not “all a Nazi plot” but that it was heavily influenced from its beginnings  by such authoritarian ideas and that has contributed to  the alien ethos with which British people have never really been at home.

On a recent visit to Greece, I found that all sorts of people blamed Berlin rather than Brussels for the terrible austerity which EU policy has forced upon them. Back home, I wrote about  this to a Greek colleague, a business executive, pointing out the ideas of the German government of 1942 about management of European currencies in the post war era. The exchange rate of the euro gives Germany the export advantage of a currency of relatively low value, compared with  Germany’s highly capitalised, productive economy. For Greece and other “Club Med” countries with smaller, less developed resources, the euro exchange rate is far too high for them to be able to export their way out of their predicament.

My Greek friend replied “It is clear now to many Greeks and Europeans that Germany is responsible for the economic plunder of Greece. What happened to Greece was not an accident but a carefully made plan on the part of the always patient, ruthless and very scholastic Germans. It seems that they learned well their lessons from the two previous World Wars. This time Germany managed to conquer Europe without firing a single shot. Unfortunately Greece now (as it was then too) is suffering more casualties than any other European country….”

That is how things are seen in Greece today.

Report from Greece: Revolution postponed

The first thing which you notice about the Greeks is their kindness and consideration to visitors. From the moment we were met at the airport, Ellen and I were well looked after. We had the sort of tour of Athens which is not available to the tourist, accompanied by the sort of information which is disregarded by the mainstream media.

Ours was a modest sort of hotel, not far from Syntagma Square where the rally was to be held and it was literally between two worlds. The hotel was spick and span: on one side was a handsome square with the great Church of St Constantine- imposing without and glorious within- as well as other handsome  private and public buildings and shops.

On the other side were filthy streets with people delving into dustbins for anything edible or of possible value. This was an area of high illegal immigration and, whilst it might be easy for a wealthy Western liberal to condemn the Greeks for a lack of official compassion, one has to remember how greatly the Greeks too have been pauperised by the EU.

Those who attended our 2017 CIB rally in London will remember Ambassador Chrysanthopoulos telling us that his pension had been cut from 3,500 euros per month to 1,200 – and he is one of the fortunate! A leading lawyer told me that his wife, a civil servant of 18 years’ service with two doctorates, now receives a salary of around 800 euros a month – and she too, is fortunate. A senior insurance manager told me how he was unemployed for three years. State benefits and health service entitlement cease after one year. He now considers himself lucky to be working for the same salary which his secretary had ten years ago. Below the senior careerists of the international set, these are people who recognise that they are fortunate in comparison with very, very many of their fellow countrymen and women.

So we did not quite know what to expect, as we made our way to Syntagma ( Constitution) Square in front of the parliament building for the demonstration.

There was a stage and loud recorded music of folk songs with which those assembling joined. In between, an impressively energetic lady moved around with a microphone, inviting impromptu speeches,  all of which were heartfelt and some clearly born of deepest despair but tinged with stern defiance.  Then there was a live folk group and a much-appreciated performance of Greek dance by agile young men.

The crowd was slow in assembling and not in the hoped-for  numbers. Not only had a media blackout been imposed earlier but the mainstream media was warning people to stay away because of possible trouble with a rival anarchist rally nearby. There was a fairly low-key police presence but I noticed several police vehicles around the square about the size of a regular bus, which probably contained reinforcements if needed.

When it came to the platform speeches, I could not follow much – my Greek only being adequate to ask the way or order a meal. However, the priest who spoke before me commenced with “Christos anesti” (Christ is risen) to which the audience responded. Several times in his speech he referred to “Orthodoxia” (Orthodoxy) and the Gospel (Evangelion).

Then it was my turn with the ever-vivacious Georgia Bitakou as interpreter. She was magnificent and I enjoyed double applause for many of the points I made – firstly from the members of the audience who understood English and then from those who followed her translation. That was quite a bonus!

When I came to finish, using quotations from the poetry of Byron, as Jim Reynolds did a while ago, she put heart and soul into it. I could not help reflecting that she was just the sort of lady who inspired Byron and would defend any barricade to the last.

Then coincidence reached out with a long arm. Manu Bennett, a Maori from New Zealand, was inspired to make his speech by the seven hundred of his kinsmen who lie buried in Crete, attempting to defend that Greek Island against the aggression of fascism. He was joined on the platform by an impressive gentleman in traditional Cretan dress which would be recognised by anybody who watched the film of the capture of the German General Kreipe.

Our family business used to buy large quantities of New Zealand milk powder before that was forbidden by the European Common Agricultural Policy. That betrayal of our friends made me angry in 1972 as it still makes me angry now.

—————————————————————————————————-

Here are the words of the speech which was so well received:-

IT IS A GREAT HONOUR to be invited to speak here to our Greek friends who are fighting the same battle as ourselves to recover self government and independence for our countries. IT IS A PLEASURE to meet the tough, undaunted people who so cheerfully continue the fight in the face of the appalling damage which the institutions of the EU and the International Monetary Fund have inflicted on the Greek people – including the deaths of hundreds of thousands whose lives have been sacrificed on the altar of austerity, dead from malnutrition, lack of heating in winter and the plundering of resources from their hospitals and health service.

This process of plunder, including the forced sale of public assets and utilities, is portrayed as somehow helping Greece out – each additional tranche of unrepayable debt as somehow helping the Greek people, when all it represents is a transfer of liabilities from banks to taxpayers – privatising any profits and socialising the losses.

At the beginning, many people in Britain and Greece believed that the EU was a benign project, dedicated to peace and economic development – but it always was about power – power to in the hands of very few untouchable people. As early as 1947, A British politician, Peter Thorneycroft, wrote in Design for Europe “No government dependent on a democratic vote could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifice any adequate plan must involve. The British people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences”. Thorneycroft later became Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) and Chairman of the Conservative party. What an arrogant insult to a people who had just fought a world war to defend their democratic self-government – to lead them deceitfully into a new form of definitely undemocratic government, of which they were to be kept in ignorance.

In 1962 the leader of the Labour party, Hugh Gaitskell, warned that joining the European Economic Community would be for us “The end of a thousand years of history” – the time over which our constitution and self-government evolved. Greek democracy has a longer history but the modern independence, achieved in 1821, is, for the time being, extinguished. But not forever! If I judge your fighting spirit right, the fire of freedom will blaze again and not be long in coming!

General De Gaulle saw the reality of the European project. In 1965 he said “As for the Commission, it deserves to disappear. I want no more of Hallstein (the President)….I want no more to do with them…I want no more that the French government should have to do business with these types…. They are all enemies. They have been put there by our enemies”.

In 1990, Mrs Thatcher put it this way. “Mr Delors (President of the Commission) said ….that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body…He wanted the Commission to be the Executive and the Council of Ministers to be the Senate …. No! No! No!” which reminds me of the response of the Greek people to Mussolini which was also “No” and you celebrate the event to this day as a national holiday.

Today’s Mussolinis are less flamboyant and more subtle – people like Giuliano Amato, one-time Italian Prime Minister and Vice president of the European Constitutional Convention. He was interviewed by Barbara Spinelli who reported in La Stampa of 13 July 2000 “He said that sovereignty lost on a national level does not pass to any new individual. It is entrusted to a faceless entity… eventually the EU. The EU is the vanguard of this changing world… The new entity is faceless and those in command can neither be identified nor elected. As a matter of fact the metamorphosis is already here. All we need are a few corrections here and there along with a great deal of cunning”.

There is nothing much we can do to the successors of Jacques Delors and Giuliano Amato. They are largely faceless and immune. But they and those like them could never have the least power over us, if it had not first been surrendered by our own countrymen, politicians in positions of trust, bound by the most sacred commitment to uphold the integrity and sovereignty of the state. Those are the people who are to blame – regardless of party. Mark them well and make sure they never, ever hold office again!

We are seeing them now in Britain, trying to overturn the verdict of the people in the referendum because they have given their first loyalty to a foreign power, the European Union. Yet they look and speak like our fellow countrymen. One of the most odious things about this is that many of them claim to be acting out of concern for the powers and tradition of our parliament – something which never troubled them in the least when they were handing massive power to the EU.

General De Gaulle and Mrs. Thatcher were both betrayed by their own colleagues. Two of the strongest political personalities in Europe slowed down the European project for a while but could not stop it. Yet I am sure that our united peoples can do it, if we keep our wits about us. That and a sense of trust, of duty to our respective countries, inherited from one generation and handed down to the next in a lively tradition. We can learn from each other’s experiences.

So we also support the Greek people in their battle to secure the territorial integrity of their state in its rich regional diversity and cultural Hellenic unity. We look with concern on the political instability of this region, adversely affect by Western operations which have succeeded only in driving the movement of millions of migrants with unassimilable, unappeasable alien ideology through Greece and into Europe. This process of mass migration is deliberately supported and approved by the EU as a means of breaking up and destroying cohesive peoples and nations.

Our Secretary Jim Reynolds visited here a few years ago, initiating and strengthening our friendship and co-operation. I can do no better than he, in ending with some verses of Lord Byron:-

 

The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung.

Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

The mountains look on Marathon –

And Marathon looks on the sea,

And musing there an hour alone,

I dreamed that Greece might still be free;

For standing on the Persians’ grave,

I could not deem myself a slave.

 

A message of support to our Greek friends

A demonstration is to be organised in Athens on 13th May to protest against EU-imposed austerity. Among the organisers is former Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, who spoke at last year’s CIB rally. CIB has sent the following message of encouragement:-

The Campaign for an Independent Britain salutes the struggle of the Greek people to be free of the oppression which they suffer at the hands of the European Union.

As democrats and patriots from all parties and none, we join in supporting the demonstration organised by “DIEXODUS” on 13th May to proclaim and reclaim the sovereignty, constitutionality and democracy which is the birthright of the Greek people.

Back in 1962, Hugh Gaitskell the leader of the British Labour party, warned that joining what was then the European Economic Community would be for Britain “the end of a thousand years of history” – the time over which our constitution and self-government had evolved. Democracy in Greece has a far longer history than that but the modern independence achieved in 1821 is now extinguished for a time. The fire of freedom will blaze again!

As early as 1965 General De Gaulle saw the reality of the European project. He said “As for the Commission, it deserves to disappear. I want no more of Hallstein (the President) ….I want no more to do with them …I want no more that the French government should have to do business with these types. The problem is this mafia of supranationalists, whether commissioners, deputies or bureaucrats. They are all enemies. They have been put there by our enemies”.

Neither General De Gaulle nor Mrs Thatcher, two of the strongest political personalities of Europe, could get rid of the EU. They were defeated by the treachery of their own political colleagues. But the people can defeat it! They did in Britain although we are still having trouble with politicians who seek to defy the people. The politicians have to be firmly reminded that they are privileged to be the servants of the people and are not the masters. We are sure that the Greek people will be able to teach them the same lesson.

We also support the Greek people in their battle to secure the territorial integrity of their state in its rich regional diversity and cultural Hellenic unity.

Before she was betrayed by her own colleagues, Mrs Thatcher replied to the demands of the EU No! No! No! The people of Greece did the same to the demands of Mussolini.

So we support the Greek people now, bidding stern defiance to the tyrants of today.

With the profound respect and goodwill of your British friends.

Edward Spalton

Chairman

2 May 2018

Photo by Images George Rex