No such thing as an EU “Grant”

A letter from our Chairman to the Sunday Telegraph

Sir,

Sometimes very clever people can be remarkably stupid.

Lord Darzi  (3 April) writes that he fears losing funding  from the EU for health-related research. A while ago Professor Stephen Hawking and friends did the same with regard to wider scientific research.

Do these learned gentlemen not realise that what they are receiving is a very small refund on the massive amount the British taxpayer pays to the EU political project?

In other words, we get a little of our own money back after it has been top-sliced for massively non-beneficial projects, EU overheads and corruption, by a Commission which has not been able to present a clean set of books for twenty years.

On 20th  March, Christopher Booker reported on the launch of The Market Solution (Flexcit) plan for leaving the EU whilst retaining access to the single market. The full version of the plan runs to over 420 pages and includes provision for continued co-operation with EU countries in mutually beneficial scientific and cultural projects. Other non-EU countries participate in these projects. There is no reason why an independent Britain should not do so.

Yours faithfully

Edward Spalton

The EU – very risky to your wellbeing and pocket

The EU – a club of former countries that encourages irresponsible behaviour and mutualises the resulting problems, making them worse

In the current ‘debate’ (or, perhaps better, the current game of fear messaging and deceit) about our membership of the European Union, (EU), the subject of risk management is largely ignored.  Yet this somewhat arcane subject  – very mysterious to politicians – is critical to understanding what we are letting ourselves in for.   Its inclusion completely changes the actual or residual risks we face.  Its omission by Mr Cameron and many other senior politicians is completely irresponsible. We could pay a very heavy price in future if we opt for the most risky option in the mistaken belief that it is the safest.

From prehistoric times, even our most intellectually challenged Homo Sapiens ancestors quickly learnt that life is full of risks.  Hunting and progress needed successful management of these risks, whether it was avoiding being trampled by woolly mammoths, getting hurt by chipping flints or being burnt when cooking over an open fire.  If our early ancestors had been ruled by someone like Mr Cameron, his Project Fear would have led to our early extinction because of dire warnings about messing with fire or the dangers of leaving our prehistoric EU cave.

Today, any business activity or enterprise, investment, not to mention scientific experimentation and medical progress, will inevitably involve both risk taking and successful risk management if it is to achieve results. Government is no exception; Some policies come with a possible downside in the shape of unwanted or undesirable consequences. If there is a strong likelihood of this happening, risk management is necessary to mitigate these risks and avoid mistakes becoming disasters.

Of course, government incompetence, malevolence and greed is in itself a risk which needs to be managed. It isn’t easy to do this.  Parliamentary democracy is a step in the right direction, as in theory, our MP goes to Westminster to act on our behalf and use his or her brain to do the best for us and protect our interests. The nation state also acts as a tool of risk management since the more diverse a population in culture, heritage and history the more difficult it is to avoid serious risks of downsides to some. In this country we are very privileged that,  over centuries, laws, checks and balances have evolved, somewhat serendipitously, to provide a decent level of risk control while at the same time reining in the government and the state.

In the real world (as opposed to the bubble which our ruling élite inhabit), we are actually world leaders in risk management. We have also pioneered many techniques for managing risks and have legal frameworks where responsibilities and accountability for so doing (i.e., a duty of care) are clear.  Policy risk management at national level is inherently easier than at EU level, hence residual risks can be made much smaller than the initial, apparent, risks.  The future outside the EU, should therefore hold few fears because we can manage risks as and when they occur.

The EU, by comparison, is a basket case for risk management. It is not just that its leaders ignore risk management;  the organisational structure of the EU makes the task inherently more difficult and the consequences of failure more severe.  As we will consider in more detail shortly, one-size-fits-all policies devised by remote unaccountable bureaucrats and enforced by judges (all ideologically driven), are a recipe for risk, mistakes and floundering about afterwards making the damage worse. This pattern is repeated time and again.

One of the more subtle consequences is that it encourages irresponsible behaviour by the unaccountable ruling élite, be they politicians, bureaucrats, big business, vested interests, special interest groups or corrupt individuals.  Rather than act in the best interests of ordinary people (the common good), they use the EU as a means to an end, to avoid responsibility, to exploit the people while following their own, self-interested agendas.

Commonly known as corporatism, it amounts to government by the few for the few and the re-distribution of existing wealth from the many to them.  From a risk management perspective, giving carte blanche to the EU’s ruling élite poses great risks to the wellbeing and prosperity of the many.  The Euro, EU energy policies and pricing, open borders and bureaucratic regulation as pursued by the EU have all had disastrous consequences.

Continuing EU membership is a systemic high risk proposition that can only get worse as its leaders recklessly pursue their goal of creating a superstate while at the same time increasingly expanding their unaccountable control of our daily lives.  Sadly, the damage spreads far and wide because of the contagion factor. A local issue which may crop up in one member state – or even one part of one member state – cannot be dealt with locally.

This is quite deliberate policy and results in us all being affected by events taking place far away of no direct relevance to us. One example of this is the Landfill Directive, which addressed the problems faced by Denmark and Holland, two fairly small, flat countries which had run out of space to bury rubbish. Our quarrying industry creates more than enough holes for this country to deal with our garbage, but EU legislation has forced us increasingly in the direction of smelly, air-polluting incinerators..

Sadly, all that Mr Cameron is doing through Project Fear is showing everyone that he knows very little about risk management and consequently is unfit to govern anyone or anything. This has been amply demonstrated by the devastation of the Steel Industry.

If we are to build a prosperous future for the UK, we need to be able both to take risks (business is always inherently risky) and to manage risks successfully. Mr Cameron’s ignorance is potentially very damaging to our future prospects. We could end up with the worst of all worlds, subject to a reckless EU while frightened to build a confident, prosperous and secure future for our country.

Photo by Oregon State University

The ineptitude and dishonesty of BSE

Your petition signature could be worth £3,000 in benefits

Protect Workers’ rights in the UK 

So says a petition forwarded to us by a supporter. You can view it on this link, but if you do, take care – don’t  press the wrong button and sign it accidentally! The petition site Care2 is not to be blamed; it is a forum for people to start petitions about anything they like. The culprit is the petitioner, our friend Britain Stronger in Europe.

Anyway, for the benefit of anyone who does not want to click on the link, the petition goes on to say:-

£3,000 per year for every UK household.

That, according to the Confederation of British Industry, is how much UK membership of the European Union (EU) is worth. EU membership bolsters trade, jobs, investment — and vital worker protections.

Don;t let these importanr benefts slip away. Show your support for the UK’s membership of the European Union.

European law has enabled UK workers to enjoy paid maternity leave, guaranteed holiday leave, protection for women in the workplace, equal pay and anti-discrimination measures. But you may lose these protections if the UK leaves the EU later this year.

And that’s not all that is at stake. Three million jobs are linked to trade with the rest of Europe. Membership in the EU also helps reduce the cost of consumer goods and travel — which is especially important as conservatives continue to pursue aggressive, across-the-board policies of austerity.

Take a stand for your economic security. Add your name to this important petition to join the fight for UK membership of the EU.

No, please don’t! These assertions are inaccurate. Firstly, the CBI study suggesting each household would be £3,000 better off per year has been widely criticised. Even Open Europe, not exactly an enthusiastic supporter of withdrawal, was highly critical of the methodology, claiming it was “based on limited and selective analysis” and calling the £3,000 per year claim “flawed figures”.

What of those anti-discrimination measures which European law has allowed us to enjoy? One law which comes into this category is the Working Time Directive. Would this be repealed if we left? Not unless we wanted to fall out with the International Labour Organisation, where the legislation originated. The EU merely acted as a conduit. Furthermore, there is no reason to suppose that withdrawal from the EU would necessarily lead to the repeal of any pieces of employment protection legislation which  did originate with the EU. What is more, if they were repealed, the action would be undertaken by the democratically elected government of the UK. That’s the nature of democracy; sometimes you get a government you didn’t vote for.

To round it off, we then have the absurd three million jobs myth recycled yet again. I doubt if any visitor to this site is unaware that the claim has no foundation in fact. I hardly need to put up a link to our Busting the Lie booklet or to mention that When Danny Alexander MP repeated this silly story last year when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, his own department countered his claim after a Freedom of Information request from Open Europe.

If this is the worst we were up against, the game would be over by now. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. The leader of the “remain” campaign is the Prime Minister and shooting down BSE’s pathetic lies on this website is much, much easier than persuading the public that Mr Cameron’s misinformation campaign is just as bad, if not worse.

 

 

More facts from Norway

Here is another update from Helle Hagenau of Norway’s Nei til EU campaign. Our Chairman clearly remembers Edward Heath telling a reporter in 1972 that Norway’s economy was in terrible trouble because of the referendum decision to stay out of the EU. He was speaking “from authority and the reporter accepted it. In those days there was no internet for instant rebuttal – only the newspapers and the BBC, which were all pro EU. Thankfully, now there are alternative media outlets – and this site seeks to be one – which can refute any nonsense told by our opponents.

No to EU in Norway is sending you another factsheet (attached).

This time it as about whether Norway needs the EEA agreement in order to sell our products to the EU and some of the quite outrageous statements from senior business and political leaders.

Please, feel free to distribute within you own network.

Here is a link to a web version. The full piece is set out below.

As a keen follower of the British debate I know you face some of the same scaremongering. Don’t give up! The Norwegian people won in 1994 and you can do it on 23rd June!!

 

Keep up the good work!

 

Yours sincerely

Helle Hagenau

 (Reminder: Helle will be one of the speakers at our annual rally on 14th May)

Do we need the EEA Agreement in order to sell our products to the EU?

The deafening message from the pro-EU side is that we must have the EEA Agreement to secure market access to the EU but we have heard this argument before.

Background

In the debate about alternatives to the EEA Agreement, claims are being put forward that Norway needs the agreement in order to sell its products to the EU. These claims are suspiciously similar to the warnings issued by the pro-EU side before the referendums on EU membership in 1972 and 1994. This scaremongering was proven wrong on both occasions.

Leading business figures, pro-EU politicians and the media, all with ready access to public platforms, continue to hammer away at the same message as in 1992: we must keep the EEA Agreement in order to have access to the EU market. The arguments put forward by the pro-EU side proved to be totally misleading in 1992 – and they are just as misleading today.

When Norway entered into the EEA Agreement in 1992, we had already had a free trade agreement with the EU for 19 years. This agreement meant that Norwegian industry, after a transitional period, did not have any tariffs on any of its exports to the EU.

The food industry was the one exception. There have been tariffs on agricultural products (because of Norwegian interests) and on processed fish products (because of EU interests). For all other industrial products and for all raw materials, there has been complete duty free access to the EU and there have not been any quota restrictions on trade with the EU.

Still, the deafening message is that we need the EEA Agreement in order to secure market access to the EU but we have heard all this before.

An echo of 1972

During the spring of 1972, the first debate on the trade agreement was raging. At that time, the EEC had for many years been levying duties on many of our most important export commodities, such as aluminium and other metals, paper and fish. The anti-EU side’s economists struggled to convince the public that the tariffs were much less of an obstacle to exports than the pro-EU side claimed.

At that time, help came from the outside. Unlike the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark and Norway, the EFTA states of Sweden, Finland and Austria had not applied for membership. Instead, during the winter of 1972, they had negotiated trade agreements with the EEC. These trade agreements removed what tariffs and other barriers to trade there were for trade in industrial goods between the EEC and these three EFTA states.

The People’s Movement against the EEC claimed that Norway could also negotiate such a trade agreement if the referendum on EEC membership in September 1972 were to result in a ‘no’ majority. This was stubbornly denied by the pro-EEC side, which used two types of arguments:

• Firstly, there was no reason to believe that the EEC would go along with a trade agreement with Norway.
• Secondly, there was certainly no reason to believe that we would get a deal that was as favourable for our export industries as the agreements Sweden, Finland and Austria had achieved.

In one export-dependent company after the other, the CEOs sent personal letters to all the employees stating that their jobs were in danger if there was a ‘no’ majority in the referendum.

Six days before the referendum, under the headline: ‘No petrochemical industry outside the European Community’, the CEO of Hydro, Johan B Holte, stated in a daily newspaper: ‘A trade agreement will be a hindrance’.1

 However, we now know the outcome. The majority of the electorate voted ‘no’ in the referendum on 25 September 1972. The Labour Party government resigned, and with astonishing speed, the new centrist government negotiated an agreement that was a carbon copy of the agreements that Sweden and Finland had signed.

Six months after the referendum, the atmosphere in Hydro had completely changed. In March 1973, a newspaper headline read: ‘Telemark embarks on the oil adventure with Hydro’s billion kroner plans at Rafnes.’2

The same Johan B Holte stated: ‘A new Hydro adventure is under way in Grenland. We are considering investing up to a billion in petrochemical industry at Rafnes.’ No journalist asked: ‘But didn’t you say six months ago that the trade agreement would make it impossible to develop a petrochemical industry in Norway?’

Scaremongering in 1994

Twenty-one years went by, and Hydro had a new CEO. On 26 September 1994 – two months before the second referendum – new CEO Erik Myklebust, stated: ‘Thousands of jobs will be lost in Norway and new investments worth billions will be made elsewhere. That is the difference for Norsk Hydro between a Norwegian no or yes to the EU. The EEA Agreement will be worth zero.’

During the autumn of 1994, there was really no limit to how bad things would be. The interest rate would rise, the krone would fall, exports would fail, capital would disappear and unemployment would increase.

• Unrealistic
Erik Tønseth, the CEO of Kvaerner, set the tone: ‘In practice, it is irrelevant whether Norway has an EEA Agreement or not. I simply think that the EEA has no basis in reality.’ 3

• Worthless
President Svein Aaser of the Norwegian CBI (NHO) followed up, ‘The EEA Agreement will be worthless if the rest of the Nordic countries join the EU without Norway. There is reason to believe that the EEA Agreement would then cease to function.’4

• Will crumble

Yngve Hågensen, leader of the Norwegian TUC, addressed a meeting of the Oslo Labour Party on 13

September 1995: ‘The TUC boss leaves no doubt, however, that he believes the EEA Agreement will crumble with only Norway and Iceland as EEA countries outside the EU.’5

• Not a single one

As usual, it was the prime minister who went furthest: ‘Around the country there are many who have investment plans ready if there is a yes vote. But I have not heard of a single company that has new investment plans ready if there were to be a ‘no’ in November.’6

• Something very wrong

Seven days before the referendum, then leader of the Labour Party Thorbjørn Jagland   warned: ‘Something very wrong can happen to Norway.’7

Things did  not really go that bad at all. In May 1995, a financial daily newspaper  documented over two pages ‘How the pro-EU side’s doomsday prophecies have been put to shame’ – ‘Everything has
gone better for the Norwegian economy since Norway said no to the EU on 28 November last year. Interest rates have fallen, growth has increased, the budget deficit has evaporated and investments are rocketing sky high.’8

No one on the anti-EU side had promised that industry would grow strongly if there was a no vote.

The ‘no’ message was consistently that the EEA Agreement would secure jobs in industry just as well as a membership in the EU would – and that the free trade agreement we had with the EU from 1974 to 1994 would have secured jobs in industry just as well as a membership of the EEA.

It was the pro-EU side, spearheaded by the Norwegian CBI (NHO) with the government tagging along behind, that predicted a dramatic downturn for the Norwegian economy. But it did not occur after 1972. Nor did it occur in 1994. Should we believe the scaremongering more this time around?

Notes

1) Stavanger Aftenblad 19.9.1972.
2) Varden 20.03.73.
3) Dagens Næringsliv 24.5.1994.
4) Dagens Næringsliv 25.5.1994.
5) Aftenposten 14.9.1995.
6) Gro Harlem Brundtland during the Parliamentary debate on EU membership 30.09.94.
7) Dagbladet 21.11.1994.
8) Dagens Næringsliv 22.5.1995

(This fact sheet was originally published in 2012, no. 2-2012. Translated 2016.)

Turnout could decide it!

 

An article in today’s Daily Mail gives the “remain” camp a lead of eight points. While this is depressing news, it’s not as bad as it sounds for the last time Ipsos Mori conducted a similar poll, the lead for “remain” was greater. We are closing the gap, even thought we still have much work to do if we are to pull off an historic victory. 

This analysis by Anthony Scholefield suggests that one factor that could determine the result is turnout. Supporters of withdrawal are more likely to turn out and vote because, as a general rule, we feel more passionately about the subject. 

Most assume that the total turnout will be about ten per cent less than in a general election, as in 1975.  However, I have allowed for a higher turnout because the electorate has shrunk since 2015 because of individual voter registration and, therefore, some incorrect voters are no longer on the electoral roll.

There is an unequal distributional effect of this.  Since benefits are not affected by the Leave-Remain result and there are no real Scottish issues involved, unlike a general election, the lower turnout will be mainly among Labour and SNP voters.

Who will turnout?  David Cameron has said turnout is critical to the result but he certainly has not made the best arrangements for his side.

My projection (unlike the ORB poll data) is made after correcting for a lower turnout of a referendum vis-à-vis election.  But it is before considering the effects of the 5th May elections in local authorities in Scotland, Wales and London.

To call the electorate back to the polls six weeks later is a substantial ask and, again, in London, Wales and Scotland, there is likely to be a dro off in votes on 23rd June.

Then there is the European football tournament which will be going on most of June.  Once again, a depressant on votes.

The ORB polls clearly show that, as the number of voters goes down, so the Leave lead increases.

                                                                         Leave        Remain

Poll turnout figures                                       52                 48

Only 85% most likely to vote                       54                 46

Only 68% extremely likely to vote              58                 43

The older demographic voter will turn out because of its sense of civic duty and all polls shows the older demographic is much more likely to vote ‘Leave’.  It is quite evident that the key voting block is the 11.3 million Tories, most of whom will vote.

While the 25 percent or so Thatcherite Tories will vote en masse to ‘Leave’, the question arises about the liberal or moderate Conservatives, Home Counties Tories.  They will determine the outcome.

It is evident from the figures that, contrary to general elections, it is the Leatherheads, the Henleys, the New Forests, the West Kents, which will decide the outcome.  They are the ‘Swing’ votes.

The moderate Tories are being asked to give ANOTHER BLANK CHEQUE to a Tory Leader when the last blank cheque was cashed in, in the form of nine extra Treaties.  And I do not think they will make the same mistake again.

Opinion is now solidifying.  It is possible there could be a major terrorist atrocity with EU links.  {The draft of this piece was written before the Brussels attacks} or a major event on the Eurozone.  Either are likely to increase the ‘Leave’ vote.

For all these reasons, I am calling the result of the referendum now – a win for ‘Leave’ – by about ten points.

We must remember the referendum is not the end; it is a stage, and what happens afterwards is what matters.  The larger the ‘Leave’ vote, the harder it will be for Boris Johnson or another Tory Leader to come in and promise new (and better) negotiations to stay in the EU.

I am pleased to see reports in The Daily Telegraph indicating that the Leave Alliance proposals are being looked at with favour in Whitehall.

It is inevitable that, after a ‘Leave’ win, our proposals must be the only safe, sane way to execute withdrawal.

[Date extracted from March 2016 ORB poll]

The EU is a security catastrophe

The remarkable ease with which terrorists could travel within the EU’s borderless Schengen countries to kill 160 people in Paris and Brussels has alarmed everyone except the Euro-elite in Brussels. The Paris and Brussels bombers went from Syria to Holland to Belgium to France to Hungary before and after the Paris attacks and before the Brussels attacks. But Cameron agreed with his fellow EU leaders that discussing changes to the free movement of terrorists across national borders would be “inappropriate”!!

A former Tory leader Lord Howard rightly attacked the Government and the EU saying that the Schengen zone “makes Europe less safe” and a former head of MI6 and a former director of the CIA have said that Britain returning to a self governing nation state would not affect and might indeed enhance our security.

This chimes well with the late Sir Louis Le Bailly the former Director General of our Defence Intelligence Staff who recommended my 1997 anti EU book “Europe’s Full Circle – Corporate Elites and the new Fascism” to “all who cherish our heritage as a nation state”.

Sir Richard Dearlove the former Head of MI6 said in a magazine article that:
“the truth about Brexit from a national security perspective is that the cost to Britain would be low. Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights – remember the difficulty of extraditing the extremist Abu Hamza of the Finsbury Park Mosque – and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the European Union.”

Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden said that “with regards to these kinds of questions the (European) union is not a natural contributor to national security of each of the entity states and, in fact, in some ways [it] gets in the way of the state’s providing security for its own citizens.”

No limit to those who could enter EU
As soon as the EU destroyed the internal borders of the European Union – which it did 22 years ago in the Maastricht Treaty where “European citizens” were allowed to travel to any other EU state as a matter of right – then Europe was open to unlimited and effectively uncontrolled migration from all over the world – a situation which Jihadist Muslims have been able to exploit.

It was in our book Treason at Maastricht in 1994 that the late Norris McWhirter and I showed that the Treaties that British ministers had signed were an immigration disaster (it was Hurd who only half humorously said “We had better go away and read what we have signed”!).

Since Maastricht any EU citizen can go to any other EU State to live and work. Any National of any EU State can become an EU citizen and any State can make anyone in the world their national. So there was and is no limit to the number of the world’s peoples who could not be given free access to any EU country, with any one EU State creating “citizens” which all the others have to accept.

Given that several small EU States are in danger of becoming, with the aid of the European left, Muslim States – or critically Muslim influenced – within the next generation (Sweden and Belgium being the most obvious) the scope for a rogue State exploiting this grotesque “citizen creating” danger is very great indeed.

There is not a single reason for the United Kingdom to stay within the madhouse which is the EU but among the many critical reasons for leaving – constitutional, financial, economic, social, democratic – the most immediate is the critical danger of our uncontrolled borders made unenforceable by the idiocies of the European Union’s policies on “borderless” States and the creation of “European citizens”.

With our thanks to the Freenations website, where this piece first appeared (http://freenations.net/the-eu-is-a-security-catastrophe/), for permission to reprint the article.

Rodney Atkinson’s latest book “And into the Fire…..” is available from Amazon